dear diary – two thousand and eighteen

I remember the day I sat sobbing on mom’s bed as she rubbed my shoulders and told me that one day – one day, it would be okay. This wouldn’t last forever.

I didn’t believe her then. I couldn’t imagine NOT having an ache so intense that it made me physically hurt. I couldn’t imagine being okay, or finding my joy again, or actually living. I wanted to hide from everything. I wanted to escape so bad and fly away into the heavens and not have to deal with it.
I remember the day, standing in Rudy Luther Toyota, talking with her, and hastily wiping away tears as she said, “this is normal. those are normal feelings. many girls have felt the way you do.” I didn’t feel normal. I didn’t believe her then.
I remember the day when the pit of my stomach rolled and clenched like a great sea monster was roving its edges. I heard rumors and I didn’t know what to do with them, and I thought, “will this ever, ever end? Will I be this way forever and ever? Will the pangs of jealousy always hold me in their horrible hands?”
I remember my sister sending me that song, putting in my earbuds and listening for the first time. I thought those lyrics were written for me.

We buried dreams
Laid them deep into the earth behind us
Said our goodbyes
At the grave but everything reminds us
God knows, we ache
When He asks us to go on
How do we go on?

Oh, Lord. How do I go on? I didn’t know how. I would drag myself out of that bed on those cold winter mornings and wonder why I did it.

I thought I did what’s right
I thought I had the answers
I thought I chose the surest road
But that road brought me here

Day after day, I questioned myself. I would see something, hear something and question myself. How could I know? I never know. Why did I think I knew this time?
Month after month, week after week and day after day.
I learned that it wasn’t his fault. Really. It was both of us – both of our naivete and ignorance. And our yearning to be loved. All of that had gotten us here. I realized my pride and selfishness and fear had kept me from speaking up.
I realized that I had never known how much I was ruled by fear. Fear and unbelief governed me. Fear, with its nasal voice, whispered in my ear, “You don’t deserve anything good. You are rotten to the core. Look at you-you miserable creature. Look at what you’ve done. See the tracks of despair and devastation you leave in your wake.
Look at the hurt you caused. You deserve nothing. Nothing but heartache and misery. Look at what you’ve done.”
The Liar told me I was condemned, forsake, and wretched.
I remember driving that roundabout in the outskirts of a small town, listening to that song for the first time, and again, bawling my eyes out, because that song was written for me.

When he told you you’re not good enough
When he told you you’re not right
When he told you you’re not strong enough
To put up a good fight
When he told you you’re not worthy
When he told you you’re not loved
When he told you you’re not beautiful
That you’ll never be enough

I had been believing EVERY SINGLE ONE of these lies for all of my life. I covered it up well. I covered it with charm and a happy face. I smiled. I poured my efforts into others in order to forget and try to soothe myself.
If only I could do more, be more, then maybe I would be loved. Fear told me I wasn’t loved and I would never be loved. Fear stripped me of everything I had hoped it. Standing there, uncovered in the mire of my own sin and wretchedness, what could I do?
I had nothing to hold onto anymore; nothing to hold up as worth deserving. Standing in my own filth, what could I do?
And then You. You stepped in. I don’t know when or where exactly, but You did. It was slow…so very slow. Even when I cried and begged You to bring relief quicker, You knew what I needed. You didn’t go too fast.
I don’t know how You did it, but You did. You let me see myself first. And when the mirror was so bright with the reflection of such a sinful creature as I, You stepped in and turned it away. You washed me and now I sing. You call me loved and chosen and forgiven and righteous and wanted and desired and beautiful. Truly. You call me beautiful.
I didn’t know it then, but I see it now – You were walking with me the whole way. Even when I doubted. Even when I cried out with frustration because you felt so far away – You were there. You knew exactly what you were doing.
Even after I asked the question, “why” more times than I could ever count; even though weeping in my little blue car on my way home from work became regular and normal; even when the hurt was so deep I felt it; even when I thought it would never end, You were drawing near. You were overwhelming me with Your love.

Where He leads us to go
There’s a red sea road
When we can’t, see the way
He will part the waves
And we’ll never walk alone
Down a red sea road

You taught me I needed to trust you completely. I needed to trust Your love and plan for me. For, where else can I go if I do not believe You? There is no other Savior.
You taught me I needed to let go and let you lead and work. Even when I didn’t understand – you are working and You will work and You have a purpose for everything.
I needed to burn the ships and step away and let you lead.

How did we get here?
All castaway on a lonely shore
I can see in your eyes, dear
It’s hard to take for a moment more
We’ve got to

Burn the ships, cut the ties
Send a flare into the night
Say a prayer, turn the tide
Dry your tears and wave goodbye
Step into a new day
We can rise up from the dust and walk away
We can dance upon our heartache, yeah
So light a match, leave the past, burn the ships
And don’t you look back

And mother was right. One day, it did become okay. And it didn’t last forever.
My sister was talking about 2018 recently. She laughed and said that this was my worst year, right?
No. I can honestly say it was one of the best. Yes, it was hard and awful and challenging. But, Oh Lord. You showed me Yourself. And I would never ask for all the tears and heartache back because it was worth all of it to see You. You showed me Your worth and Your beauty and Hope. You showed me Hope.
Thank you. Thank you for this hard year. It was good. It was very good.
And reader, if you are, or ever do go through something devastatingly difficult, know that one day, it will pass.
But only with Jesus, it will pass and you will have hope and joy again.

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