Wednesday, December 23, 2009

My Heart

For 24 years, my relationships have been poisoned. They have suffered under bitterness and hatred and a pressing need to keep my distance from people - or keep them distant from me. It's been about protection. A wounded heart in a wounding world does not bode well; it was best to hide. For awhile, I thought I found a place - it was a place where I felt the love of others, but kept separate from it, feeling like I was just some 'project' for everyone. I worked hard to prove my worth by faithfully showing up to everything, hanging around places I never felt worthy or welcome, just to remind you that I wasn't going away. I served where there was need, even when it meant more burden and less fuel for my own spirit. In some way, I wanted to show you you could love me, to show you I was worthy, to earn your love.

Then came illness. As I wrestled between life and death, I pushed you further away. I couldn't bear you to see me like this, so weak after so many years of trying to prove my strength. And you obediently gave me my space - more than my heart truly wanted. You decided not to trust me any more, to wonder day-by-day what my status would be. You tried to protect me from myself, to not push too hard lest I push back violently against you.

But the truth is - these events had nothing to do with physical illness. They were matters of the heart. They were issues of my own fear and self-hatred. My knowledge plain and clear of the fact that I never belonged with you. Without knowing the depths of my story, the power of my darkness, you welcomed me in. But I kept my distance. I did not deserve you; I did not deserve God; I did not deserve to breathe another breath.

Yet you still took me in. At times, it was difficult as you struggled against what you could not see. Or perhaps you did see but were kind enough not to mention it. You resented my distance, my bitterness, my shortcomings of potential when all you could see was the brilliant gift of God buried in the muck. But you let me wallow, you gave me my space. And you never knew that when I looked in the mirror, I knew only one truth -

I was looking at a whore.

Your faithful love whittled away at me. God's whisper kept calling. For a long while, I rejected, wanting to stand strong on my own two feet. Wouldn't God be a handout? Wouldn't He make me feel even more unworthy? Wouldn't His goodness highlight my filth? No, I could do this on my own. Just as I always had; just as I always would.

But His whisper continued and in the darkness, I found Him. He simply sat with no expectations, no demands for my freedom. Just one simple offer.

"Come here...I want to tell you something."

After much evasion, I finally went. What would God want to tell me that I didn't already know? That I was impure, unholy, and condemned to Hell? That even His Son would not save me? Thanks, but no thanks.

But He wouldn't tell me right away. Instead, He answered the millions of questions I never dared ask. The questions of the heart and of the darkness, of evil and unworthiness, and thousands upon thousands of questions of whoredom. How does a young woman whose body and heart have been so violated ever come to feel whole again, ever come to embrace purity, ever find a way to live with a Father so different than her own, so Holy?

He answered. He answered before I could ask. He answered the rumblings and the small tingling in my heart, and He answered. Finally, I sensed what He wanted to tell me all along, what He was dying for me to hear. And I was ready - so I pled with Him.

"Lord, tell me I'm beautiful!"

"Child, you are more than that. You are beloved, blessed, and wholly beautiful. The world has made you its whore, but I have made you my daughter. This you are above all else, above all other things. You are my precious daughter. And you are pure."

From that moment, tears will not stop falling. They fall even as I write this, as my body trembles in the brokenness of releasing trauma and in the awe of God. Healing comes rapidly into my life - every day, a small step forward. The darkness sometimes takes it grip back, but I shake it off, knowing the Light and the Truth.

Yet, I am more lost now than when I lived in darkness. I find myself in a world I cannot relate to. Those who knew me well before are long gone, moving on in their lives to new adventures and maybe staying in touch, but not able to sit and talk and know my heart. Those who have known me only on the surface continue to do so. Many love me deeply, and I can feel their love, but it's a difficult concept for me. How does a whore learn God's love? not just the love FOR God, but the love OF God, the ability to love other people...and most importantly, the ability to BE loved by other people. And how do I find a place to serve when I am only coming to know myself? My heart longs to reach out, to be surrounded by you and your love. To serve you wholly in whatever capacity I can...but not in the same old ways I used to use to earn your approval. I want something different.

I long to be something different in my world. Someone walking in freedom, truth, faith, and peace instead of the bitterness, hatred, and self-loathing of so many years. It's a hard adjustment, learning to live in this place I never knew existed. Bear with me. And hold me in strength and love. Free my heart to be less lonely but never rushed, never pushed or pressured. In freedom, I will be something better in God's world.

Something more than just a whore.

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