I’m having a really hard time writing this. Not because the subject is too painful or difficult, but simply because I don’t know where to start. I thought it would be so simple to talk about my past and surely there’d be some kind of message about finding beauty in a messy, sinful life. If I was honest, most of my life has been a giant mess. From the Christian family that created lie after lie to “protect me”, to the friends that walked in and out of my life like a yo-yo. From the ages of thirteen through twenty-two, most of my nights were spent confused and hurt, crying to God to take the pain away. I didn’t want to feel rejected or depressed anymore. I didn’t want to feel at all. For a long time, I didn’t want to exist. I sat in a messy room, with a head full of messy thoughts and a voice in my head that reminded me that God was too busy to help me. From the scars inside to the ones on the outside, it was visible I wasn’t okay.
The Christian home I came from reminded me daily to pray and God would answer in his timing. As an angsty teenager I reminded them that God wasn’t listening. I never understood how he could let us sit in despair, calling out for any kind of sign that he cares at all. I remember watching TV shows like Benny Hinn or the 700 Club that showed interviews of people who had these crazy, divine interventions and their lives were changed forever. All I wanted was one dream, one small sign of any kind to show me things would be okay. That he cared enough to save a sinking rock like me. I think we all have the habit of wanting the fireworks show but only seeing the firefly instead - one small speck in the sky that’s nice to admire but easy to ignore. That describes me in a nutshell. I know I can work hard and be patient, but I want the changes now. The hardest part isn’t always the waiting; it’s learning to forgive yourself in the process of the change.
I wish I could tell you that I finally heard the voice of God and that my life is so much better now, but it didn’t work like that for me. I got the fireflies not the fireworks. I’m still here today, stronger than I was when the storms were the worst. I’m able to talk to about who I use to be and hope it resonates with others. I am not a good Christian, but I try as hard as I can to let God lead me instead of letting myself get lost and then crying for help. It doesn’t always end up that way though. If there was one thing I wish I could have told my younger self, it would have been to document more. I’ve tried to take the mess and make it into something wonderful to share. God has used all my emotions and thoughts to help and encourage others. So long as we’re vulnerable, we can make amazing changes.
There’s one thing I’ve implemented in my life from a road trip I took with a friend: finding a time and place to be quiet. I know we are all incredibly busy and we find it hard to turn off the noise for more than a few minutes; however, it’s become one of the best ways to feel normal again. Even if I don’t always hear direct words, I believe his voice is in absolutely everything. We just have to listen.
Sometimes I need some familiarity to calm it all down, so listening to songs that helped in my younger years is where I start. Coldplay’s Warning Sign is the one song I can listen to on repeat.
As for a meal, I can never go wrong with an amazing bowl of mac and cheese. Even though my stomach isn’t best friends with lactose, I’ll happily pay the price. Here’s my favorite Mac recipe. http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/our-favorite-macaroni-and-cheese-51255890
The best prayer that I can encourage anyone to say is this: “Use me as an example for you. No matter the storm, no matter the situation. Let me be a light for you in all that I do. Let all those who encounter me also encounter you. Let me love as you loved. Overlook my mess and help me be clean.”