When you take a step. Sometimes it’s a step that is known. Sometimes it’s a step that is unknown. A step requiring faith beyond what you can see, feel or understand. You don’t understand how you will move your feet forward, but you do. And you take another step. Forward. Toward the unknown. Gradually, the initial feeling of fear begins to subside. You begin to stand taller. Head higher. Steps become more sure. Secure. Confident. You continue walking. Knowing not where you are going, but no longer afraid to walk. Wherever the path goes. Knowing that the journey IS what you are supposed to be doing with your life. Living every second. Every moment. Out loud. Unashamed. Fully alive.
I was asked a question. “If I could change anything that has happened, would I?” How does one answer that question? It’s loaded with so many bombs of pain and angst and hurt. It seems unfair to say yes.
But, I stop myself. That’s the wrong question. Because, it implies that I had a hand in what happened to me. It implies that the Father orchestrated evil in order to make me into who I am today. And it implies that the people involved are not responsible. Those are lies.
Instead, I look at what happened, as something that the Father has used to speak to me. He never promised to make my life easy. He never promised to keep me from evil. He never promised to calm the raging storms. He promised to never leave me. And He never has. Not one single day.
When I cried as I heard my parents screaming and yelling, and hearing my mother cry in pain. When I was beat with a two-by-four until I was bruised all over my backside. When I listened to a charismatic man tell my parents why my sister should not be born. When my father would not let me go, and every ounce of me screamed run. When my neighbors used my body and I only wanted a friend. When I walked into the halls of our high school and I was grabbed and fondled even when I wore the baggiest clothes and kept my head down. When I cried because I felt inadequate to be a wife, a mother, a daughter, a friend. When I descended into a darkness so deep that I didn’t want to live. When I defied my husband, my friends, my pastor and my church and I left my religion. When I heard, “Your father is in jail.” When I sat in a courtroom and saw my father, in chains, for the last time.
All those times. HE was there.
For years, I’ve asked the Father to make something beautiful out of the ashes of my pain. To make my willingness to be raw, honest and brave worth something. That even if all I did was make one little girl be brave enough to say, “NO. This is my body and you will NOT hurt me again.”, it would be worth all of it.
I’m not special. I’m not even remotely eloquent or pretty or classy. What I am is a woman who has finally allowed the little girl she was to grow up. To stand up, brave, confident. With beautiful scars. Totally adored by the Most High. A daughter of the King. 100% a woman.
And taking the next step, walking fully confident in who I am and who I will be, is not scary. I already know the way. I just keep walking step by step by step. Day by Day. Hand in Hand with the Father who never leaves.