its funny how this is really about that.
a little over two months ago, i resigned from lifecity church. the reasons are multiple, complex, and personal. some of those reasons are directly related to the church, but some are external-ish. if you’ve lived long enough, you’ve been hurt a few times- and you know that every hurt builds on the ones before it unless you have really honestly gotten down in there in the depths and faced it and let Jesus really heal you. and one thing that has become crystal clear to me is that i’ve never really allowed him access to those places in my heart and let him cut out all that dead stuff. what i’ve done is minimized pain and emotions, tried to dress my wounds in church and seminary and church planting and new jobs and new clothes and fun haircuts, and preaching to so many women that which i could not bring myself to believe.
it will be ten years this fall since i sat in the office of a man i worked for and listened to him tell me that i that i wouldn’t amount to anything, and probably would never get married unless i changed pretty much everything about who i was. it will be ten years this fall since i believed every word of what he said and let it take root in my heart. and i have spent the last nearly ten years trying to prove him wrong, yet watching myself sabotage my relationships with men and always at the end of the day coming back to the whisper inside of me- he was right, sam. no man is going to want a girl who is loud. you are not enough. you are not pretty; you are definitely not beautiful. you are not smart. you are too much. you definitely didn’t hear God right if you think you’re supposed to be in ministry. He would never call someone like you. you will never amount to anything. and on and on, and on, and on.
yes, i did go to college and major in youth ministry. and i did go on to earn two master’s degrees from a seminary. yes, i have taught and led and been part of building a church from the ground up. and i bet not many people had any idea that all of that was me trying to prove an old man wrong when he said i would never amount to anything. i can think of at least 4 ‘relationships’ that i actively sabotaged. i allowed these men to use me and my heart in ways that i never would have, had i believed that i could be loved or that i was even worth loving. and when we eventually had the you’re just too much … or the you’re just not enough … conversation, it reopened and dug a little deeper in the old wound.
last year i fasted for three weeks in january. i had just come through a season of moving to NC to start a church, home was a minefield, and i was desperate for God to speak something- anything, to make me believe that He heard me. it didn’t go the way i planned, as is the way with most things we do out of desperation. i ended up on my face one thursday night during that fast with the corner of a blanket stuffed into my mouth so that my roommates wouldn’t hear me crying and screaming at God. “i don’t believe that you’re good. i don’t believe that you love me.” most of last year was spent trying to rebuild my belief that God is good, and that He does love me. and like all stubborn people do, i tried to rebuild those beliefs in my own way, without digging up the bitter root, still denying its very existence. but since i didn’t deal with the source, it didn’t go away. and every stray word, every criticism, every time i was misunderstood or overlooked or shushed or told that i was too something fell like acid rain on the bitter root and it would blossom again.
i tried numbness next, and apathy. then self-medicating, then anger. all of this ‘feeling stuff’ was taking a toll on me, and i didn’t recognize or like the girl in the mirror.
i told God that i was about ready to throw in the towel … but i knew that there would be no meaning to anything if He wasn’t who He said he was, if He couldn’t do what He said he could do. so i asked Him one more time to please speak, to say anything. and He did. He had heard every word i had prayed in anger and desperation, He had seen every wrestling in my heart, He had caught every tear i cried. psalm 56:8 says “you’ve kept track of my every toss and turn through the sleepless nights; each tear entered in your ledger, each ache written in your book.” you’ll just have to take my word for it when i tell you that He broke through that night. some things are too precious, and too powerful to be put into words- some things are just for me.
i’m definitely still in progress. i still have to decide every day which voice to listen to, and what to believe. but every day that i choose to listen to Jesus’ voice and every day that i choose to believe Him, i recognize the girl in the mirror a little more. i laugh more often. i know that eventually i will see what He sees, and i’ll understand the way He works. i don’t know why i came here, and i don’t know what’s next. i do know that He won’t waste any of this, and that He works all things together for my good and His glory, that He is wise, that He sees me, and that He loves me. and that is more than enough.