Brave Brokenness — A love story like no other .

Upon writing this post I really sat and pondered how I would lay my heart out on paper. I found myself conflicted when it came to whether or not I would sugar coat aspects or leave them out entirely. I became trapped in a cycle of questioning; Would what I wrote have a negative effect on my relationships? Would I lose trust between myself and loved ones? Would I cross a boundary or would my post be too reminiscent of my past blogs in the depth of my deepest battles? As I asked these questions, I felt God press on my heart and in turn question my motives behind why I write. I don’t know if you recall a few posts ago but I made it very clear that I don’t write for any one person. My writing is an outpouring of my heart, it’s an honest reflection of where I am along my journey with God and it’s where the two of us write about the ways in which He meets me. In saying this, I am so very aware that I have loved ones with whom I share some of these posts with. I know that what I write often won’t impact any of those globally who interact with my blog, but I also know that it may impact those whom are close to my heart. I suppose that in all, it comes down to being brave, doesn’t it? The easiest option here would be to scrap this whole post and forget about wanting to share it in the beginning and believe me, it’s been tempting. However, if I were to do that I would be pushing aside testimonies of God’s goodness, I would be silencing His praises and shying away from the celebration that comes with each breakthrough. As a result I have decided to post this blog, I have written each line and paragraph with God. This is an outpouring of my heart that rawly shows the depths of my lows and the heights of my highs in the recent weeks that I have walked with my Jesus. No full understanding of God’s goodness can possibly come from a glossed over testimony, life isn’t picture perfect and we all know that my journey is not linear, I’m not immune to suffering and I truely am only human. But what makes all the difference in the world, is that as reminiscent as aspects of my last few weeks may be toward my old self, as brutally broken as I have found myself, I have been safely held and I am still pursuing God in my recovery. Oh how He loves me so..

I remember growing up believing that if I was able to say and do all the right things, then I was brave. If I could smile and not cry, then I was brave. If I could suppress my emotions, then I was brave. If I could pretend as if the traumas never took place, then I too was brave. If I could neglect myself and put everyone else first, then again I was brave. It wasn’t until the 3rd of July that God began to slowly unravel my set beliefs around bravery. I began my search for answers around brave brokenness. I’ve done a lot of searching in the recent two or so months, as my last post outlined I searched for God everywhere I could think of. I’ve even searched for His peace in places unknown to me.  

It was just past 2am and the moonlight gently glistened over the rivers surface. You may know it or not, but there’s something quite precious about the riverside in the blackness of night as it turns to dawn. Though that preciousness too carried a sense of tragedy as I laid riverside in the pouring rain, covered by the dark blanket of night with a hand filled with little white pills: I didn’t feel very brave. Unsure of why I was there, I cried; In the end, I didn’t take the pills. To defeat the darkness out there, you must first defeat the darkness within you – Aslan. I’ve been reading Narnia lately, courtesy of T and conversations we’ve had. Oh how I sobbed when Aslan first dies, the purity of his sacrifice; the purity of how Jesus sacrificed Himself for us. Nevertheless there was a moment where Aslan made the statement above and in the darkness of night by the riverside, his words played on my mind. The battle I find myself amidst is darker than the blackness of night, but my Jesus within me has already overcome the darkness. His love for me is one like no other. Ann Voskamp wrote about reaching out your hand amidst the darkness to find the light, in that same way when I am amidst my darkest battles I am able to reach out my right hand to Jesus. There are days where I don’t want to keep breathing but even those days by body doesn’t forget and it breathes anyway.

I laid there for a while, questioning and waiting. I left, still unsure as to what brave brokenness was or what it looked like. It was a cold period of time between laying in the rain before finding myself laying outstretched in the bath. My skin was burnt red from the cold and as I lowered myself into the boiling water, I felt ill as the fire met ice. I submerged myself under until nothing but the surface of my face stuck out above the water. My ears rung with the hollow sound of my echoed heart beat and the water lapped at my lips and nose. My head sunk lower until I was completely below the surface; staying as such, counting and waiting, until my body choked and surged forward with a gasp. They say that the moment before you breathe in water and drown is one of complete silence, your breath that was held begins to diminish and your need for oxygen deepens until your brain begins to forget that it’s underwater and you instinctually breathe the water and begin to drown. As I child I was often held underwater by men like my father, I was told to toughen up and be brave. But in the end I only grew up more afraid of the water and to this day I still am. However as I laid in that bath I wondered if God would speak to me in that moment of silence before drowning: complete silence, utter peace. You hear the phrase ‘peace that surpasses understanding’ (Philippians 4:6), thrown around frequently and given little weight. I paused at one stage to truely think about that concept, imagine a peace that truely surpasses all understanding. God has been revealing to me that I don’t need to understand or be brave in order to feel His peace, I don’t need to have all the answers. God perfect peace allows me to be brave in my brokenness

It takes an abundance of bravery to, in your brokenness, be able to stare hell in the face and say “No! I am fearfully and wonderfully made and my God is greater than any suffering I will face”. It takes an abundance of bravery to find the beauty in your brokenness, to allow your eyes to be opened so that you may see yourself the way our Father sees us. It takes an abundance of bravery to sit in your car, and whilst sobbing because the abuse and control at home is worsening by the day, be able to look into the rearview mirror and tell yourself that you are still loved and worthy. There have been times amidst my deep brokenness where I have in bravery spoken Gods truths over myself aloud, but there too have been times where amidst that same brokenness I have crumbled and succumb to my safely trapped. The latter grows stronger.

I haven’t been going to church lately. In all honesty I’ve been too ashamed and afraid to enter into the building. I haven’t been back since the encounter night we held a few weeks ago. It was a special night between my God and myself, I found myself for the first time falling to my knees with my palms open wide. A brave surrender. My God met me there in my brokenness, He held my right hand. I shared that night and as I breathed into the microphone, it wasn’t me whom spoke. Like the whispers in the gentle wind by the riverside, so my God spoke through me. I left church that night, a fire inside of me burning for my Jesus. That was before any relapses that took place, am I any less brave in my brokenness now than I was then? Instead of going to church I have been spending more time alone with God by the riverside. Truth be told, I feel almost as if the majority of my last few weeks have been spent solely by the riverside. I resigned from my workplace and since then have spent almost every day alone with Him, on the banks of the river.

I remember a particular day, when the concept of brave brokenness was still newly impressed upon my heart, I ventured out to the riverside yet again. I had just washed my car, which mind you was well overdue, and as I drove absentmindedly along the dirt road by the river, red mud splashed across its white surface. As I hit a hole in the road I came to and realised what had happened but before I could let out a sigh, I likened myself to my car. You see, I was once white myself, pure and untainted. But much like my car, it didn’t take long before the trauma and suffering of life splashed across my very own self. What was once clean, now no longer pure. My heart sank a little deeper as I drove down the winding dirt road. Bump after bump, tear after tear. I had large conversations with my Jesus that particular afternoon and as I walked out to sit upon a tree that fell over the river, I called out to Him. I sat for a while with my feet dangling over the water as I watched the ripples pass beneath me. The tree itself was large, and I sat metres out from the banks. With all my heart I pleaded for my Jesus to show me how to be brave in my brokenness. I couldn’t understand why God had given me this burden to carry, this concept to figure out amidst everything else. I had learned over previous months how to suffer well, but even some days I can’t achieve that and as the weeks pass it becomes all the more difficult to suffer well. Did suffering well reflect bravery in my brokenness? Can one bear witness to the other?

In the silence that followed, I lifted myself up and wandered toward my plant that was still buried in the banks of the river. My plant has survived longer than I anticipated but like me, it’s gone through deep rooted seasons of change and turmoil. The recent winds and rains have been unkind to my plant and I fear it’s days are numbered. Upon arrival I fell, tears like none foreseen streaming down my face and I sobbed. Unsure of what triggered these tears, each of them cried the same pleading question; How could I be brave in my brokenness if brave was the furtherest from what I felt like? You know that saying about how God will never give us what we can’t handle and how He chooses His bravest children to face certain trials? Yeah, I think somewhere wires got crossed because I don’t think I can handle this suffering for much longer and I don’t feel very brave. I don’t entirely agree with both those statements though.. I think that God allows suffering to take place, whether we can handle it or not, because as the concept of suffering well states: when we can’t handle our suffering, it creates a dependancy upon God, our weaknesses are brought forward like a container in which God’s power and glory can be held. Does this mean that I don’t need to be brave to face these trials either? Heck, I won’t sit here and tell you that it’s worse now than it’s ever been because the reality is that we’ve still made so much progress and I know that it’s been worse before. But that doesn’t take away from how hard things have been in the recent month or two. The highs are lowering and the lows are deepening. The sadness is intensifying and to be frank, it’s quite scary. I feel more weak each day and it’s becoming more habitual to be safely trapped than it is to be safely held. I shared these feelings with my God by the riverside and the rain soon came. The cursive ink spread, running across the pages before me. I was unsure as to whether the droplets that fell were tears or rain but I allowed for both to flow freely. I closed my eyes and felt the gentle breeze brush across my cheeks, my tears ran cold in the wind and I knew in my heart that it was my God caressing my cheeks, cupping my face with the palms of His hands and reminding me that I am not ever alone. A light mist rolled over the rivers surface, He had met me there. In my sheer brokenness, my Father showed me a love like no other and in Him I found a small hope for bravery.

Ann Voskamp once wrote that feelings are meant to be fully felt, then fully surrendered. I forget this more often than not. I find myself wondering if my feelings are allowed to be felt? Are they valid? Do they make me an inherently bad person? They are, they are, they do not. As I laid on the bathroom floor, slumped against the wall with my head resting on the toilet seat, I surrendered those feelings. 

Leading to that moment of surrender, I had had the most beautiful day. Nothing during the day had indicated toward what took place that night, in fact I had felt in the highest of spirits all day. I had spent the morning alone with my precious little man, J, we celebrated his 4th birthday with a date at McDonalds where we shared an ice cream and ‘chippies’. Afterwards we spent time together before returning home. I hosted a baby shower for a friend of mine that afternoon which went smoothly as well. The day was filled with really huge triumphs against Gollum and I was actually able to celebrate them. No regret sank in around my intake but as the night came, the tricky emotions took root. I arrived home 14 hours after leaving that morning and who could have foreseen that the night would take such a drastic turn. I spent what felt like hours crying, sobbing, until I had found myself desperate for a numbness. In utter desperation I shamefully did something I hadn’t done in years; I drank. Vodka, straight from the bottle. The numbness set in and with it a bitterness inside of me toward life itself. I was soon throwing up and between that, I was yelling. At the top of my lungs I was yelling to God, spouting questions and accusations — all my sorrows poured out to Him. I yelled and I yelled until the only petition my leaving my lips, was my hearts deepest desire; just let me feel you. 

I sobbed as I pleaded for God to let me feel Him, just so that I could undoubtedly know He was there. I told T once that knowing God was there and feeling Him there were two vastly different things. I carelessly yelled and told God about my traumas, I asked Him where He was and why I couldn’t feel Him then either. I reached out my hand and showed Him my wrist, I recited the verse and I yelled as I told God that He said He takes hold of my right hand, but where was His hand? Surely it wasn’t in my own? Like a child I pointed to my hand as if God Himself stood before me watching, I showed God where I wanted to feel Him, I told Him that He didn’t have to hold my whole hand if He didn’t want to, He could just poke it, just one little touch, just one tiny touch: that was all I asked for, it would have been enough to feel that He was there with me on that cold tiled floor. Nothing. 

I went to bed that night, drinking a fortisip feeling incredibly unwell. I laid in bed filled with regret, self hatred and this burning nagging to hurt myself. I thought of Jude, he wrote too that nothing in his day has indicated he may need to hurt himself but as he entered into solitude he found himself almost ravenous for it. I traced my scars and the only thing I could wonder was how, how, would or could anyone ever love me? If I couldn’t even feel God, if He didn’t even want to hold my hand, let alone touch it, then how could love come in? I didn’t hurt myself that night but the battle to fight off those urges was quickly growing more and more impossible. As the numbness wore off, the flooding of emotions intensified and I laid in bed speaking now, a mere matter of whispering to my Jesus. Much time passed but still I tossed and turned, unable to attain peace or find rest. In the darkness I reached to switch on my lamp and I opened up the Ann Voskamp book I am still reading. As I read, my Father answered my plead. He reminded me that He dwells in me, He moves into my empty places, my rejected places, my abandoned places and my places filled with grief. My Father fills me with chosenness and wholeness. If my God dwells within me then why could I not feel Him? Again, how could I display a brave brokenness?

I woke the next morning, unreasonably before dawn and I sat up in bed. Had it not been for the mess left over from the night before, I never would have known what had taken place. I felt physically fine but emotionally exhausted. I packed myself a back pack filled with supplies and I set out to spend the day hiking with God. I was ashamed to call on Him so I thought that perhaps I could go to the riverside and ‘bump’ into Him there. I spent that Sunday trekking 16km along the riverside. In the silence of nature, I waited on God and the deep of my heart asked Him many questions. It had at this point been nearly two weeks since He first gave me the concept of brave brokenness. But what my heart beckoned to know, what was brave brokenness? God has shown me that there is beauty in my brokenness, but where is there bravery? How can I break bravely? How can my brokenness be brave? What does it mean to be brave? As I walked I often fell, whether it be due to slippery mud or light headedness. Laying in the wet mud I wondered if standing back up would make me brave or if it would only lead to more pain. The track was long but oh so beautiful, I was out there alone, did that perhaps make me brave? I was paranoid and I knew that wasn’t brave, each stranger that passed looked threatening to me and my mind only replayed traumas on repeat. I looked at my surroundings with each step and each thing I saw looked more and more like a weapon or the potential to cause deep pain. I didn’t feel very brave but I continued to walk regardless of how I felt. My heart ached because the kilometres I hiked didn’t bring me any closer to God, the magic of the riverside was tainted by Gollum and the harder I searched for my Father, the harder I seemed to fall. Where was my Jesus and how has He shown me how to be brave in my brokenness? I thought of the night before His crucifixion. My mind took me back to a period of time during the longer of my hospital admissions, where I received a letter. The letter itself was unsigned and without any indication of whom its sender may have been, to this day I have my suspicions but I still don’t know. The letter was typed and signed at the end with: ‘I love you, My precious wildflower, Jesus xx’. Within the letter it spoke about the battles of life not being my own, but rather belonging to Jesus. It spoke about how the night before the crucifixion Jesus was also afraid, He was in fact so afraid that He sweat blood and pleaded with His Father for any other outcome (Luke 22:44). But even in that deepest of suffering, Jesus knew that God had greater plans for Him. As I continued walking I realised that Jesus showed us how to be brave in our brokenness: Surrender, Trust and Faith. When we are breaking, true bravery is seen when we surrender unto God, when we trust that He will keep His promise for things to work together for the good of those whom love Him, we just need to have faith (Romans 8:28, Hebrews 1:11). Oh if only those three things were as easily done as they are said. Surrender and the vulnerability that comes with it is still something my heart battles with from time to time, and as with trust and faith, all have been put to the test recently more so than previously. 

Hours soon passed and as I reached the end of my hike I sat riverside, by then covered mostly in a crusty thick layer of mud. I watched on as the waters edge lapped against the bank, taking with it a red-ish brown that flowed into the clear of the river. The rivers surface, now marbled, as the two became one. I looked left and saw my body, my lifeless self laying beside the river, I watched as the blood my heart once pumped through my body, now too became one with the river. I blinked and what I had seen was gone, as if never there to begin with. I looked down to my right hand, it was safely held (Isaiah 41:13). Sitting by the rivers edge it became more and more abundantly clear to me that my God had in fact been walking with me all morning, His love for me outweighed my guilt and shame, His love for me always outweighs all else.

Monday came and I spent my morning, again so beautifully with my dear girl, A. It was her turn for a date and we spent hours present with each other. During out time together there were no hindering emotions, there was nothing but pure joy. Her first request was to spend time at the indoor ninja warriors place and the entire morning was centred around bravery. I watched her as she strived to conquer whatever laid before her, I watched her joy when succeeding and I watched her perseverance when she battled. Was this a depiction of what it looks like to be brave? The two of us later recreated a picnic that we’d had a few years ago at Eyres park, with McDonalds yet again, we set out to sit on a picnic rug by the lakeside. Many brave adventures followed and all throughout Gollum was silent. My emotions had remained at bay and there was yet again no indication that the crash from the high would be as deeply devastating as it was late that afternoon. After lunch Little A and I returned home where R and I shared a cup of tea. As I sat at the table with R, everything inside of me told me to leave, yet I stayed. Sitting with R I tried my best to stop myself from completely falling apart, and as we spoke I realised that no amount of suffering and deep pain will ever undo what God has done. No amount of mistakes or hurting will take away from the magnitude of change God has done and continues to do within me. The truth is, God’s goodness can be celebrated even in light of the brutal battles because those battles will continue to come, but God’s goodness will too. Neither are over, they are able to coexist and it doesn’t make me a bad person, it doesn’t make me a liar or a fake. More importantly, it doesn’t take away from either my suffering or my rejoicing because both are very real and allowed to be fully felt and fully surrendered. I wasn’t a coward for the suffering I’d been finding myself amidst lately, and I could still be brave. I left R’s home later that day, I cried so hard on the drive home that between my tears and the heavy rain; I could hardly see what laid before me. In what felt like seconds, I was pulled over on the side of the highway in the rain, a blown tire, a dented and written off rim, and a number of flashing lights. I cried behind the steering wheel for a while, I felt like giving up and just running away into the nothingness. An hour or so passed before I was home again and upon arriving home I instinctually ran straight for my bedroom. The distress had been pent up and continued to rise viciously inside of me. Rummaging through my belongings, I searched for those old silver blades. A little rusted now, I found them hidden beneath a canister and with trembling hands, I reached for them and sobbed heavily. Crawling to the bathroom, I sat on the cold surface and studied the patterns on my thighs. Those forever patterns had been imprinted over time, each told a story of it’s own. My fingers traced the lines, the bumps, the scars that remained of what once was. It had been months since red lines were last drawn, I was proud of my progress until I wasn’t and in a moment of dissociation and weakness: I relapsed. I can’t recall much of what happened in the bathroom that afternoon but I remember the breath. I breathed a sigh so passionate, so deep and so filled with relief as the pain was made physical, counteracting the internal. As the surface of the blade cut the tenderness of flesh, without hesitation or remorse, the deep of my heart cried out to my Jesus with the loudest of cries. How can I be brave Dear Lord, you have placed two words on my heart over these past few weeks: ‘brave brokenness’, but do You not see that I am anything but brave? I sat for a while as I watched the white flesh turn red as it swelled with blood, I then continued to watch as the red drops raced one another downward before dripping onto the tiles. Zoning in and out I remained there as I worked to gather strength in me to rise. In time I stood and cleaned up, I wiped my face and fixed my hair before practicing a smile in the mirror. Then I left to run errands in town and secure a new job, as if nothing had happened.  

The lines on my thighs made themselves known to me throughout the remainder of that day and during the days to come, whether it be the smell of blood as I drove or the pulling of skin each time the soles of my feet hit the ground. I went to the riverside that evening and the hairs on my arms stood tall, as if they were to form canyons around which the rains droplets would pass. My eyes closed to the world around me as I invited my God to sit with me on the banks of the river. Shame arose but as I opened my eyes I saw a rainbow before me, I knew then that my invitation was accepted and my God was indeed shamelessly with me. I studied the way in which the rain fell, the droplets falling without hesitation. Some droplets would continuously fall upon others, not allowing the previous to pass first. I suppose lifes suffering can be a bit like that; at times suffering makes itself known before we are able to recover from previous suffering. Does suffering well make you brave? Or is it considered brave when we endeavour to suffer well, whether we succeed or not?

It hurt too much to walk on Monday but come last Tuesday I ventured out yet again to walk in a hope to meet God. I found myself walking down Bon Accord and taking in each native flower I saw.. various banksias, grevilleas and pincushion hakeas. As I walked I thought of the banksia coccinea, otherwise known as a scarlet banksia, that lays in my car and I thought of the various species of proteas that are currently flowering in my garden at home. How is it that the One who created each of these delicate flowers, is the same One who holds me in my brokenness? I walked for an hour or so before the sun began to set, the tops of the trees now barely glowing from the last glimmer of light. As dusk set in, my careless dancing turned to running and that running turned to wheezing and then I fell. Laying in the middle of the road, the world silenced by noise cancelling headphones drowning out my emotions with sad songs. I wondered then how it was that that One could love me? That night I laid in bed, watching the shadows of the trees dance in the moonlight as my mind replayed every painstaking moment of my traumas, my body cowered away in the darkness and the lines on my thighs still freshly gaped from what was by then long gone. Was I still loved? 

I think now of the poppies swaying outside my bedroom window – I had just plucked 7 new buds this morning. I smile because as cruel as that act may be, it is also kind and brings forth growth. Therapy on Friday felt cruel, in fact the last few sessions this month have felt more cruel than ever before; but they have also worked toward bringing forth growth. I had a long two hour coffee date with my old therapist, CA, and it was one of the nicest coffee dates I’ve had in a while. We shared a common ground in most things, career wise but also personal interests and the conversation came all too easily. It felt to have been only half an hour when we said goodbye but time revealed it was indeed much longer.. I thought of T because one day that will be us and oh how my heart yearns for that day to arrive sooner. Whilst sharing a live of cake, CA and I spoke a lot about God and shared small testimonies of His goodness. Since February CA has gained much insight and has become quite privy into where I am at in my journey. The time we shared on Friday after my session with E, was different to time we’ve previously spent together. In all honesty, our time together was the gift from God that my heart didn’t know it needed. Following recent hardships, especially over the last week, my time with CA was time that God used to re-member and heal my broken pieces. As I shared with CA all that God has been doing, it was as if God were speaking through me and it were me sitting where CA sat. Every testimony shared about what God has done since the beginning of the year, each story and triumph, worked to re-member me and it was in that moment that I realised what Ann Voskamp had meant all along. In the deepest of pain, when we remember God’s faithfulness and praise His name, we in turn allow Him to re-member us.. whether we feel brave or not.

The breakthrough did come, my lightbulb moment. I was driving down Prideaux and thought of T, I didn’t know it at the time but everything that happened next was orchestrated by the Holy Spirit. You see, I don’t use Spotify but T had once brought it up in conversation well over a year ago and every now and then I pop on to see what worship songs are there. As I drove I couldn’t shake the feeling that I needed to go onto Spotify, I thought it was weird because I already had worship music playing from my phone and it felt silly to switch platforms. Regardless I found myself clicking on shuffle on the first playlist that came up. The song that played? Battle belongs, by Phil Whickham. I drove and listened to the words, they resonated through each part of me but it wasn’t until the final chorus was sung that the penny dropped.. “God, the battle belongs to you”. That’s the answer to how I can be bravely broken.. I reached for a piece of paper and scribbled down what was on my heart — I can be brave in my brokenness because I know these battles belong to Jesus. My heart knows too that through Jesus, the battle is already won. I can be brave because I know that even though I am broken, I am also safely held by the One who fights my battles for me. Would you believe me if I told you that only a day later, TR shared that same song on Facebook? As if it were God Himself confirming His answer to my question on how I could be brave in my brokenness and how it would look.

I recall a time last July where T had come to visit me in hospital, the headspace I was in was one of self destruction and total despair – more familiar nowadays. At the time I was reading a book about a girl whom herself battled Anorexia, my intentions for reading this book however was ill and T had left me that morning with the book in hand. Upon returning it several months later, she had told me she marked a page upon which a poem was written by the girls mother; one she hoped I would read and appreciate when the time was right. A year has since passed and one night this week I found myself reorganising the draws in my room in preparation for my beginning studies, I stumbled across the book and opened to the page that T had marked. “There is a beautiful creature, living in a hole you have dug. So at night I set fruit and grains, and a little pot of wine and milk, beside your soft earthen mounds. And often I sing. But still, my dear, you do not come out. I have fallen in love with Someone who hides inside you. We should talk about this problem— Otherwise, I will never leave you alone”. 

My heart yearned as I read that poem; it yearned to be safely held in the arms of those whom waited outside my hole, oh how my heart broke for their own hearts. Though my battle is still very present and very real, it would be foolish of me to not pause and acknowledge how far we have come; not from a sense of accomplishment, but rather from a sorrow filled sense of realisation for the deep pain that has been caused to those dear to me. I can not begin to imagine how heart breaking it must have been for those who loved me, to have to stand by and watch as I slowly killed myself, and not being able to do anything about it. Recovery was a choice that I needed to make, no-one could make it for me; as was the choice to live. There was a stage where I was so consumed by Gollum, so lost and out of my depth. I don’t remember much detail about the last two years but there was one point where I remember sitting in front of T, she was telling me that she didn’t know who I was, she only saw Gollum, she wanted to speak to me but I wasn’t there. It saddens me to even think of that, imagine how it would feel to sit down with someone you love but not be able to reach them. T painted a picture of me once, long before either of us read the book quoted above. She told me that she saw me, a wounded animal in the corner of the room, too afraid to accept the tender love and hand extended out to me. 

I think now of how my Father must have felt, how His heart must have broken as He watched me each hour of each day; it is said that if our human hearts were to experience even the smallest fraction of the depth of heartbreak that God feels for ourselves, then that alone would be enough to physically tear our hearts in two. I feel sad as I consider how He and my loved ones must have felt, I feel sad but I don’t hate myself because I understand that I was unwell and it wasn’t pain that I intended to conflict. I however do not understand how I was still loved through everything. How is it that just in this last month R, T, TR, TC and my Father have all told me that they still love me? Why do they still love me? How could they? Oh when I stop and when I allow myself to be loved I pain inside because I know that I don’t deserve it, yet I receive that love nonetheless. The concept of God’s heart breaking for me as He loves me unconditionally is still a concept I am learning to grasp. He has sat outside the hole I have dug, alongside my loved ones, and they each have fallen in love with me. I feel so taken back to know that they never lost sight of me, they loved the girl who was so cruel consumed by Gollum, they saw her and held hope for her, they never left and gave up. Seeing God as my Heavenly Father and coming to know Him as such has been one of the largest challenges I have faced in my life. T phrased it quite perfectly when she once told me that it’s hard to imagine God as our Heavenly Father when we don’t have a loving earthly father to compare Him to. I have grown up with the elusiveness of love as my nearest companion, in a home where love was not shown unconditionally I grew up guarded and unsure of how to accept the love offered to me. I am learning, I really am but it’s hard because it goes against the deep rooted beliefs I have held within me. I have sought approval from those whose opinions of me in hindsight never really mattered, the only one with whom I should be concerned is in fact my Heavenly Father. For He is the One who has held my right hand as He so dearly promised me He would, when I left Him He never left me. My God has stood by me through everything, through each suicide attempt, each time I hurt myself or self destructed; through every tear and crushing, He was there. My God has pursued me and He has fought for me; it truely is a love story like no other

As I sit here now, concluding this post, I can in all honesty say that the last six weeks have been terribly painful. However whether things continue to grow increasingly more difficult, or whether they become easier: in my heart of hearts I know that I do not need to always be brave. In fact, bravery is often contrast to what I grew up believing it was. My Jesus has shown me that I am able to be brave even when brave is the furthest thing from how I feel. Brave brokenness looks like falling at the foot of the cross, arms open in surrender and allowing God to take control because each battle belongs to Him and the fight is already won. The very Writer of my story has written Himself into even the darkest of my chapters and He meets me there, time and time again. I am so dearly loved and as brutal as things may ever seem, I am still beautifully and bravely broken

“There will still be love when the worst happens and when the hope doesn’t happen. There will still be love when everything crumbling, and there will be enough love to rebuild [re-member]. There will still be enough love to keep breathing, to keep believing, to keep being and being brave.”

– Ann Voskamp

-c x (16.07.2021)

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