A pretty loaded question right? I think if I were to narrow it down to one answer it would be …. that I thank him for my story. I have been going through a class over the last 6 weeks for the second time. The first time I took it was in the spring of this year. The class is following the book “The Missing Commandment: Love Yourself” by Jerry and Denise Basel . Originally when I joined the class in spring I thought “well there’s a concept. I can’t say that I love myself…. It never really occurred to me and I have really low self esteem so maybe I can learn some self confidence in this class”. To be honest I probably would have never taken it if I didn’t get a personal invitation from our pastor’s wife who I adore.
Little did I know that this book and class was going to rock my world… flip it upside and spin it around till I was dizzy. The book takes you through steps into figuring out why you think the way you do and why you do the things you do. I knew I had some things to work on but I didn’t realize how broken I was… and still am.
The first time taking the class I was seriously in shock. It all was just a lot to take in. I gained some clarity but from there I wasn’t quite sure what to do with it other than thank God for guiding me into a safe place I am today even when I didn’t know he was there. After the first class summer came and I had one of the best summers with my family. I decided I was going to take the whole month of July off and really connect with them and not let myself be distracted by work. It was wonderful… but I again like always put myself and my healing aside. Do I think spending quality time with them was great for me and my healing… yes 100%. But honestly I didn’t look at the book or my notes and journal once during the summer. I knew it was going to be hard and it scared me. So when the same woman who asked me to be apart of the class the first time approached me again to see if I was interested in leading a group in another round of the class, I initially felt unqualified. But, I knew that If I were to lead a group it was going to force me to not only read the book again but go over all the hard memories and brokenness that would hopefully result in some more healing.
I sit here today, the day after the last class of the second time around for me. I was able to really reflect on how different both experiences were. The first… it was pure shock… The second… I realized I had finally broken ground on my healing but boy do I have so much more to do. Just like a contractor sees a run down, used up, broken and destroyed home. His first step is to reflect on all the damage and see what repairs need to be done. Then its time to demo and break ground. Some demos are a few walls and some surface work but some demos are the entire home and even the foundation. Because without a strong foundation a home is weak and cannot stand strong in a storm or overtime it will become more and more weak.
Well you may have already guessed that I compare myself as the home the needs to have the complete demo and a new foundation. I may even need to be built on a completely new property with new views and new neighbors. Those old neighbors may think or say “why is she needing to do this she looks great, this will change the look of our street, I don’t see anything wrong with that home.” But that is what has always been my problem. You see as long as I was perceived as good, pretty, happy, successful, a good wife, a good mom…. Than that’s all that matters. I grew up being taught to do good in school so I can make someone else proud, behave well so I can help my family look good, fix your hair, wipe your nose, stop crying, be more like your sister. Those all seem normal and yes some of those demands from parents are very normal. But, when taught your whole life to be a certain way for everyone else but yourself, thats damaging.
Do I blame my parents? NO! not at all. I learned that everything they did as parents where their normal or in other words what they knew and were taught. Do I love my parents? YES! But, I learned that one of the biggest mistakes in my life is that I was minimizing the fact that my childhood in fact was not perfect. My famous quote “others had it some much worse I have nothing to complain about”. Did we make it look perfect for others… OH YES. Because like I said before that is what we did as a family. We were the “perfect” family. I even believed it myself most of the time. I always have said I had the best childhood. And I did have a good one. Better than most. Did I have parents who cared about me and my sisters, who did everything they could to give us the best childhood they can with what they had and knew? YES! But what makes this whole process hard is recognizing that things weren’t perfect, and although I know they did the best with what they had and what they knew… It wasn’t the best way to grow up.
I always wondered why I could never take a compliment. Well because those compliments were just words to me. They are noticing all this surface good that Im doing. They are complimenting how pretty I am or how nice my hair is. But deep down in me I feel like no one truly knows my heart. They don’t know the real me they only know what I present to the world in hopes of recognition but then when the recognition comes Im still left feeling empty. Since I was a child I have been wearing this mask the mask of all the girls and women I thought I should be. This mask has lead me into decisions that my heart wouldn’t have made. This mask has lead me into friendships that were completely unhealthy. This mask has lead me into relationships with boys and men that stole so much of my innocence away that I can never get back. This mask lead me to my rock bottom 7 years ago when I thought my life was over and the only thing that kept me living was the life that I brought into this world and his name is Dylan. If it weren’t for someone else’s life that I needed to make sure was okay I honestly can’t tell you where else that mask would have lead me. I never knew I was wearing that mask until a few weeks ago. luckily while I still had that mask on God met me in my brokenness and lead me to a person that needed me as much as I needed him who is now my husband. Do we have the perfect marriage no…. because I’ve been still wearing my mask. Has he seen glimpses of me underneath the mask? YES. More than most people I know. I am 32 years old now and I can say I am finally figuring out who I am and who I want to be fully. But, I know who knows me and my heart. I know who knows everything I’ve been through, everything I have thought, everything I have felt and everything that is to come. That is the Lord and honestly I weep for those who come to this emptiness feeling that doesn’t have God in their hearts. Because they feel alone, broken and nowhere to go. But I am so lucky that I have God in my heart. God is the contractor that is helping me tear down every broken wall, he is there with me as we jack hammer the cracked foundation, and he is there with me as we pour a new slab and slowly build up the walls of a strong sturdy and beautiful home.
This is where I am at after reading this book and going through the class with women who have their own stories. Im in demo stages still and I am so happy to be given this opportunity to finally realize what needs to be done.
So getting back to what Im am thanking God for today? It is my story. Yes I may have gone through so much brokenness over may life because my foundation was weak, but I have a story to share with others that will help change their lives. I do not wish I had a different story. I am just thankful that I get to be the co author alongside Jesus to finish my book.
P.S. I meant it when I said I love my parents and I do not wish to have lived a different life. I do wish one day that they can experience this understanding and healing in their own life.