I write to get things off my chest. I didn’t for a time. And those things, they took root in my soul and grew bitter fruit. Things I thought forgiven, lay buried underneath the surface. Waiting for a season of isolation to burst forth all that needed to come out from hiding. All that needed to be reckoned with. All that needed to finally be laid down at His feet. Surrended to the one who should really be carrying it.
Come to me. All you who carry heavy burdens and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28
Back in December I read a book that at the time altered my response to all the pain I was going through and feeling. When I read, I do so for pleasure, but I also try to take one sliver of something I read and apply it to my life. Otherwise, what’s the point of adding books to a “read” list. Head knowledge is no good without application. In it, the author, described her letting go of her nine year old self, and the burden of carrying that nine year old version around for most of her life.
I could totally relate, but what was the heavy burden I was carrying? It wasn’t nine year old me, but it was a 17 year old version. The version of me I could not rescue. I carried her in every kid I spoke a little too loudly for. Every student I stormed into rooms for demanding their voices be heard, even if I wasn’t invited.
She screamed out each time she felt not listened to. Was interrupted. She became a little more brazen. A little tougher in speech. A bit more bold. A bit harder to deal with and rough around the edges.
She refused to remain silent.
Silence was the driving force behind the forward motion of many events she could not be rescued from. Through each daily act of present bravery, I was taking back that 17 year olds power. Giving back what was stolen.
But it was exhausting. It cost a ton. It was anxiety filled. And it kept me stuck in the past cycle of defeat. A cycle God wanted me to release.
And I hear Him say: Surrender. Lay it down at my feet. This burden wasn’t yours to carry then, but you did brave girl. You did. Don’t carry it now. Give it to me. Let me do the recusing. He gently says, “Just give her back to me.”
So I do. In the stillness of a gray, winter morning. Christmas lights twinkling. Hot coffee in front of me. I close my eyes, and I surrender. I take her to the altar. I picture it. She doesn’t look much different than me. Still small and very fragile looking, but strong and brave in ways you wouldn’t believe. Dark, curly pony-tail bouncing, but head bowed in shame. She walks beside me. Dependent on me to protect her, speak up for her, help her hold her head high.
I whisper to her as she bows at the foot of the cross. “It’s OK. You were not asked. You weren’t given a choice. You didn’t know your voice. I’ve tried to rescue you, but He will now. He will.”
I step back. And I let God take her in His arms.
Knowing I held her, and I protected her and those like her in the best way I could.
And then I let Him hold me.
And in the that moment in the place of that dumpster, because that’s what I saw for many years; a dumpster when I thought of her. I see a cross.
Instead of a symbol of trash, I see a symbol of grace. Instead of a symbol of worthlessness, I see a symbol of my immense worth. Instead of a symbol of all the ways I was unacceptable. Unloved. I see a symbol of His unfailing love.
You’re not the worthless they made you feel
There is a Love they can never steal away
And you don’t have to stay the broken girl. Matthew West, Broken Girl
I left her there, and finally decided to honor me. All He had done for me, while I carried her around, and what He could do once I surrendered her.
No longer unworthy. Loved beyond measure. Unbroken.