Last Friday was an interesting day for me. We had a senior night for the seniors of St. Paul’s Outreach (the organization I’ve been involved with over the 5 years I’ve been in undergrad). They wanted to honor us for the work we’ve put in, and to inspire us to continue to be as generous with our lives beyond college as we have been in college. To reflect the spirit of the night we were asked to dress nicely, so I was getting ready for the evening, but I wasn’t feeling 100%… I was emotionally drained. The last few weeks had been hard to process my emotions, and to let them happen, and to be humble when I needed help & support from friends.
Leading up to the evening I was feeling anxious. Will I feel unwelcome? Do these people actually like me or want me here? Am I wanted? Am I loved? Do I belong? Am I enough? These questions plagued my mind as I got ready. As I checked off each part of getting ready I settled with thinking it was good enough. I was ready, and sitting on the floor in my room. I started to get lost in my thoughts, trying to keep myself calm with some deep breaths, but these questions filled my mind and stirred up unrest in my heart. Then I looked up and I happened to be facing my mirror.
I looked at my reflection for a moment and saw myself — I saw who I had been, the times of growth I’ve gone through, and the woman I have become. I saw a girl whose heart had been broken, who mourned that lost relationship far too long, who lost her friends because of that relationship, who lost who she was because of the relationship… BUT that relationship, that losing herself, and then losing him, lead her to become the woman she is today. Because she lost herself, and found Christ around the same time she was able to be re-created in the image and likeness of God. She was able to see herself not through her eyes, or the eyes of people around her, but through the eyes of God. I saw a girl-woman struggle and grow through the years of trying to pray every day, from knowing in her mind that her true satisfaction is found in Christ to knowing in the depths of her heart the Lord is her Beloved, and it is to Him she belongs. I saw the countless tears, ice cream, chocolate, popcorn, and nights watching Cinderella where she felt like she couldn’t breathe, and tried to fight the work the Lord was doing in her life. (our God is a gentle god!) I looked up and saw the woman she is today. I saw a woman who has tasted the cup of salvation, who has drank from the well, who has continually strived to deepen her identity as a daughter of God. I saw how the brokenness and the struggles have continued to transform this girl into a woman. I saw the scars, and the healing work the Lord has done, and still has to do. Most of all, I found my confidence. Confidence in my identity as a daughter, that no matter what — no matter how hard the week was, how many times I cried, that I could be confidant I would always find a place at the table of the Father — confidence can be found in knowing our identity as children of God, despite the struggles of this world there is always a place for us in the heart of God. And once I rediscovered that truth I was able to gather myself together to be with the people I love, where I was welcomed with open and loving arms.
Why am I sharing this, you may be asking — because we all have bad days. We all have days where we look at the floor and want to wallow in self-pity. But there is hope because we also have moments like the one I had when I looked in the mirror, where reminded that God is not done with us yet. So I leave you with these words, meant to be words of encouragement, of hope, of solidarity, and of vulnerability.