In an attempt to begin our conversation, we here at FACETS of Faith want to start by sharing a bit of who we are and how we got to this point. However, when we‘re not ten any longer, how do we sum up our life’s story?
It feels impossible. A handful of words are like a drop of rain in a vast ocean, barely able to make a ripple. How can I share who I am with any depth? Yet still I try, because it’s how every good conversation starts … with an attempt to connect often through a sharing of story.
Here are a few droplets of mine. Their culmination helped carry me to where I am today.
Children begin with open and trusting hearts. I was sensitive. I could get lost nose first in a book for hours. At times, my shy side would come out, right shoulder lifted high, chin tucked down to meet it as my eyes averted whatever made me feel timid. Maddeningly, my body language still betrays me.
The problem with being sensitive without being grounded in a strong sense of who you are—you get hurt. Little by little, layer by layer, life cut deep. You lose your way. That’s what I did. I tripped and fell flat on my tear-stained face. Salt water shed as a result of life’s vast ocean, choppy at times. The downward spiral didn’t happen overnight.
We don’t have time to make every stop along memory lane, but one comes to mind. It’s small and might seem inconsequential. Like so many other drops, Satan used it to build a case of deception against me. Drops of life distorted.
It’s third grade. The teacher asks the class to line up single file. One by one we stood. Each person on display like those prized possessions we’d bring for Show and Tell.
The class sat legs tucked beneath our wooden desks, carved initials scratched into the surface and the occasional clump of chewing gum beneath. We surveyed the room as the teacher asked us to line up one by one.
Who would like to stand next to Janice?
Hands flew up. Pick me they implored with their impatient waving.
Who would like to stand next to so and so? And so and so?
On and on it went. The class responded with exuberance to each child on display — or so it seemed as I explore the soft tissue of truth from my little girl self. It may not be exactly so, but it’s how I remember it. Excited and animated hand waving.
Who would like to stand next to Tracy?
No movement. Hands stayed still. Eyes averted.
Vulnerable and exposed it was hard to feel the not being chosen. It seemed like I stood there for an eternity. My 3rd grade self-esteem smashed as tears tumbled. No one wanted to line up next to me, which I equated to not measuring up.
Not pretty enough.
Not good enough.
Not nice enough.
All those knots in my little girl stomach meant I was not.
Over years and years of knots and nots, I looked for other ways to untangle those emotions—to feel more than a not. I didn’t know who I was, nor did I feel worthy.
When a girl grows into a woman and doesn’t know her worth, waves bound to crash upon her. Scratchy sand of life abrades the skin. Ouch!
But then I met Love. Not the kind in romance novels. Real Love. The type of Love I had been searching for my entire life.
Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. — 1 John 4:7-8 ESV (emphasis mine)
God is Love. Authentic. Genuine. Real Love. No matter what. He waves His hand and says, I want to stand by you, Tracy. I choose you. And He does. And He does. And He does. Wave after wave of lavish love that overwhelms my heart. So good. What I was searching for my whole life.
If I had to sum up my life story, it would be this…
God chose me and He loved me back to life. His love has removed many of the “nots”. He’s worked and still works to change them into “knows”. He builds my confidence as He shows how much He cares.
I am grateful for the awareness of God’s love and how that helps me to know who I really am . His truth changed my life forever. And it continues to bolster my faith and encourage me as He shows His love in big and small ways. Every way a drop to fill my life’s ocean with His love.
Certainly, He loves me.
He has loved me well. Now He wants His love to splash upon others who need to know it too.
Splish. Splash. Love’s mad dash to reach His daughters.
That doesn’t mean love is always easy. It wasn’t easy to receive love and it’s not always easy to give it either.
Love takes courage.
Love changes our countenance.
Love changes lives.
The risk of love is worth it. That’s what I’ve learned. I’m so glad I took the leap and dove deep into God’s love head first. When the waves of life get too choppy, I dive beneath the surface and submerse myself in God’s love again. And again.