DISCLAIMER: I post honest reflections like this because I think that someone will find them relatable and be able to see hope in their situation. Some of you may be concerned about me, or even just tired of consistently “dark” posts. Yes, I have been going through a tough time, and I believe I struggle with anxiety and some depression. But if you read to the end, you will see hope and growth. It’s one step at a time, and the best thing that you can do for me or anyone else you’re concerned for is to just keep loving us and allowing us to be happy when we’re happy and sad when we’re sad. There is grace here, and I want to share that with you. Thank you!
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Can I just… say… the words? The words I have silenced, the words I have crushed for shame?
I… am… hurt.
I open up this dark chasm in my chest to you and grimace as the light flicks around, exposing my bloody heart.
Will you rummage and grind and leave me too?
I have closed up, in silence, so that even though I bleed alone, at least I will not bleed worse for someone else’s lack of love.
Can anyone really love me, battered, broken, empty?
Can you see what I see in myself and not walk away?
I have thought of walking away. I have thought of a million things, felt the blood harden and crust me over on the inside, pounded against this cage of bones trying to find an escape.
I can’t help but think now:
if you really saw me—you would not love me.
Even I don’t love me.
I don’t want to trap you in here. I don’t want to bleed on you or scare you with my shadows. But I don’t know what to do.
How long can I cry for help before everyone gives up hope that I will ever see the light?
This, this is my battle. I am hurt and I have condemned myself for it, shut myself up, stifled the anger like hiding a raging fire behind a curtain, denied myself and hurt myself and lost myself, and now some days I can’t even stand to look in the mirror, can’t recognize the girl I see.
I thought I was carrying my cross.
But the truth is, even Jesus needed a man’s help to carry the weight of that cross.
My sweet, broken Jesus.
Jesus, don’t you see what men have done to me, what I have done to me? Don’t you see the bitter gates I have barred to keep you out?
I am terrified to let you in.
What if you don’t show up? Then no one really sees me, so no one really loves me.
What if you walk away? Then the only one who really saw me walked away, so no one really loves me.
Yet you see me through the bars, and you whisper, “I see you on a swing…”
And I’m startled, my hand slips, and… the gates, rusty, creak open.
– – –
Six words can rock a world. That’s what happened in that prayer circle: close living room, dim, a cluster of heartbeats and breath wrapped around me, warm hands on my back and shoulders, supporting me.
Weak. I am weak and they circle around to hold me up.
He will set you free tonight, they say, and a man I’ve never met before rests his hand on my head and comes to Jesus and says, “I see you on a swing.”
I choke and cry.
The sunlight’s been out the past few days, so my worn feet have danced in crusty pebbled sand, carried me to the swingset, stretched up to the sky.
This bright yellow swing is my refuge, my escape, my brief lapse of freedom. It has been ever since I was a child, and even these past couple years when my troubled mind needed the song of the blue sky.
I touch the sky and for a moment I am free.
Jesus sees it, sees me, and he whispers through this stranger, this brother: I see you. Free. And this is what I want for you.
If you will only let me in… I promise I will love you.
Just let me give you grace.
And it’s true what they say: “Grace is… this jolting, blazing, dangerous love that pierces all of humanity’s pitch black… It’s what everyone groping around lost in the dark has to know: turn towards Grace and you turn on all the lights.” – Ann Voskamp
If I let him in, his grace is going to flood this whole place, every wound, every scar.
I pause, hold my breath. Does it hurt him to see it? Will he turn away, unable to take it—me?
There is no hiding now, no running. All my excuses have drained away. My heart is too heavy and my eyes meet his with a brokenhearted desperation.
Will you love me or will you walk away?
And he just whispers one word: Come.
– – –
There is pain in me I can no longer deny, wounds I cannot heal, and burdens that hurt too much to shoulder.
Yet he calls to me, Come. He is pierced with my wounds, marred with my scars, and smeared with my blood… and I just know: No wound will ever make him leave my side.
And he bears the pain so that I can be free.
This is what grace means—
Because he is burdened, I can dance. Because he claims my pain as his own, I don’t have to wrap it up and hide it in shame.
My pain, my wounds—Jesus holds them. I am free to grieve or laugh, break apart or worship.
He doesn’t love me more when I worship or when I am happy or when I forgive. He loves me just as much when I scream in bitter anger or cry in confused panic.
This is why I’m okay. I am not okay because I am strong or because I am good or because I am liked. I’m okay because of grace.
Because of grace, it’s okay if I am broken. I’m okay. It’s okay if I am weak. It’s okay if I need help. It’s okay if I speak up. It’s okay if I hurt and rage and beg and question and wander.
“Don’t only turn up the praise songs but turn to Lamentations and Job and be a place of lament and tenderly unveil the God who does just that — who wears the scars of the singe. A God who bares His scars and reaches through the fire to grab us, “Come — Escape into Me.”
Nobody had told me that —
And I have to ask—if I’m not free to make bad choices, am I really free to choose to follow Christ?
Because he loves me, he breaks with me. He does not condemn me as I do myself. He simply stays and says, I love you anyway, and I am willing to do whatever it takes to fight for you when you can’t. I will walk with you down these paths no matter where you go.
Remember my tremendous grace and how much I love you: then you will love me back and follow me. And I will lead you down a path where you can be free.
Not free from sadness—but free to be sad. Not free from anger—but free to be angry. Not free from pain—but free to feel pain. Not free from questions—but free to ask.
And because of this grace I give to all of you, every piece of you, you will rejoice and give thanks and praise my name.
– – –
I have this hope like a light I carry close to my chest. I’m here in this mind, in this situation, in this hurt and anger and struggle—but the word “failure” is not branded on me.
Instead, grace lets gentle light set my shadows free, and I am seen. Not just in my past—but in my today. In all my broken, beautiful todays.
My pain is real, and I’m not denying it or hiding it.
But my Jesus is real too. And for once, “grace” doesn’t mean wanting to change me—
it simply means He loves me.