Life is a near constant test…at least for me. I have lived in the depths of hell, and I have known profound happiness. These emotions were separated by two vastly different lives. The life in which I tried to do everything my way and the life in which I turned everything over to God before I did anything. The difference has been so astounding that I can not comprehend how anyone ever chooses to do anything their own way. Why would you want to carry those burdens?
I wish sometimes when I am trying to explain my happiness that I could show I quick clip of my life before. It would probably instantly convert or deeply confuse anyone watching. My life was hell. I lived in a literal hell.
There were periods where it didn’t look as dark and evil as it was. There were periods where I danced at clubs with celebrities and flew on private jets. I got to pick my clothes out of magazines and lived in a huge house overlooking the sea. I remember going to Neiman Marcus and being told just to buy whatever you want, we couldn’t even carry all the bags…and it was glorious for 7 seconds but it was black and fake and empty. I had to stay totally numb in order to not jump out of a window. I was screaming so loudly in my head that I was actually shocked no one could hear me. I wanted to die every second of every day.
There were periods of my life when I lived in a roach filled apartment next to a gay strip club. Where I hid with my cats watching the drugged out men bash out car windows on the street below. I pulled the blankets over my head so I couldn’t hear the roaches running up and down the wall above my head. It was so creepy and dangerous that I somehow convinced myself that I was equally dangerous, so I felt comfortable walking down the dark streets of San Francisco at 4 am because I couldn’t sleep. Homeless men telling me to be safe because they knew a baseball hat wasn’t hiding my vulnerability at that hour… I didn’t care. I didn’t care if someone hurt me. It would have been an escape I believed I deserved.
My environment changed constantly, but my inner state remained the same. If I was hiding in my car because I heard gunshots or at a fancy event, as safe as can be, my head remained in hell. I wanted to be set free, and I truly did not care how. I always believed in God. Always. But I didn’t believe I was worthy of living. I was told I was a loser at my lowest point by brother, and because I always adored him, I believed him. Every person I needed was telling me what I already believed, not because it was true but because… because.
You aren’t what anyone says you are. You are who God says you are. It doesn’t matter what you have or where you live or how tortured your inner state is. God is not a genie who is going to grant your wishes or fix your situation. God will, though, transform your mind. When you put your trust in God instead of in yourself, the ways in which your life will change will have you on your knees with gratitude. You will begin to notice the unease you feel when you’re going in the wrong direction. You will be able to discern when someone’s reaction has nothing to do with you, and you will be able to love them in spite of everything.
God’s gifts are limitless, but the give of peace is profound. The ability to feel joy and gratitude and deep love no matter what is infinitely more valuable than any material item. I could not fix myself because it wasn’t my job. I had to surrender.
Today, my life is a different life. A different planet. I start my day by saying thank you. I am so grateful to be here and to be able to feel everything. I moved back to my parents, and I spend my days surrounded by animals and some of the kindest and strongest people I have ever met. I walk in the mud, pushing a wheelbarrow filled with horse manure while my daughter sings to horses, and I say THANK YOU out loud a hundred times. I watch these women and girls filled with confidence and strength and feel euphoric that my daughter has that as an example of what a teenager and mother and grandmother can be. I don’t need anything more. Every time something good happens, it feels like Christmas because, for me, it is. Thank you, God, for loving me when I was unworthy, and thank you for everything that today will bring❤
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your path straight. Proverbs 3: 5-6.