Still That Girl
It was the picture perfect relationship. There was love, humor, friendship, everything that the recipe called for. Everything was smooth sailing and anticipated excitement, until it just wasn't anymore. It is one of those unknown and unforeseen situations that no one plans for. You don't know how to prepare for it and you don't know how to go back to normal once all is said and done. All you know is that it happened and that somehow, someway you have to keep on living even though you don't know how. We have all experienced, at some point, a moment where you just feel empty and alone and afraid and angry. It's an emotional chaos. The toughest part is finding the strength to get back on your feet, and fixing your eyes back on the one who controls your entire life, from the beginning to the end. Now, I'm not going to say it is or was easy because that would be a flat out lie. But, I will say that it was and is SO worth it!
Before we get into the details, I want you to be able to understand a little more about who I am and where I was.
I have always been one that wants to please everyone and wants to be accepted by everyone. This means that I am willing to sacrifice everything for those that I care about and love. I'm not saying it's a bad thing, however, it did and does interfere with the things that I want for myself. See, I let what everyone else wanted and everyone else's dreams come before my own. I was willing to let go of my dream in order for someone else to potentially reach theirs. I wouldn't trade it for the world but there will always be that "What if?" question that resonates inside my brain. James 4:14 tells us, "Yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes". This verse has resonated with me because I have a new found freedom to live my life not only to its fullest, but to live it with passion. A passion for the Lord and a simple passion for all things this life has to offer. Certain opportunities only arise for us when we are in a certain age. Like James says, we don't know what tomorrow will bring. Are we going to lie down and think about all we didn't do with our days, or are we going to lie down and think about all the things we did that brought joy and glory to God. We don't know when our "mist" will vanish. I am now living out my passions and going where God calls me. (stay tuned for more information!)
My relationship with Jesus has always been there. It hasn't always been perfect but, I have always known that God is there and He is in control. However, for a brief stage in my life I began to put God more so on the back corner than at the front and center of my life formation. He wasn't forgotten but He also wasn't the priority I was trying to hold on to and fight to keep. In my head I told myself that God will always be there so my priority should be to make sure everyone else was where I wanted them and to keep everything looking good. Well, wouldn't you know I lost that battle. God knows exactly where to interfere and when to do so because, simply put, He knows what is best. So, God took control.
A little bonus piece of information about me is that I am a hopeless romantic. I credit all of that solely to my love of Disney. I think I've been brainwashed, if you will, to believe in happy endings, princes and love conquering all. I have to remind myself that all of that can, and will, happen but it's just not going to be on my time. My mom has this quote that she tells me, "Keep dancing with God and He will let the right one cut it." Yes, I'm still waiting for my Prince Charming but, I know that He is coming and waiting on me too.
I met with my pastor right before Thanksgiving, who crazy enough has the same story, and he brought things into a new light. He gave the story and my situation a different lens. One of the biggest things I took away from that meeting was He said, "It's OK to be mad at God". Some of you may have never thought that was something that was acceptable to do as a Christian. But, the truth is, God knows all the thoughts and feelings that go through your mind and heart before you even think them. Just because you get mad at God, doesn't always mean that you love Him any less. It's like when you fight with your parents or siblings or best friend. You are mad at them in the moment, and it may linger for a few days, but in the end you know that you still love them and they still love you.
Through the hustle and bustle of the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday I struggled severely. I, in a sense, was mourning a death of myself and of that life. I missed all of what I had lost; the people, the places, the experiences. And to be honest, I still do and probably always will. It was a part of my life for a long time and will live with me forever. But, there came a point where I needed to put aside the sadness and begin to be me again. I got rid of any toxic things that would drag me down or would tempt me to fall back. I grabbed my weapons (my Bible, devotions, journal, and a pen) and I went into this battle. I would read, write, think, and pray. I was on this ongoing cycle and I was feeling God work in my life. From my thoughts, to my words, to my actions, even to my decision making about big steps I am going to be taking this year, He was moving in me and showing me just how great He is and how much He loves me.
Since the new year has begun, I honestly feel like a ball was dropped off of my shoulders. I have been able to hold my head higher, stand a little taller, smile a little bigger, laugh harder. God has already paved my path for my entire life here on Earth. He is already there in the future, at every moment. He was there in my past through all the tears and laughter. And, best of all, He is here with me in the present. Every second of every day, He is holding my hand and taking me through this thing called life and showing me the beauty of His work and showing me the immense amount of things He has planned for me that are perfect in every way. He knows the desires of my heart, and yours, because He put them there. A great friend of mine recently told me in a time of need, you wouldn't have the desires of you heart in your heart if God didn't plan on fulfilling them because He is the one that knit them into your heart when He first created you in your mother's womb. I mean, can I get an "AMEN"?! Take a moment and let that sink in.
Now, I'm going to get real with you because this is truly what this blog is all about. Being real, being open, and overall being vulnerable to all that has happened in my past and will happen in my future. I say that the new year has brought all of this goodness into my heart and my life and it has! However, I must not forget to mention that there are still bad moments and that I still have a lot to work on when it comes to myself. Do I still cry about what happened to me? Yes. Are there moments where I still feel ashamed and embarrassed about what occurred in my life. Yep. Do I still wonder if I'll ever be loved again? Of course. With all that being said, I must tell you that I don't fully love myself. To be honest, I haven't loved myself in a very long time, if ever. I so freely give my love to others but I can't ever fully be loved in return or know what that love is until I learn to fully love who I am. I have always been told that I need to love myself. But, it wasn't until a woman, who cares about me like I'm her own child, sat me down, held my hands, looked me square in the eyes and said, "You need to love Madison first". That's what God wants me to do, just love Madison. The Madison He created so flawlessly in my mother's womb where I was woven and spun to His perfection.
God pulled me from a situation because He had seen enough of me being broken. He does that because He can only take so much of seeing His children hurt and fall to the Devil before He intervenes. He does this, simply put, because He adores us. It may not be "what we want" especially in the moments where we are blinded by what we want compared to what He wants. The truth is that it really isn't about what we want; it's all about what He wants for our lives. And what He wants for our lives is so good that we truly can't see, think or even totally understand it. He knows what will bring us the most joy and we have no reason to doubt or question His decisions, even though we are all guilty of having done so. He has a "method to His madness", if you will, and it works out for our good. Every. Single. Time. Even though I thought He was breaking me by taking away the someone I thought I loved and loved me back, He actually took me away to restore me and to bring me back to Him. Looking back, it truly brings tears to my eyes. Not of sadness, but of gratitude that the God of the universe has set bigger and better things for me in my future.
I will probably never forget October 26, 2016 for as long as I live. The memories will always be there in the back of my mind. However, I take that as a lesson learned and as something to build my testimony because all of my life is a living testimony to what God has done, is doing, and will do for me in the future. I can only pray that everything in my story will be to His glory. To all those who have impacted and added to my story, thank you. I might have fallen, but I'm back up and standing tall. I might have been broken, but now I am restored. I have found God's amazing grace and His unfailing love and I am NOT looking back. I am going to live my dreams and live in prayer. God's will is taking over my heart and He is making it my want. I will love unconditionally, I will pray ceaselessly, I forgive willingly, and I will live passionately. I am not defeated by my past, I am stronger because of it.
I am still that girl.