Sometimes it doesn't take much to take me back to the girl that I used to be. I remember that girl and she makes me cry. There are so many things that I wish I could tell her, but I know she wouldn't believe me.
I wish that I could tell her that her future has hope -
that not all men are evil -
that it's okay to love, to be vulnerable -
that she isn't ruined, and -
despite what people tell her, -
God is a God of grace and love -
He is not waiting for her to screw up one more time just so He can finally punish her for good.
When I was a teenager, I felt as though there was one safe adult in my life. But then she died, and I have hurt so much for another mentoring figure since then. Not a mom - I have one of those - but someone who mentors. Someone who could show me what it means to be a godly wife and mother. Someone who can teach me how to be a woman of grace who loves genuinely.
I will forever be grateful to that woman for showing a very hurt and scared girl love. She was my first glimpse that a Christian could love without pointing out the sin constantly. During that time in my life, I had enough people condemning me and judging me unfit. Believe me, I knew what was sin. I still do. But sometimes you have to reach a point where you are loved enough so that you can stop sinning; especially when you keep sinning because you've been told that you are already ruined. Fifteen is too young for anyone to be told that they are ruined. There have been so many times through the years when I have longed to talk to her, and this week I have especially felt her loss.
One of the reasons that I have acutely missed her presence this week is an on-going situation that brings back memories of my lost innocence. With the situation comes memories that I try to not remember, the nightmares that haunt me during the day. It has been 14 years since those days, but I feel as though it has only been weeks. All actions have consequences, and some actions carry out through a lifetime.
I don't always feel pain and grief when I remember. There has been a lot of healing, thanks be to God. I no longer feel shame over my past. I know that God has washed me clean. I do however remember what I felt back then so clearly that it seems recent. I wish that I could visit with my former self and tell her the words that she so desperately needed to hear. That is impossible, of course. But it doesn't mean that I can't talk to others who are now where I have been.
There are some Christians who think that any pain you feel is a sign that you're not allowing God to deliver you from all bad things. I feel that such an outlook is unrealistic and uncaring. If we were all delivered from pain so that we no longer remembered, wouldn't we be less able to have mercy on others? I think sometimes that God allows pain and suffering to soften our hearts; to remind us how other humans can be hurt.