One year ago my life was very different. I put these two pictures side by side more for myself than anything. I wanted to “see”. I had to “see”. I needed to “see” the difference in me between then and now. I see more in this picture than anyone else ever could.
In 2016 I see a lost girl, isolated and lonely, hanging on to a control she really didn’t have. I see a girl who lied to herself daily, who thought she was was hiding what everyone else could plainly see. I see ugliness and darkness in that picture. I see the shadow of ED standing in the background. Looking at that picture makes me almost physically ill Thinking of being that girl again makes me feel completely helpless and hopeless. I never, never, never want to meet that girl again. Never. I never want to be her again.
In 2017 I see someone completely different. I see joy. I see joy that radiates from every pore. I see a smile that is real, that isn’t a fake mask, that isn’t hiding the fear lurking deep inside. I see freedom. I see someone who surrendered her fear, let go of that fear that almost drowned her. I see someone with a crisp vision of what is truly important in life. I see someone who knows how to fight, who refuses to give up, who stands firm on the foundation of God’s power. I see life renewed. I see her being pulled out of a pit by God’s powerful and gentle hand and being set on new ground. I see life with purpose, life in love, life on fire. This girl in 2017 knows fear and knows freedom from that fear and those two distinctions mix into a beautiful kaleidoscope of God’s grace.
I don’t know that anyone can truly understand the depth of what these pictures side by side means to me. I hate looking at the 2016 picture. I hate it. But I know I need to see that picture in order to see the indescribable gift God has given me in surrender. I will never forget that moment I let go on November 7, 2016. This day is my birthday. It is my Life Day because November 7 will always be for me the day I received my life of joy and freedom. I will never let that go. And that is why I can say with such conviction and clarity:
I will never go back. Never. Because God is so good. And I’ve got the joy down deep in my soul. Praise his holy name. Forever and ever. Amen.