He’s Never Told Me That I’m Not Worth the Pain of Loving

Hi to whoever reads this blog, with my recent anniversary of becoming a Christian, my birthday, and then New Years coming up, I wanted to write something profound.

Unfortunately, I’m really not a profound or deep kind of person.

A while back, someone told me that my blog posts were pretty basic and surface level, and that they were just Facebook posts in disguise. At the time, that really bothered me. I know I’m not a scholar, a philosopher, or even a writer, but I do try in my own way to do some good, even if it’s as small as a five hundred word ramble on prayer. It took me some time to realize that I don’t want this blog to be formal, I don’t want to seem like I know everything when I don’t. I’m not a preacher, these are not my sermons. I’m not a teacher, these are not my lessons.

I need to stop trying to be something I’m not.

I’m a person who believes that sharing your heart with others and being genuine is powerful, even if it’s what others call simple.

I am simple, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

I want this to be a space for the few who find it and want to stay, a place where I not only share my thoughts but a spot on the internet where others can read them and know they’re not alone.

I don’t want this blog to make me seem perfect and put-together, I am a seventeen-year-old girl, you’re not going to get that, and I’m not going to pretend to be that.

So, here I am with my surface level thoughts in the form of Facebook posts, take me or leave me.

Now, since that’s out of the way, here’s what I want to write today because all this talk of growing up and moving has made me think about my family and my relationship with my siblings:

As much as I hate to admit it, I have learned that to love is to be vulnerable. Loving is opening your arms again and again, even though you have been stabbed in the chest before. To love is to understand the inevitability of a person hurting you and still pulling them close because it’s worth it, they’re worth it.

When I was younger, one of my biggest fears was that my siblings would stop loving me. I would worry that one day I would say something so mean in anger that when I apologized they wouldn’t forgive me, that one day they would realize that I was a terrible older sister and that they deserved someone so much better than I could ever be.

“Do you want his boots under your table in the future?”

My mom always asks me this when my little brother and I bicker, “Do you want him to be in your life in the future, Grace?

I always feared that my siblings would stand up from their spots at my future table and walk out my front door, never to return, leaving nothing but the ghosts of their absence and what should have been. I still fear that.

Thankfully, I think my brother and my other siblings are some of the most forgiving people, because they always welcome me back with open arms, even though we all know that it’s only a matter of time before we hurt each other again and repeat the process. I pray that never changes for both sides. I pray that love is always winning over hurt and bitterness.

As strange as it may seem, I see God’s relationship with us reflected so much in my relationship with my siblings.

“I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.”-Isaiah 43:25

“In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence…”-Ephesians 1:7-8

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”-1 John 1:9

Just like with my siblings, I’m so glad that God always welcomes us back with open arms.

I’m so glad He is good and loving, unlike I would be if I were Him.

“I’m sorry, but I see a pattern with you and these kind of mistakes…”

“You’re constantly getting your priorities mixed up in some way again, how do you expect me to believe that you’re more than just talk?”

“You always let me down and disappoint me, I can’t do this 24/7.”

“You’re toxic. All you do is bring me down.”

“It’s over, leave. You can’t be that sorry when you keep making similar mistakes.”

“I can’t forgive this, and I certainly can’t forget it.”

“I can’t believe that I let my only son suffer and die for you.”

“Grace, I’m sorry, but I can’t do this anymore. You are not worth the pain of loving.”

I’m grateful that God isn’t like that. No matter how much I deserve death, He has gifted me with life.

Because God doesn’t just want “His boots under my table now and in the future”, He wants me at His for eternity.

“For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus,  who gave Himself a ransom for all…”-1 Timothy 2:3-6

I am constantly brought to my knees emotionally at the thought that God looked at us and the price He would have to pay to save us from our sins and thought we were worth it.

Two days ago, I hit the two-year mark for when I was baptized into Christ, and still, I feel so humbled at the fact that I am here and can call myself a child of God.

The Creator of the world knows me, even better than my parents and siblings who have been around me every day for my whole life and for years. He knows me and all of my shortcomings and all of my past mistakes. He’s seen the ugliest parts of me, He knew about them before they even developed, and yet, He loves me.

I would understand if He saw me as a constant disappointment, but He sees me as chosen, worthy, capable of bringing glory to Him, and He makes me want to work even harder to be all those things and more.

He continues to forgive me and welcome me back.

I thank God for that, just like I thank Him that my loved ones are more like Him than I would probably be in their shoes.

I Know You Just Want to Be Somebody This Holiday Season and I’m Here to Tell You That You Are

My sister and I were singing along to Someone to You by the Banners the other day, and if you have siblings you know that hearing lyrics come out of your eleven-year-old sister’s mouth can have a way of making you hear them, which sometimes results in a song being quickly skipped.

However, these lyrics weren’t questionable, they were honest.

If you haven’t heard the song, here are my highlights of the lyrics:

I don’t wanna die or fade away
I just wanna be someone…

Dive and disappear without a trace
I just wanna be someone
Well, doesn’t everyone?

I just wanna be somebody to someone…

And if the sun’s upset and the sky goes cold
Then if the clouds get heavy and start to fall
I really need somebody to call my own…

I am the type of person who struggles with the constant need to feel needed, and that is something I have been working on: not trying to find my identity and worth simply in the opinions that others have of me.

I told a friend once that I’m really working on being genuine because sometimes I fear that I am only helpful or friendly to people for myself.

I’ve gotten better, but now a new struggle arises… where does that end? At the same time that I yearn to be a need in other’s lives, I also push people away because I don’t want to need myself.

“Grace, you need to realize that it’s ok to need others,” my therapist said to me in one of our last sessions, “you are human, you need connection, you are a social creature, and that’s ok. It’s ok to be lonely. It’s ok to need help from others sometimes. Shutting yourself off from feeling isn’t going to get you anywhere.”

She was right.

I’m learning that it’s ok to need others, isn’t that why we have the church? God knew we would need people in our lives to help encourage and build us up.

One of God’s first observations of man other than very good was that it wasn’t good for man to be alone.

Yet, this ramble isn’t the point of this post, because while I am learning that it’s ok to need other people, I am still trying to remind myself of Who I need the most.

It’s hard to remember that during the holidays, so that’s why I wanted to write to you this morning.

You mean something to someone.

You mean something to someone even if this holiday season is making you question that.

This time can be hard. I wrote a post about it in the past, and afterward, I received several emails from people telling me how horrible this time of the year is for them. They tell me that they’re alone, their children don’t talk to them or bring the grandkids over, this is the time of the year that they see people spending time with family they don’t have.

Maybe it’s hard because you’re single and while you know that your completion doesn’t rest in another and that no one by holding your hand can hold the whole of you as God can, it’s so easy to let those songs sink into your head and to feel desperately alone while watching other couples this time of year.

Maybe you’re grieving the death of a loved one or a relationship and everything right now just feels like a stab to the heart.

Maybe it’s just as simple and as complicated as seasonal depression.

No matter your circumstance, I’ve written this on my old blog, but I’ll rewrite it here:

It’s ok if Christmas lights are reflected in your tears this week.

I pray they aren’t or I pray that those are tears of joy and not sadness, but it’s ok.

However, it’s not ok to start believing those lies you tell yourself.

“But Grace, you don’t understand how terribly isolated I feel right now, maybe those things I think about myself late at night are true… maybe I am unwanted and alone.”

Listen, I’ve been there and I won’t lie and say that there aren’t some days where I look up and I am there once again, but to that I want us to remember the actual Truth.

“When You said, “Seek My face,”
My heart said to You, “Your face, Lord, I will seek.”
Do not hide Your face from me;
Do not turn Your servant away in anger;
You have been my help;
Do not leave me nor forsake me,
O God of my salvation.
 When my father and my mother forsake me,
Then the Lord will take care of me.
-Psalm 27:8-10

You are someone to not just someone, but to the One who made the world and everything in it. You are so wanted and so loved that God looked at you and saw all your shortcomings, saw every mistake you would make, every heart you would break, and every ugly thing that would become about yourself before you even breathed air. He saw you and continues to do so, dirty laundry and all, and yet, He still looked at you and looked at the price that He would have to pay to save you from your future sins and shortcomings and He decided that you were worth it.

You still are.

You are not a poetic tragedy. You are not a victim. You are not forgotten or left behind. You are not unwanted or unloved.

You are loved. You are needed. You have value and more worth than you or I can ever understand.

Why can’t you just accept that?
Why can’t you just accept that you are someone to Someone?

You are here and you matter.

It’s hard to understand at first, because the walls we have built that cage us isn’t as easy to tear down like wrapping paper is when you peel it off of a box.

It’s hard to let it sink in, because insecurities don’t just unravel with a simple tug like a lace ribbon.

I know.

But listen, listen, listen:

You matter.

You are able to make a difference.

Yet, that difference will never be made if you let yourself stay where you are right now.

You could stay where you are with tears in your eyes and discouragement in your heart forever, that should scare you, I know it scares me.

You are more than just the ache in your heart right now, my friend.

You are not only capable of being more, you were made to be more.

Nothing is going to change in your life or mine, if we don’t start working on making progress despite our emotions.

At the end of this week, we’ll pick the bits of wrapping paper off the floor and take down our lights, and life will go on.

The world will keep on spinning and we will be ok, because thankfully we were and still are somebody to the One who matters most.

Don’t Go Back, Ok?

Sometimes I think about falling away.

No, not in the “I’m going to” sense, but I think about how I could and why.

1 Corinthians 10:12 and 2 Peter 2:19-22 inhabit a corner of my brain, their words haunting me because I’ve watched them be proven.

It’s unimaginable for me sometimes to imagine becoming someone who leaves the truth, as it was for Peter.

Then Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also want to go away?”

But Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”-John 6:67-68

“…to whom shall we go?”

And there it is. That is the real question.

Why would I go back when I’ve already been there?

Why would I go back when I know about the death that once seeped from my former words, actions, and beliefs?

When you’re at rock bottom, there’s nothing to do but crawl up, why would I let go now?

However, what I’ve come to realize is that people don’t understand that being a Christian is hard, and I’ve made the mistake in past studies of not truly explaining that, which is something I greatly regret.

“And Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. Then He said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” They immediately left their nets and followed Him.”-Matthew 4:19-20

Immediately, Peter and Andrew left their nets to follow Jesus. They left their lifestyle, probably all that they knew behind.

People don’t realize how hard it’s going to be to let go of their nets.

They don’t understand that it’s hard to drop a rope that they have been clutching for so long or how painful it is to unfurl once locked fingers and let something that once seemed for them land at their feet with a muffled thud.

They don’t realize how painful it can be to walk away from that pile of meshwork, to leave behind what you’ve known and who’ve you been to know Him and become His.

I wonder if Peter or Andrew ever thought about their nets.

Where they still there? Could the sand be shaken from them? Could they maybe return to what they once knew for just “old times sake”?

I wonder if they ever thought about picking them back up for just a second, a minute, and night, while reasoning that they could easily lay them back down again.

But we know that they didn’t do that.

We know that they followed Jesus, despite the hardships that faced them, despite their moments of human weakness. They stayed, no, they did more than just stay: they fought.

“You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No one engaged in warfare entangles himself with the affairs of this life, that he may please him who enlisted him as a soldier.  And also if anyone competes in athletics, he is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules.”-2 Timothy 2:3-5

I know this post is short, but I’ve been thinking about hardships and continuing to be faithful, no matter how hard the world tries to pull us back.

Listen, you cannot go back, not even for a second, dear friend.

I cannot go back.

We cannot go back.

Why?

“…to whom shall we go?”

He has given us the Word, and now, we need to let go of our nets and follow it.

Let go. Free your hands to cling to the way, the truth, and the life.

“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.”-Hebrews 10:23