I am passionate, I am opinionated, I am bold and outspoken, I am transparent, I am honest, I am faithful, and most would say, I am strong.
I am also caring, loyal, forgiving, trusting, and insecure. I am sensitive, I am emotional and I am easily hurt.
I have a passion for family and connection. It has driven my existence. When I was young it was babies, I loved newborns especially. It drove me into volunteering in the church nursery at a young age and then on to babysitting at 12 and 13. I wanted nothing else but to get married and have babies. I was even willing to skip straight to the having babies and prayed to God that he would “make me pregnant like the Virgin Mary,” when I was 12 years old. That didn’t work, but I’m sure God got a good chuckle. I wanted to be a mom more than anything.
I never fit in, not with friends in school and not with my own siblings. School mates saw me as opinionated, argumentative and loud. My siblings saw me as a “loud mouth,” a “tattle tale,” argumentative and always having to be right. I have spent my whole life trying to convince others that they misunderstand me, that I am not the person they labeled me to be.
I wanted so badly to belong and to connect with them and have always felt left out, pushed away, misunderstood and unlovable.
When I was 14 I was a candy striper (a volunteer) at the same hospital my mom worked at. She was a nurse supervisor on a medical floor and I always thought she should work with the babies. Eventually, she did become an L&D nurse. I knew that if I didn’t get married till later, I would become a nurse who worked with the newborn babies in some capacity. I ended up a NICU nurse (of course) for the majority of my 20 years in nursing.
I met my husband when I was 14. I was a freshman in high school. He was the older more experienced bad boy that transferred in from another state for the second half of his senior year. We met through a mutual friend and he was the first boy who truly showed me any interest. I didn’t have boyfriends in Jr High like so many of my friends did. Boys didn’t seem interested in me. So at 14, vulnerable, insecure and desperate to be loved and found attractive, he was my dream. He was charming and confident and knew all the right things to say. I was head over heels crazy about him.
Our relationship was a rocky one over the next three years. But I wouldn’t let go of him. It wasn’t exactly healthy. It wasn’t gods way. My parents didn’t approve. But nobody could convince me that they knew better than me because he made me feel all the things that I had longed to feel. Loveable, desirable, connected, beautiful, and wanted. It wasn’t easy, there were heart breaks along the way, but we married when I was 17 and he was 20. We started having babies right away because it was all I wanted in the whole world.
We did things our own way and not always in the best order. We separated for a lengthy time in the early years of our marriage, we almost divorced, we kept having babies, we reunited (by the grace of God alone), and we have now been married for 33 years. He is my best friend and the only lasting and deep connection I have had throughout my adult years. He sees me and he loves me just how I am. He is proof that God fulfills his promises to work all things together for good for those who love him.
I have struggled my whole life with people. Family, friends, co-workers, even God. I’ve always had a hard time connecting the way I wanted to. I always felt misunderstood and unseen. I have cared deeply and so therefore have felt deep rejection. I have friends, some have even been very close friends for a time, but the closeness never lasts and always felt one sided at some point. This, over time led me to believe there was something wrong with me. That people could only see a terrible person in me.
I have always loved God. He has been part of my whole existence as long as I can remember. I asked Jesus to come into my heart and be my Savior at a very young age, maybe 7 or 8. He has picked me up over and over, brushed me off and pushed me back out there. He has worked many very bad and traumatic things in my life for ultimate goodness, restoration and healing. He has shaped me, molded me and taught me through trials because I often had to learn life lessons the hard way. He has held me, he has been next to me when I didn’t always know he was there and he has rescued me time and again. He has spoke to me through others, through his word and through that still small voice. He has been my friend through it all. Even when I couldn’t see it. Even when I pulled away, or screwed up, he waited patiently for me to come around.
A few years ago I went through biblical counselor training and certification. It was a time of great healing and break through in my life. God showed me how to apply his word, that I had been learning my whole life, in real ways that changed me. I desired to pray more effectively, his will and not my own. I began to understand and see with Christ-like eyes and love with God-love and desire more understanding of his word.
During that time I met with someone in a class I attended who was gifted in the ability to prophetically speak to others. She had a basic knowledge of me and my goals and passions from an information sheet that I filled out. She had spent time praying for me prior to our meeting. As I walked behind her into the room where we met my heel broke off my shoe, I picked it up and limped behind her one heel on, one off. As we began to discuss my information sheet so she could gain more understanding of my Christian walk and goals, she shared two things with me that day that God showed her during her prayer time. First, she said she saw me holding a sword but struggling to wield it. She talked about what a sword could mean, not only a weapon but also the word of God. She told me that God wanted me to understand that he created me to be just who I am with all the passion, and boldness, and outspokenness and opinions and strength. But difficulties in relationships over time had made me believe that those qualities were bad. God wanted me to know that they weren’t bad, but just as you have to learn to properly wield a sword or you could hurt others and cause more damage than good. I would have to trust God to show me how to use the qualities he created in me for his purposes and for his good. This made a lot of sense and made me feel like it was ok to be me.
This image of me wielding a sword with God as my teacher and guide gave me courage and confidence that God created me to be exactly who I am and that I’m not the labels that have been placed on me but that I have a purpose and God was going to walk me through that purpose. It also made me aware of the damage I could do and had done throughout my life when carelessly swinging my sword. This gave me a desire to wield it within his will and not my own any longer.
Then she said the second thing she saw was a little more confusing. She asked if I had anything wrong with my leg or hip. She said she could see me walking with a limp and didn’t know what that meant. Did it mean anything to me? Immediately, my mind went back to my broken heel as I walked in this little room which caused me to limp in. She asked if that had any special meaning or if any scriptures were called to mind that had to do with limping. Immediately, I knew it was Jacob. So we talked about Jacobs limp. He wrestled all night with an angel of God who couldn’t overpower him so the angel touched the socket of his hip and wrenched his hip, the angel then asked to be let go and Jacob refused to let go until the angel blessed him. So the angel gave him the name Israel there and told him because he has wrestled with God and humans and overcome.
Jacob then said he had seen God face to face and his life was spared and from that time he walked with a limp.
So what did I take from that message? I am an overcomer! I have wrestled with God and man and I have overcome!
I have wrestled throughout my life with friendships, family, in marriage, with my kids, with my bosses and co-workers, with trauma, with cancer, with even God. Through it all I have overcome, and I have come out stronger, forged in the fire, wielding a sword for the Lord now instead of myself and it’s ok that I have a limp! It’s ok that I’m flawed and sometimes still get it wrong, because I am a work in progress, as we all are.
The limp also represents Jacobs unwillingness to let go until the Lord blessed him. I will cling to my Jesus all my days, I will not let go. My eyes will be stayed on the Lord and not the problems in front of me.
Recently, I have been under attack. The devil has tried hard to remind me of who I was before my refining. He has tried hard to make me feel everything I once felt about myself. I won’t accept those labels. My identity is in the Lord. I won’t look back. I will continue to look forward, leaving what is behind and wielding my sword in humility, honor, mercy, peace and love. God will have the last word in my life. I may walk with a limp but I do so in Jesus name.
There is hope beyond this. God, may my whole life bring you honor and glory forever!