Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Ruin and Restoration

As I am planning, writing, organizing, and preparing for this new beginning of Real Gurl Life, I am positively, absolutely, stunned.

It feels like yesterday that I thought the world, my world, was going to end. I would watch others around me, living life as normal, going about their daily business, and I couldn't understand why they did not feel the same fear and anxiety as I did. Why weren't they bewildered and riddled with fear and screaming for their lives? I felt it was obvious that I was doing those things and yet no one looked my way or paid attention. They couldn't see it because it was all being held on the inside.

I was sure I was going to die. I was ruined. Life as I knew it was over. Family broken with thousands of miles between us. Reputation ruined. Heart covered in scars that were bleeding profusely. Crying and sobbing into a wet pillow at night and wondering what was the point of life. Walking around feeling like I was carrying the most gigantic rock in the whole, wide, world on my back. Why am I here? Why doesn't God just take me? I am not good for anything anymore.

And then.....

One breath at a time. Then one day at a time. Little words of encouragement took root. I held on. Then weeks turned into months. I learned from a person that I highly respected that "everyone has stuff." Then a couple of years went by and I began a friendship group. In looking for a place to meet, my church asked me if this was a ministry, to which I adamantly denied. It was just a group. I met the community life director who took one look at me and asked if she could mentor me. I guess she saw all of the pain that I thought I had hidden over the past few years. The pain that most everyone else missed. She put me in a life-change group with two other women and for several months we worked through our individual messes....together.

When this life-group course ended, I had never known myself as well as I had come to that day. I was asked to and began facilitating the same life-change group with other women. I was afraid but excited to try it. I actually had three groups going each week and I was in my element. I had never felt so like"myself" as I did sharing life with these ladies, bearing our souls and sins, and coming out better than we would have on our own. It was nothing short of miraculous. I felt like I had found my calling.

And so, that's why I am here. Because this is my passion. I feel compelled to reach out to other women who may need what I have to offer. Some may only need a slice and others may need the whole pie, but together we are better. I put compelled in bold because it is such a strong pull that I simply cannot ignore.

I heard someone say once: "To find your passion in life, it is not what you run toward; it is what you cannot run from."

And that's where I am today.

Oh, to be sure, I am not perfect. I have not ascertained any level of sainthood and I am even short a few credit on my two-year degree. But I have seen Ruin with my own eyes. I have wanted to die and leave this place because that really seemed like the logical choice at the time. But my journey, which began in December 2004, has brought me to restoration and a passion to help others. It's the only thing that brings a light into my eyes, joy into my heart, and a love for myself and others like I have never known.

I have been asked by some, since I am just celebrating my tenth year, "will my journey take that long? Oh gosh, I don't think I can make it."  Suffice it to say that everyone's journey is their own, and so I cannot determine how long it will take to feel better, to see progress, to get "there." The truth is, your entire life is the journey. I don't think it is ever over until we take our last breath. Each must make their own peace with God.

Again, I have not attained any high level of superiority, nor do I want to.  I stay away from any labels of achievement. I don't feel worthy. I'm just a Real Gurl who is doing some real work that is challenging, crushing, but oh, so freeing. And just so you know, I do not believe in perfection. It simply does not exist.

I can say with absolute assurance that God is restoring me and has pulled me out of the ruination that I brought upon myself. From Ruin to Restoration.

As writer Elizabeth Gilbert says, "Ruin is a gift. Ruin is the road to transformation." I find this to be true and comforting.

Let's restore and transform....together!