I LOVE, L-O-V-E my Butterflies in the Spirit. My prayer group. Or, better yet a prayer group that I am a part of. These women are real. Transparent. Honest and yet hilarious. They take prayer seriously. We take our relationship with the Father seriously. Individually and collectively. We take worship seriously. We take life seriously. We talk about the cards that life has dealt to us and Scriptures to slay them with. These ladies are not the typical cardigan and pearls church ladies. Our conversations will actually make you clutch your oyster rose colored pearls. And that’s the way I like it…… uh-huh, uh-huh. It is an honor to do life with these women. We meet every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 6:15am promptly. No fluff, no fold. And this week was no exception. Only one day this past week hit a little harder and deeper than usual. This past Monday caused me to pause, just a little. And that’s a good thing.
The Monday call started by our fearless leader Tammie talking about us loving ourselves as God loves us. I have to confess that there are moments that I do not care to count that this realization flat lines across my heart. It is hard for me to believe much more accept, that God loves me. It is hard for me to wrap my mind around the depth of God’s love for me. This is not just a struggle. This is a war within me. Before I could allow it formulate, Rosa spoke up and said, “You cannot love who you are, and hate the experiences that made you.” Let’s just say, the crowd cheered, and something in me broke. Those words have stuck with me all week. So much so, I had to write it out of me. And here we are. Here I am confessing to you and the world that I have hated experiences that have made me.
Not every experience have I hated, just the ones that seem to damn near rip me apart from the inside out. Just the experiences that have caused a shift in me. Just the experiences that have noticeably altered my personality. In my responses to others. The pause that I have when allowing someone new in my life. Those are the experiences that made me. Those are the involvements that are also making me, once I accept them……. one by one. The rape at 16, accept. The sum total of my relationship with my mother, accept. Watching my mother and her husband’s marital relationship and declaring that I did not want that, accept. Telling God at 17, that if this is marriage then I don’t want that, accept. The choices I made to ensure that I did not get that relationship or open myself to better, accept. The tears of my choices, accept. My brokenness, accept. My selfishness, accept. My introversion, accept. My unhealthy relationship with myself, accept. The body dysmorphia, accept. The relationships that I settled for, accept. Hitting the reset button, because my God desired different for me, accept. Sitting back, and allowing him to do things HIS way, ACCEPT.
Here is the thing that I have learned. It’s not just acceptance of those things, because those things did happen. To deny that anything happen, is to deny reality. And the reality is that, acceptance is not enough. The truth of the matter is that it takes acceptance and forgiveness. Forgiving the process. For giving the choices. Forgiving yourself for making the choices. Forgiving others that participated. Forgiving others that took your choices. Forgive. Forgive. Forgive. Forgive so that all of you could love all of you. Here’s how my list now reads,
The rape at 16, forgiven.
The sum total of my relationship with my mother, forgiven.
Watching my mother and her husband’s marital relationship and declaring that I did not want that, forgiven.
Telling God at 17, that if this is marriage then I don’t want that, forgiven.
The choices I made to ensure that I did not get that relationship or open myself to better, forgiven.
The tears of my choices, forgiven.
My brokenness, forgiven.
My selfishness, forgiven.
My introversion holding me back, forgiven.
My unhealthy relationship with myself, forgiven.
The body dysmorphia, forgiven.
The relationships that I settled for, forgiven.
Accept all that happened, so that you can forgive all that happened. Because darling, the truth of the matter is, before you accept anything. Before you forgive anything. God already loves all of you. ALL of YOU. He loves your smart mouth. He loves your sharp edges. He loves your curves. He loves your smile. AND he loves your tears. He loves the you that have made you, and the you that you are becoming. He loves every single part of you. GOD loves ALL of you.