This blog was originally published on the Fellowship Women’s Blog site, http://womeninministry.tumblr.com. I wanted to repost it here.
Sitting in my counseling office, years of life written on her face. Weary. Broken. Torn. The light gone from her eyes, dark, desperate, defeated. Tears spilling down her cheeks, screaming of the emptiness, feeling so alone.
Years of life and circumstance each etching a mark. As I listened to her story unfold, subtle lies of “I’m not enough…not pretty enough, not skinny enough, not successful enough, not smart enough…NOT. ENOUGH” seemed to seep out like a slow leak.
Driven to prove she was enough, she threw herself into success, relationships, a career, grasping anything and everything she thought would give her significance and worth. Every broken relationship left her feeling lost, empty, rejected. In her pain, she threw herself passionately into her career, forging her way up the ladder. Success after success, yet even still, she couldn’t shake the subtle drip. She was not enough.
She lost herself in endless activity, relationships and eventually a family of her own. Nothing could fill the void. When her own success wasn’t enough, maybe her husband and children would be. Year after year she searched for meaning and value, something that would tell her she mattered; she was enough. The deep pain and longing threw her deeper and deeper into endless activities and constant busyness. On the outside, she had it all together, while on the inside she was wasting away.
It takes a lot of energy to keep up appearances. The slow, subtle leak eventually left her dry, empty. Wounds of the past guarded intently had been left unhealed. Hurt, pain and betrayals created the need for walls; each experience added its own layer of bricks. Over the years the walls became fortified for her own protection. She could not risk being hurt again. So she sat before me isolated and alone. Her heart closed off from the very things she needed the most. She didn’t even know the walls were there, created for her own survival. They became her prison. Behind the walls, she had forgotten who she was; the woman God created her to be. The life she was designed to live.
As I sat looking into her eyes, I was overcome with God’s deep love for her, calling her out, breaking the chains, opening the prison. He was inviting her on a journey to experience His freedom and healing, beauty for ashes. He was offering her life, the fullness of all He designed for her.
Reflect and Respond:
In what ways do you relate to the experience of this woman?
How have you tried to protect or comfort yourself?
Read Isaiah 61:1-4
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.
They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations.
Ask God to show you any wounds He wants to heal. Where is He inviting you to experience His freedom, comfort and protection? Ask Him to show you.
Tune into His voice. Allow Him to speak to you.
Note: This story is not based on a specific case, rather common themes I encounter in counseling and ministering to women.