“Define yourself radically as one beloved by God. This is the true self. Every other identity is illusion.” Brennan Manning

Monday, June 23, 2014

Not Forgotten

Everyone has a voice - a story to tell - full of depth, heartache, joy, wisdom, and beauty.  I have allowed fear and shame to tell me that I am not good enough and not worth listening to - that my perspective doesn’t count, but I am so thankful that my Jesus bought me with His very life and declared over me:




When I feel shut down, I have to remember whose opinion really counts.  Will I let people - even family - who want me to be a certain way define me?  Or will I reserve that place for the One who made me and loves the way I am already?   

Our stories carry the handprints of our Maker.  When we own our story and offer the unpolished, honest version to others, we make room for God to be seen.  

We don’t deny the painful past or the ugly mistakes, but we declare that there is hope for new beginnings and fresh starts.  God works with the raw materials of our lives to create beauty.  As we share our true selves with one another, our hearts are knitted together and mend.

When I first began to share my story with a couple of friends, I would sink into a deep pit of shame - even wanting to just die.  I had covered up so much hurt and anger, sorrow and disappointment that opening my heart to feel again was completely overwhelming.  I had never admitted that anyone hurt me or that I had any needs.  I believed that no one wanted the flawed, broken parts of me.

Shame drove me to work harder, smile often, and make other people look good.  This made me fake, denying my true self, and my story.

But a miracle happens when we allow someone to see us - flaws and all - and love us as we are.  A little bond forms called Trust.  As we open our hearts and receive Love, more bonds and bridges form, and we become REAL - willing to admit our mistakes, hurts, regrets, and joys without our worth attached.  We begin to live loved.  There is so much healing here - in relationship - where God abides.

True friends 'like' us - struggles and all, and see Beauty.

I now give thanks that my life fell apart, leaving me unable to perform - just shattered.  I didn't know who I was - just that I hurt and I wanted to be made whole.  This has been a long, hard process of being honest with God, myself, and friends that have earned the right to hear.

One day when I was feeling like 'too much' - that this journey to wholeness was taking way too long, my friend reassured me, "Paula, you don't ever need to apologize for the contents of messages to me - or the quantity, either.  Healing and trusting and being redeemed are unique for everyone who seeks to be made whole.  I'm grateful you're willing to deal with what you know is going to be uncomfortable stuff. It shows much courage - and also that you refuse to let junk define you.  Grace and peace, hope and encouragement to you... " and another day, "I'll listen anytime, Paula.  There's a lot inside of you that just needs to be heard for once."  

I really can't explain how much those words meant to me, but I know I couldn’t stop crying and read them over and over again.  They touched deep - and brought healing.  To me, they meant that I am worth listening to, that my life IS valuable and God doesn't make junk!  

The grace I have experienced through sharing my life with trusted friends continues to bring healing to my broken heart.  I'm thankful for friends that are in the arena with me and stand by my side no matter what.  I didn’t learn God’s love from a sermon, but from people who came and washed my feet.    


  1. Paula,
    Looks like my comment went into the atmosphere....Truly happy you've experienced God's unconditional love from friends who have accepted and listened to you...so important as part of our healing....glad we met at Laity Lodge.


    1. Thank you, Dolly. You just made me smile - big! :) Thank you for reading!

  2. Oh, Paula! We all long to be heard and accepted; to know we are treasured and adored -- as. we. are. When God gives us real live people to give us this desire of our heart, it's an overwhelming gift.

    {hugs} and much love, sweet sister-friend . . .

    1. Amy, you definitely are one of those overwhelming gifts to me! I love how we totally 'get' each other! Walking beside you gives me courage and joy! ((HUGS)) back sweet sister-friend (love that!)

  3. Beautiful truth Paula. It is so scary to share the broken parts of our hearts, of our stories, and it is such a beautiful work of grace when we are met with love when we share. Thank you for what you've shared with me, it is an honor and a privilege to share the broken places. One of these days I'll gather the courage to share too.

    1. Oh Natalie, you truly bless me! I'd love to hear your heart anytime! You are a treasure, friend! I'll stand in the arena with you! Thank you for standing with me!

  4. I love to see God's healing touch in your life, Paula. And though you're not perfect (none of us are), making your wounds available to others makes you a healer, too. Makes you a conduit of His love. I have felt that in our friendship and words fail me to describe how grateful I am.

    Thanks, dear one, for linking with us at Unforced Rhythms. You are always welcome there.

    1. Big smile here, Kelli! Your friendship has ministered grace, love, and healing to me - every day. Thank you for making your life available to me. Also, it's so freeing not to have to try to be perfect, isn't it? I mean, we are where we are by the grace of God and He will lead us onward in His time. We don't have to strive, we can rest and trust that God is at work in us! I love you so much, dear friend!

  5. Paula,

    Thank you for your transparency! It is a gift! I'm so thankful for God's restoration and that He doesn't leave us as He found us, dead in our sin. He truly does make beauty from ashes. I found you through the Chronicles of Grace link-up and would love to have you visit me at faithalongtheway.com Many blessings to you!