Today’s Text: Joshua 1:8-9
8 Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful.
9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.
This is the story of a girl.
She was always the good girl, always the girl everyone expected her to be. She followed the rules because she was afraid to disappoint, afraid to be less than. But, oh how her soul ached. Those expectations grew heavier and heavier until she found it hard to keep balanced, to keep from tumbling over.
She was raised in a good home where God was on the lips, but she never felt Him in her heart. Her parents loved her dearly in a way that only they could, but she never felt secure. She was surrounded by a sea of people, but she felt lonely, overlooked, unwanted, discarded, and suffocated. She felt taken advantage of by people she trusted, and she didn’t know where to turn. She yelled for help, but no sound left her mouth.
She fell asleep at night to the words “failure is always the best way to learn…” playing through the speakers on her dresser. She felt like she was withering away on the inside, and she didn’t know how to grow. The world saw her as smart, witty, beautiful–but she felt like an impostor. What would they say when they finally saw her for what she was–unwanted, lackluster, vacant?
She left her small town for new opportunities and a fresh start. She wanted to reinvent herself, to finally be the person she was always meant to be. But she couldn’t. She was surrounded by people who already knew her from before. If she changed in front of them, they would see her for the fraud she was all along. She was trapped, and that light at the end of that infamous tunnel was growing dimmer and dimmer by the minute.
This is the story of a girl and a boy.
She fell in love with a boy. The boy was smart, and witty, and handsome. He made her feel alive for the first time in her life. Her world started and ended with him. She wanted to keep him to herself because she knew when the world found him, it would take him away from her.
They had their ups and downs, but she was willing to fight. The rest of the world kept pushing them apart, but she kept finding her way back to him. He was the only one who could see her for who she really was. He made her a better person. He made her feel free.
The boy broke her heart. The world found a way to pull them in separate directions, and when she found her way back to their spot, the place where they always came back to one another, he wasn’t there. She waited, and she hoped. He never came. She felt like she would never be whole again.
This is the story of a girl who was lost.
She was broken. The pieces were so many that she knew she would never be able to put them back together. She felt hopeless, and wondered if she would always hurt like this. She played the part of joyful and perfect so the world would leave her alone. After all, It was a part that had been written specifically for her.
When she hit her lowest point, she went back to their spot still hoping beyond hope that he would be there. But he wasn’t there, and he was never going to be there. She turned around and started the journey back to her home through the darkness.
She got lost. She panicked, and she broke down in tears. She cried out for help and for comfort. She shared her heart with the darkness. She shared her broken places with the darkness. For the first time, she felt the words leave her mouth. From the shadows, she felt someone reach out and grab her hand. She wasn’t afraid. Her lips recognized this stranger.
His arms wrapped around her and He carried her out of that dark place.
This is the story of a girl and God.
As He carried her, she didn’t have to see His face to know that this was God. This was the God of the old testament and the new testament. This was the God she learned about in Sunday school classes. This was the God of Moses, of Noah, of Samuel, of David, of Ruth, of Jonah, of Daniel, of Paul. This was the God her parents so loved with their hearts. This was the God of hope and second chances. This was the great physician, the healer, the one who came to save.
The girl got lost in Him. She learned from Him, and she began to grow in Him. She knew she was still broken, but He showed her just how beautiful broken could be. She learned to be still and meditate on His Word, listening for His voice as He shared Himself with her–after all, He was the Word (John 1:1). Mediating on His Word made her feel like she was wrapped in his love-filled arms. She wanted nothing more than to please Him. She sat at the teacher’s feet and tried to soak in all of His lessons. She tried to follow all of the rules, and He helped her each time she stumbled. He took away all the things that made her feel less than before, and He taught her about trust and He taught her about real love.
The boy eventually faded to a flutter of a memory that she would bump into from time to time, but she didn’t hurt anymore. She had learned to stand on her own feet. The boy didn’t make her feel alive anymore because her teacher had opened her eyes to the life that had always been inside of her. The boy didn’t make her feel free anymore. God had shown her true freedom in His love.
She was free, and she was alive, she was strong, and she was loved. She learned to stand on her own with Him always by her side for those days when she need reassurance. Her wounds were healing. The dissonance between who the world saw in her and who she saw in the mirror disappeared when Jesus came into her heart. She realized that she didn’t need to reinvent herself because she was fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14), and He never makes mistakes. She knew she was smart, witty, and beautiful. She smiled, and she laughed, and she sparkled. She was exactly the person she was supposed to be, and she learned to love that person more fiercely with each passing day.
This is the story of a girl who’s going to be just fine because of a boy who broke her heart and her Beloved who found her when she was lost, stood beside her, loved her, helped her to use her voice, and taught her to be vulnerable and find the beauty in all of her broken places.
This post was written as an exercise for #SheReadsTruth, an online community of women spending time together each day in the Word. During the season of Lent, the community is being challenged to spend time researching and reflecting on specific text that will culminate weekly with a devotional shared with the entire community to supplement the Lenten devotionals prepared by the #SheReadsTruth team. Come join us!