I have not always lived the life I have now. The best way for me to explain it is that I have been fortunate enough to live two lives. It may seem odd to some people for me to have gratitude for the first life I lived, but that life gave me my unwavering belief in God. It was my cheat sheet.
The life I had before, very literally, almost killed me. It was full of close calls and nightmares. It destroyed my relationships and wreaked havoc on my heart. It put me in scary places with very scary people. When it was time for me to begin my new life, I had but one request. I just wanted my soul back.
I had been running so long, I felt nothing. I had been pretending to be whoever got me my way that I had lost all knowledge of who I really was. I had seen and done so many awful things that I was worn down and scarred. My scars are my stories I will never take off. They are my reminders of my first life. I can cover my scars with tattoos or clothes or even makeup, but they will always be there.
In my new life I have been blessed BIG TIME. I mean, to the point it perplexes some people how much change has actually happened over the years and how much God has given me. In a lot of ways it’s just not fair. Mercy and grace never are. They are the biggest gifts and give us enough gratitude to keep moving and keep working.
I have been blessed enough to give back. My first life gave me a calling in my second life. I have been so grateful that my partner and my children will never know the first life version of me, but they respect and have consideration for people walking similar paths. It’s easy just to write people off, but there is hope for everyone. EVERYONE.
When the youngest was barely two, I was tucking him in one night. We finished our book, our prayers, and our “Ryder baby songs”. I reached for the blanket and pulled it over his shoulders. He put his fingers over a scar on my arm.
“Mommy has a boo boo?” He said with the most sincere concern.
“No, baby. It doesn’t hurt anymore.” I whispered with a smile.
I left that room a little shaken. It had never dawned on me that my son may notice or one day have questions. He wasn’t even a thought, nevertheless, existent back in the days of getting those boo boos. It never occurred to me that I had healed some either. I was just moving and working.
I had been so busy working on my heart over the years that I hadn’t seen the biggest blessing yet. My scars, my boo boos, didn’t hurt anymore. They were just accessories at this point. I rarely even looked at them.
There had been healing in the unhealable. I was floored. I remembered crying about those scars, obsessing over a lifetime of wearing those hideous things. They were my favorite preoccupation in the beginning. God had healed them, just as I had begged.
Bless the LORD, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits:
Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases,
Who redeems your life from destruction,
Who crowns you with loving kindness and tender mercies,
Who satisfies your mouth with good things,
So that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
When people would tell me early on in my new life that I would be brand new in Christ Jesus, I would laugh. It sounded like a bunch of bolagna. I just couldn’t see it yet. I am telling you now without a shadow of doubt, with absolute certainty, that if I can be made brand new, ANYONE can. Those boo boos don’t have to hurt anymore.