As a very young girl my struggle with self-esteem began. My parents separated when I was very young and at times my sister and I were but mere pawns in a game of “who could hurt who more” between them. It wasn’t long after that I was shifted back and forth between the foster care system and my home before being permanently placed.
My understanding of love was warped. I didn’t know exactly what it meant to be loved. To be really loved. I wasn’t raised being told that I was good or that I was even worthy of it. Worthy of anything for that matter. In fact most times I was told the total opposite. At the age of thirteen I stood in a brightly lighted office building while my mom spoke the words “take her. I cant do this anymore.”
That summer I was placed for good and that fall I started grade eight. I struggled with forming relationships, I struggled with trust. I wanted so desperately to feel like I was a part of the crowd. To be worthy of being the same as everyone else, but as we all know Middle and High School can be some of the most cruelest of places to be.
I lived in a Foster Home, my bottom was not covered by jeans with the Silver label on the pocket, and my body circumference was a lot larger than I would have liked. My feet were resting in <insert gasp now> no name Crocs because I couldn’t afford to have the real ones. ( They were all the craze during that time okay?) All that seems like silliness now, but to the fourteen year old broken and “unworthy” me it was just another sign that because of who I was and the circumstances I was in, that I would never be as good as everyone else.
At the age of sixteen, my bigger than I would like body circumference became even larger as I now walked the hallways of my school not just “croc-less” but pregnant.
At the young age of seventeen I birthed a tiny eight pound, ten fingered, chubby cheeked miracle and I was absolutely terrified. I will never forget the days, and months, and even years that followed, where my own feelings of “unworthiness” took away from allowing my self to see Gods greatness for the very thing that it was.
See I sat in the very church seats I still sit in each Sunday today and asked God why in the world he would give her to me. A child myself, unable to love her the way she needed. That she deserved more than a high school student Mom, and an Sobeys working Dad. That more than anything I didn’t want her to become me.
Then I truly met God.
Not in one particular big bang of a moment.
But in the ordinary moments when he chooses to reveal extraordinary blessings.
A God who began to ask me just why I was unworthy of love, of happiness, and of being someone other than a statistic I had labelled myself of.
My eight pound, ten fingered, chubby cheeked miracle is now almost twelve years old. She is a year and half away from the very age I stood in the lighted office building and allowed my mothers issues and illnesses to define my own worth. Its been an age I’ve wondered that if I was gone tomorrow, that if the love my own daughter knows from me was suddenly stripped away…. Would she continue to know the most important love of all?
That although my entire identity as a mother has been to express my love and my children’s worthiness to me… have I done enough to allow them out of my mother knows best bubble to see His?
I continued on to have three other precious girls after her. Then two sweet boys after that.
My biggest and greatest prayer for them is not that I get everything right but that I am able to prepare them for when I disappoint them, that I am able to continue to raise them up and lead them to the very One who won’t.
I want them to not only know they are loved by her father and I, but by a God so much bigger than anything they could imagine.
I want them to know that their worth is far greater than a label on a clothing or a wink from a prepubescent teenage boy.
I want them to know that they live in a world where they will be judged by the way they look, by the partners they choose, by the people they help, by the people they don’t, by the way the speak, by the way they live, by their parenting, by the cleanliness of their homes, by their newest car, by whether they have the highest paying job. I want them to know those other opinions aren’t the ones that matter.
I want them to know there will be times when society will tell them they should when they shouldn’t and not to when they should.
I want them to know they will mess up sometimes. Most likely over and over again.
I want them to not strive to be anyone but their amazingly beautiful sometimes-messy selves.
Because the truth is whether sixteen or twenty eight we are all a hot mess loved by an amazing self-less God.
….and so will they be too.
Because of that God….. in the here and now, and long after I am gone they will be forever be loved.
They will never be alone.
They will be given opportunities to rise up above struggles.
They will be welcomed back with opened arms when they are led astray.
I want them to know that above all, that although this world is extremely warped…. Gods love for them isn’t anything but crystal clear.
Because it is Him that shows us extraordinary worthiness in our seemingly ordinary lives.
…….and I want ever so desperately for them to know just that.