To the girl who is hurting and confused,
You are not alone. I know that seems like a simplistic platitude, but I want you to truly know it, to feel it deep within your soul. You are not alone. Our hurts may be different, our confusion might come from different places, and the dark path we are standing on might be hundreds of miles away...but the feelings are very much the same.
I spent days and months, even a year, wondering if God was listening to my cries, or if He would ever speak to me again. Asking myself if I made it up - all those times I heard from Him before - or if I was crazy to believe in someone who no longer seemed to believe in me. Prayer seemed futile. I felt like a fake, and I was scared to admit it. It seemed like saying those words out loud would make it true; it would be a declaration from which I could never return.
I have prayed like that father, "I believe. Help my unbelief." Not knowing what else to say, but hoping so much I had enough faith left to make it work.
The image of the perfect Christian - she who never doubts, he whose prayers are always answered with a great miracle, they who always seem to be blessed beyond measure - that image is never the whole story. God is not magic, not someone you can control or bring into your own timing, and there is no formula to follow.
We are all struggling. When you have the courage to be honest about your struggles, you will find others walking that same path with you. It took a long time to feel my faith strengthen and grow, but God did not leave me alone in my pain. I still struggle, and I still have to reach out to those fellow travelers for help, but I know that my prayers are heard by a real and loving God.
If you don't have the words today, or you are scared to say them, allow yourself to be still and rest. I will sit beside the path with you, and watch. I will pray. And more than that, Jesus will. The Holy Spirit will. We will intercede for you in those dark days when you feel so alone.
There will be very few moments of perfection, and most of them will not come as the result of planning or anything you can control. That does not seem very encouraging, but it is honest. I have learned you can get through anything in this life if you are honest about it.
You are not your past - not the things that have been done to you, or the things you have done. You deserve to be seen without those filters. I can't promise that many people will take the time to look past them, but there will be some who do. Those people are special. Open up to them, allow them to see your heart, and allow yourself to see theirs in return. Jesus looks at you without those filters.
You will screw up. But those screw ups do not define you. Neither do the mistakes, bad choices, hurt feelings, pain, confusion, or loss. You are more than those things. Your story has not ended.
You have the capacity to show yourself great love and mercy, or to hurt yourself more than anyone else ever could. I hope that you learn how to show yourself the love you so richly deserve. Because you do deserve love, and you will not be able to fully receive it from someone else until you can receive it from yourself.
Healing can be instantaneous, but it can also be a process. The darker the night gets, the more it makes sense to carry the pain. It seems right to hold it close, as if it will buffer us against more hurt. But it doesn't work like that. The tighter you hold that pain, the deeper it will burrow into your heart.
Allow yourself to enter into the healing process. It takes work. It can hurt just as much, if not more, than the original wound. But once you embrace healing, once you allow yourself to walk that path, you will be blessed. Every breath is a blessing. Every second is a gift. Hope is real.
You are loved with a perfect love. Jesus knows every part of your heart - the hurts, the dreams, the fears. There is nothing you can say that will scare Him away, or make Him leave you. He longs to be close to you.
He loves you as you are, not as you "should" be, or as you want to be. You have done, and can do, nothing to deserve that love. Please don't put the untenable pressure on yourself of trying to deserve it. He will not turn you away or reject you. God loves you as you are right now.
You are special. It is not your family, your birthplace, your grades, your beauty, your achievements, or even your actions that make you special.
You are special because of your heart - your soul. The heart that maybe you don't feel safe showing to the world yet, the heart that has been broken and hurt more times than you can count, the heart that is so tired, the heart that doesn't know if it wants to keep beating, the heart that longs for more than it has and more than it has been given - that heart is the very core of who you are, and it is special.
You have a sparkle, grace, strength and creativity deep within you. They might lie hidden, and feel far from reach, but they are still there.
You have the ability to hope and dream. You are stronger than you know. You are amazing.
God does have a plan for your life. This plan is perfect for you. It might not look perfect to anyone else. It probably does not make sense to many people, and maybe not even to you right now. But that is the mystery of God. His perfection, His plans, His purpose are not ours.
Block out all the well-meaning voices telling you what you should do; allow yourself to step firmly into this seemingly crazy purpose, and you will find more perfection than you have ever known.
I will be here. Cheering you on. Praying for you. Believing on the days you can't believe. I will stand watch with you. More importantly, Jesus is here, standing with you. You are not alone.