I logged into MySpace. Yes, you heard me — MySpace. The boredom of my day had come to a head, and my brain traveled to a far away land where Top 8’s determined friendships and news feeds were rather primitive. After countless failed attempts to regain access, I finally remembered my username and password combination of which I will spare you the identity for the sake of my dignity… and your pity.
I surfed the site that held moments of what seemed an entirely separate lifetime. Besides the embarrassing prom pictures, outfit choices, and many other pleasant memories...I stumbled upon a photo of my-17-year-old-self in a bikini. Gulp. My eyes popped out of my head, and I mourned the flat belly and rail thin arms that I had forgotten were once mine. I immediately felt to myself that’s it… I was a high school peaker! Sadness stared me down as I looked at the current state of my not-so-flat belly doubling as my wrist rest for a smart phone. Don’t act like you haven’t done it!
For the evening I wanted my old body back. I wanted to be thin, happy, and cute in a bikini this summer! But as I type this to you, I see the picture through a different lens… and I don’t want to be her anymore. Don’t get me wrong, I love to be a magical ten pounds lighter, but healthier choices can shift me there. The rail thin arms and caving in tummy were not a result of healthy choices or a naturally speedy metabolism. And though I might have been thin and cute in a bikini, I was most definitely not happy. The ribs poking through my chest were really the results of the pain pushing out of my heart. I was harboring hurt within myself. Those bulging out bones remind me of what was killing me inside.
You see, I was living in a place of complete brokenness, and my control for the chaos in my life was eating little to none most days. Other days, I would cram and binge all the food I could find. My heart was hungry, and my soul was out of balance.
Flash forward to this morning. We sang “How He Loves” at church. The nearly decade-old song transported me to that far away MySpace period, when I first read those words on a projector screen at a youth group I rarely frequented. “He is jealous for me, loves like a hurricane I am a tree, bending beneath the weight of His love and mercy.” Tears streamed my face this morning as my knees hit the ground, and I remembered the love that spoke to me and saved me from myself at seventeen. That melody will stay in my heart forever.
I traded my brokenness, my boniness, my betrayed barren heart for abundance. God gave me beauty for the ashes my life knew as a young girl. The Lord sought me out, sang His song over me, and crowned me as His princess.
Not for a moment do I want to glorify a life that was killing me. The inside was as wasted as the outside, but God made me new! The little extra meat on my bones can serve as a reminder to me that there is a God who saw me and sought me. He left the 99 to come for me. He healed me and showed me a better way- THE Way.
He comes for you, too sweetie. We don’t have to worry that we reached our highest value in our teens and early twenties because the best is yet to come with Jesus! God is making all things new- me and you both. Let us not desire the broken pasts God defeated death to save us from! There is a New Way now! We are children of God, and better is one day in His courts than thousands in the elsewhere that we have each found ourselves.
My heart is still hungry, but it’s different now. I’m not starved but seeking. I’ve tasted and seen that the Lord is so, so good, and my heart hungers for more of His Truth, His goodness, and His righteousness. Will you see for yourself? Let us bring our hunger and hurt before the Lord and look ahead, knowing there is hope and healing awaiting us. He will transform them into something way more beautiful that any itty-bitty bikini.
Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? – Luke 15:4
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. – Matthew 5:6
Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. – Psalm 34:8