This was originally a blog post I wrote after an intense encounter with God in April 2016. Then my friend Voice challenged me to write it into spoken word format. I posted the video on IG yesterday from when I shared it the first time publicly at Voice’s birthday celebration in 2016. After listening to it again, I realize that it cut off the end, which wraps it up. Yes, it’s a LONG one. If you’re down for some healing and entering into my journey, join me. This is my testimony, or at least a part of it.
The full poem, shown below, is also published within When I Stopped Remembering Tomorrow. The book is a collection of poetry along with prose sharing my reflections on how falling in love with someone who didn’t love me caused me to meet the God I thought I knew all along, and that helped me to fall in love with the woman I am and the one I am becoming. Buy it today if you have a $7.99 (Kindle) or 11.99 (paperback) to spare.
No masks tonight.
Just me… raw and unadulterated.
I need to let you see me so we can both be set free.
I’ve been running from myself for so long that my legs are tired. My body is winded. I want to stop…I have wanted to stop many times. But I feared being rejected. I feared rejection despite the acceptance that was all around me.
It’s amazing how one experience can change a person. How one relationship can leave such an impression.
For more than half my life all I knew was abuse.
But I left that behind.
All of it. Behind me. No looking back.
And yet the scars still haunt me. The wounds still ooze and open wide. And I am still broken and battered, lying on the floor, crying out to my God to save me and heal my soul.
But He has. Already. It’s done.
“Pick up your mat and walk.” He said that years ago.
But I didn’t listen. I kept running.
Running while lying on a mat. How does one run to stand still? How does one change her location so often yet remain in the SAME PLACE.
I am so tired of running. Tired. Breathless. I want to rest.
I want to be ME.
Who is she? Who am I? Lord, I cry out to you and ask you – WHO AM I?
And tonight He came… for the hundredth time yet for the first time. Confirming what others have said to me. Confirming what I already know in my heart and mind but don’t want to admit because to admit it means I must act upon it and acting upon it means I must …. become it… and becoming it means being it…and beings it is where I become a hypocrite because I don’t know how to be…
To be what I am.
I am a writer.
I bleed words.
I speak life into people.
I let them know I see them.
I let them know I hear them.
I let them know I feel them.
We often hear it said that we can’t love others until we love ourselves but I call BS on that one. I call it for the lie that it is because I haven’t loved myself for years. I have loathed myself. I have hated that I allowed pounds to cover up my being because I wanted someone to see me, to TRULY SEE ME. To look beyond the beauty and the laughter and the way I make them feel and to SEE ME. To see my heart. To bleed words with me.
To bleed words…
To speak with me.
To love me through this gift.
To look at me and see who I am.
I have loathed this girl who threw it all away because she was afraid of success. The girl who had it all and gave it up. Because having it all meant I had to be and being just hurt. And hurting… well it sucked.
And so I threw it all away.
All of it.
Sold my stuff.
Gave up my life.
And spent a year running. Yet even at that I failed because in my running I helped others. I ministered to others. I gave to others what I did not have within myself to give to me. And you know what happened?
God brought people into my life to pour into me.
To take my nothingness and speak life into me. To bleed with me. To bleed words with me. To bleed this gift with me.
And I wrote.
I have written.
I bled onto the paper and books were brought forth and people’s stories were told and hearts were healed and people met God. They MET GOD. And I…I was still broken bleeding out on my mat.
I bled the words but my heart didn’t feel any better.
Why didn’t my heart feel better?
Why didn’t God heal my hurts when I did what He asked me to do?
And therein lies my problem… thinking I am doing what He asks of me when in reality I only give so much.
“Stop there, Lord. You are pushing too much.” I only let Him go so far. I won’t let Him in fully because He, like every other man in my life, will break me.
I am already broken.
What if He will be the man who finally pieces me back together?
What if He, unlike the men with whom I connected hips and locked lips before they ever knew my name, will not abandon ship and leave me rowing for the shore alone but will instead introduce himself and call me over to dine with him. For He wants not to make me feel good for a moment but wants to make me whole for eternity. He will ensure I am never broken by his words but will instead construct sentences that build up the most beautiful love story ever told.
Can He be that man who loves me and sees me as more precious than rubies?
He knew all of me and yet He still loved me.
He knew who I was and what I did and what I would do in the future and yet He still loved me enough to stay on that cross and die, and rise again, and conquer death so I could have life.
And life is not what I have had.
I have had things.
I have had people.
I have had stuff.
But I haven’t had life.
I haven’t lived life.
I stand here broken.
I stand here with my mat.
I stand here wanting to move forward. To walk ahead. To be who I am.
I stand here wanting to be WHO I AM.
The woman who loves others but still hasn’t learned to love myself enough to believe someone can truly love me.
The woman who will do anything for anyone but feels awkward when someone does something nice for me.
The woman who shares her heart but only to the point that I am comfortable and unafraid.
The woman who God looked at and said, “You are enough”.
The girl who loves God.
I want to be me.
He calls my name.
“Michelle, my daughter.”
I heard him call me, reminding me to come sit at the table.
Because at the table He can speak into me and I can walk away filled. And so I take His hand and I walk over to the table and I sit and I dine with him and we talk about the life I’ve lived and with each breath I begin to feel freedom replace fear and shame. And I cry and it feels amazing. And I feel my heart beating again, unafraid, unabandoned. But when I dine with Him I cry with Him and I want more of Him. I want to feel Him and never let His skin leave mine. The skin that bled for me. That loved me as no one ever had. The skin that took pain for me. That skins that becomes all I need to get through this life. His words give me life and that life gives me love and for a moment I am whole and for a moment I can love except the moment fades and the experience dies and I am sitting at a lonely table, without Him.
And I cry.
I cry because I know that even Christ I push away.
Even Christ I cannot keep around.
And I scoot my chair back from the table and walk away with my head held down in shame, wondering why I exist…except at that moment I hear the music playing. The sweet music of the Holy Spirit wanting to fill me and lead me and heal me. The Holy Spirit wanting to purge all the darkness within me and bring me to a place where dining with God won’t lead to sin or heartache or betrayal. I don’t want to offer a kiss but a towel. I don’t want to give Him a kiss that brings death but to wash His feet and serve Him and as I do, I know my healing will come. So I grab a towel and I sit at His feet and I grab the rag and I slowly wash His feet.
“Jesus, I come. I surrender. I give you all of me so I can truly come to love you and honor you and obey you.”
And He places a mantle upon my head and speaks over me that it is time to truly experience intimacy and love. And He speaks to those broken places within me and continues ministering until I can literally feel Him restore my broken heart and pieces.
In a moment my shattered life feels whole and my shattered pieces feel complete and new and I tremble with love and adoration for this man who spoke my name and called me into the world…. And I find myself … In only a moment going from broken and feeling hopeless and like nothing makes sense to suddenly seeing with new eyes and realizing every single moment — every. single. move. — from the last 20 years makes perfect sense.
Because that is what I want from my broken life.
To be wholly Shell. The lover of Christ’s soul. The lady who loves Him so much she will follow Him anywhere, even if it means being lonely for a time so the right person can come in and fill that gap. Even if it means looking beyond my own insecurity to step out into the deep waters that will surely overtake me. Because after all, He calms the waves. He has invited me to the table not to humiliate me but to prepare my heart.
And so tonight, I stand here to encourage you to step out from behind your masks and let Him love you. Because tonight He has the answers we all need. For the hundredth time we will hear them and for the first time we will truly respond, saying:
“See me, Lord. I am breaking. I am broken. I am ready.”