When I was a little girl, I lost the first hero in my own storybook. A few days before I turned three, I lost my father in a car accident that left my entire family physically and emotionally scarred. From that experience, I learned the lie that no one would fight my battles, and my only hope of survival was being the strongest person in the room.
Striving and performance became my external coping mechanisms, supported privately by addiction and anything I could use to escape pain. I spent the next seventeen years finding comfort in food, drugs, sex, porn, alcohol, and anything that would make the pain a little quieter.
Relationship after relationship, high after crash, I slowly created a world where chaos and self-destruction became the only pillars left standing. When you’re in that level of pain, your only goal is your next high, not your next breath.
I cried out for God to see me. I didn’t care whose God he was or what rules he would have for me, I just wanted to be found out. I waited for a punishment or sentencing to be delivered by an angry father holding my long list of wrongdoings. Instead, I met a significantly kinder version of God. It was the version I knew when I was a little girl crying to him to let me talk to my daddy after he died.
I heard God say He loved me… and also, that He loved me. This kind God came at me with everything He had – hope, love, joy, and a future with no line to follow or finish line to reach, just one rich in freedom.
I went on a journey to uncover every place that I was stuck in pain. I sat in the ache of losing a parent and went back to the sting and shame of failed relationships. I camped out in the years of self-hatred and self-destructive behavior, slowly rewriting my past and strengthening my present. I screamed through anxiety and panic attacks, facing my most terrorizing fears. I opened up my world to counselors and mentors, showing them every place I had been hiding. Fear was no longer going to drive my life.