“You’ve changed,” she said.
Pain does that. Time, too.
“Are you proud of it?”
Of course. Of course I am. I’ve fought so hard to grow into every single inch of this new skin. To hold my head up high every single day and carry on.
I can’t seem to find my way back home
The same path took me somewhere I didn’t know
Is this the part where I give up and die?
For they either had me rid of or denied
For when I shout I start to mumble
All these words stuck in my mouth
I see help arrive but I can’t do a thing
And with the heat I start to tremble and the air’s lost in my lungs
While I can’t seem to break a single sweat
Is this where I wanna be, is this where I wanna sleep
Being lost in isolation and defeat
Do I have nowhere else to go, or is there somewhere I don’t know of
Would you take me away from this please?
Faces changing, everything’s not right
How could I have let this chance slip by
Well it’s that day that comes again, and we see nothing in the rain
And my head’s in the clouds the whole night
This ain’t the end my mother said
For life is too short as it is
But I bear in mind that we are all that we need to be, to be complete
“I remember tracing my fingers over your face, trying to memorize every inch of you. I was so afraid that one day you would be taken away from me. I remember thinking how lucky I was to have held you so close. I wanted for nothing else when I was with you. Those days tangled up in you – I never wanted it to end. But now you’re gone and all I’m left with is the ghost of you. Grief cracks my heart wide open. I knew this moment would come. I knew I had to memorize you because one day I wouldn’t be able to hold you anymore.
I met you and it changed me. For once in my life there was something I wanted. So much. I think maybe I loved you more than love allowed.”
Sometimes I scroll through the saved entries in my journal and I shock myself with how real and how potent my emotions were at the time of writing. I remember when I wrote this. It was late into the night – grief had torn my chest wide open and tears were spilling out of my eyes as I typed into my phone with trembling fingers. I had known loss before but not like this. I had known betrayal before but never like this.
It was then that I learnt that love can push you to the brink of esctacy only to kill you in the next moment without so much as a warning sign. And I, I was but a frail doll caught up in the brazen ruthless arms of the wrong man.
Those months were so sleepless. I never want to feel that kind of horrific pain again.
But time is merciful. It softens the blow of wounds and quietly tucks memories away on a little shelf. Time has also made room for a quiet hope inside my heart that one day I might hold a love so sweet and tender in my arms again, this time maybe for real. Maybe to stay.
… I wonder if I will know inside when it is safe to love that deeply again.
Sometimes I wish I could go back in time, wrap my fragile younger self in my arms and say to her, “Everything’s going to be alright. He restores.” God knows how much she needed to hear it. But I can’t do that of course. I can’t tell her how much she really is worth. I can’t tell her that she doesn’t need to fight for love because real love would have fought for her. I can’t tell her that what she needs is to protect and fight for her own heart and dignity instead. I can’t tell her that all she ever needs can be found in the safe and loving arms of a Father. I can’t tell her that she really is beautiful, even when she sees anything but staring back at her in the mirror. I can’t tell her that Love is wiping away her tears each night as she cries herself to sleep, and that Mercy will make it all brand new. I can’t tell her about the way He will turn it all around and make her little heart strong and capable of withstanding anything. I can’t tell her how He will fill her eyes light and help her dare to hope and dream again. I can’t do any of that.
But I will spend the rest of my life telling it to every other broken young girl I meet.
Because it’s true. He did it. Every little thing He promised to me, He fulfilled and is still fulfilling. He’s turned it all around and I can’t even recognize any trace of that broken little girl I once was. He’s given me beauty for ashes, strength for brokenness and praise for sorrow. Faithful He has been, and faithful He will be. My faithful, faithful Restorer. He’s the reason I still believe today. He is every stubborn breath and relentless pump of this still-beating heart. He is why I can get back on my two feet no matter what comes to break me in this life — I swear I will not be broken because He holds my every piece.
Don’t lose hope.
He isn’t nowhere near done with you.
The pain comes in waves. Sometimes they recede, and I can pull myself up for air. Tranquility. Stillness. I am grateful.
Then, without warning, another wave comes and crashes over me. It pulls me under. I drown underneath it. I gasp for air – for life.
Hold on Isabel. Rescue is on its way.
It has to be.