Meet Katharine. I have had the honor of getting to know Katharine for quite some time during Soli Deo Gloria. I always imagined that if I showed up at her door in the cold Canada winter, she would immediately usher me in and I would be surrounded by the warmth of her spirit (and I'm sure she would have really cute cookies, too. She's an expert at some good lookin' food. I've seen pictures.) Here's her story.
It's in the telling... In the sharing of our stories, we hand each other tools that help us move towards hope and healing. It's in the telling...We give and receive grace, and it's beautiful. So, can I tell you a story?
It's about a girl. As far back as she can remember, she loved and followed the God of the universe. And she believed a lie. A never-ending tape that played a constant refrain.
Not a good enough daughter, sister, friend, teacher, wife, or Mom. Not smart, or funny or pretty enough. She not only believed the lie, she began to live out of it. Every circumstance, joy, failure, every event was filtered through the lie. The background music to her life. So she began a quest to be good enough. She tried hard. She had that list -- you know the one? It changes from season to season but it has all the things she tried to check off in order to be good enough.
If only I:
Do more, make everything perfect
Get good grades, try harder
Pray, read, study, more
Wear the right clothes, lose 20 more pounds
Make everyone happy, have it all together
Have perfect children, juggle everything well
Pretend I have it all together...etc. etc.
She lived in a world of constant comparison, always coming up short. The tapes grew louder. They said that "good enough" is never possible for overweight, abused, poor-in-academics, girls. Too many mistakes, too disappointing.
The quest to be good enough has consequences. Trying to look good enough, opened the door to an eating disorder. One morning, she woke up and realized she had tried so hard to be what she thought everyone else would consider "good enough" she had no idea who she was. She began to walk with fear, anxiety, pretense, loneliness, guilt and shame. Filtering things through the lie, allowed self-pity to land on her shoulder and whisper in her ear.
Deep down at the root of not good enough is the longing to be truly, deeply, completely loved. It's the love that comes from the God of the universe, and while she never would have consciously verbalized it, she didn't think she was good enough for that either.
So she carried on, pushing down all the fear, sadness, and anxiety, and working on the list. She didn't realize it, but God was busy being who he is: faithful. She met and married an amazing man who loved her and began telling her the truth, even though she didn't believe it.
Life doesn't care if you think you are good enough. It careens through our seasons at break-neck speed and delights at handing us the unexpected. On a cold January day, there was an unexpected death in the family and all the things she had so carefully hidden and pushed down, came flying out. She was, to put it mildly, a mess.
And then God.
The God who had been faithful in all of her seasons, was faithful again. She listened to someone tell their story, about how God could do more than just clean up the mess, He wanted to set her free. He wanted to deliver her from all the things that had come live with her because of the lie. He could break the tape, and give her new music. It was the chorus of truth.
He told her:
She was good enough
She was beautiful
The God of the universe took her hand and together they began exploring the deep places in her spirit that needed healing. They began by walking through forgiveness. He said she could throw away the list! She was more than good enough, because she was His. He created her, and He was thrilled with his creation. It wasn't about anyone else, it was about Him, and His love for her.
He loved her truly, deeply, completely.
Just. As. She. Was.
Not because of anything she had done.
Not because of anything she hadn't done
She was His.
Sweet notes of belonging and truth began to play in the background.
Nothing she could do would make Him love her more.
Nothing she had done, or anything that had been done to her, could make Him love her less.
She was more than good enough, she was His daughter.
Now, she lives with the refrain of truth, and the more she learns to walk living loved, the less she hears of the broken, "not good enough" tape. Sometimes, though, it tries to slither in again. When it does, she fights back with the truth: She was worth dying for. When the "mess" of life threatens the truth, He reminds her that he's really OK with her mess, he knows all about it, and they'll work on it together. She never walks alone. She is good enough. She is loved.
It's in the telling my friends. This is my story, but I know some of your hearts whisper with an ache of understanding. He wants to break the tape. He longs to set us free. This is what He speaks over us:
"Don't be afraid, I've redeemed you. I've called your name. You're mine. When you're in over your head, I'll be there with you. When you're in rough waters, you will not go down. When you're between a rock and a hard place, it won't be a dead end—Because I am God, your personal God, The Holy of Israel, your Savior. I paid a huge price for you: all of Egypt, with rich Cush and Seba thrown in! That's how much you mean to me! That's how much I love you! I'd sell off the whole world to get you back, trade the creation just for you. "So don't be afraid: I'm with you. (Isaiah 43,MSG)
Want to read more of Katharine? Of course! You can not only read her blog, but she's also released an ebook!!
Linking with Emily for Imperfect Prose, Jennifer for God Bumps, and Shanda for On My Heart.