Sewing Sunflowers

{the blog}


If you’ve ever wanted to really get to know me, now is the time. Very few people know me, truly know me, but I’m ready to open up. Not completely, mind you...some details are reserved for me & God, my journal, my husband, and my counselor, but it’s time. This is going to be deep and ugly, but also beautiful and full of hope.

By the way, I got a tattoo.

And this is my story…

For the last 12-14 years I’ve wanted a tattoo of the word “beloved”. It’s a word with deep meaning...a beautiful description of our relationship with our Creator. I always told myself the tattoo would happen when when I “had it all together”, or when I was “in a good place” in my relationship with God. What a foolish way to think! I will never have it all together! Are you kidding me?! God wants to meet me exactly where I am. He wants me to bring every single broken bit of my soul to Him. When that reality smacked me in the face last weekend, I knew it was time to plan out my tattoo. But you guys, God had a great work to do in me first. Let me tell you about it...

I was a victim of childhood abuse.

Trauma occurred in my young life, and while it did not define me, it was very much a part of me. I grew, but I did not heal, and as I got older, I found myself making poor choices as an adolescent. My wounds were deep, and the rippling effects of past experiences were shaping who I was becoming. I found myself in a pit of shame as a young adult, but honestly, I thought I was fine. I grew up going to church, I knew Jesus, I found a wonderful man and married him at the tender age of 20.

But I was. not. fine. I couldn’t get out of my pit. I have carried my hurts into every relationship I’ve ever had, and let me tell you, it has not been helpful. It allowed me to live with shallow faith, distant connections, and insecurity. I have struggled to fully take my wounds to the One who could truly heal me, and to trust that healing was actually possible. I spent a few years of my mid-twenties working with a counselor, which was tremendously helpful, but the road of recovery is a long and hard one. Healing does not happen quickly!

When some harsh realities about who I had become came to a head this week, I was faced with the reality of how deep I really was in this pit I had made my home. My heart was hurting so badly, and the only place I could turn was to Jesus. He met me in my brokenness in the way only He can. Again and again and again a very clear message was being yelled to me:

Don’t give up.

You are not destroyed.

You are not too far gone or too deep in your pit for me to rescue.

Seek me.

I will restore you.

I will give you grace.

Daily devotional emails, Sarah Young’s Jesus Calling book, “happening” to notice a book on a random shelf at the church that led me to find Beth Moore’s Bible study “Get Out of That Pit”, songs, random blog posts being shared on facebook...see what I’m saying here? God was speaking to me in many, many ways.

Here’s what I’m learning through all of this: I know I am not the only person who has hurts, and I’m trusting that by sharing my story, someone will be able to relate. And if I can use my experiences to point them to the goodness and love of Jesus, then I am fulfilling my purpose, and I am so thankful for every single ugly bit of my past. Any and every thing the enemy has meant for harm, God has meant for good. Is God going to allow hurts in my life? If the purpose of those pains is not greater than the pain itself, then the answer is “no”. But if I allow the Holy Spirit to work in me and use those pains for a greater purpose, then the answer is “yes”. I praise God for the hurts, trials, and troubles that have been in my life, because He has used them to draw me into His presence, and He has rescued me from my pit of shame. I wanted a permanent reminder of how God carried me through my dark times, and how He plucked me up out of my pit and called me His beloved.

He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord. Psalm 40:2-3 (ESV)

Are you hurting, friend? You are not alone. God loves you. He wants you to seek him, and you will find Him! He wants you to be free!

“My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.” John 10:27-30

Ok now for the fun details about my tattoo! I was honored to have the ridiculously talented Taryn of Ezer Calligraphy & Design write the actual word for me. My ever so lovely friend and neighbor Elizabeth watched the kids last minute as my husband and I set off on this adventure. My dear friend Meg (who, by the way, was my nextdoor neighbor in Colorado and happened to grow up in the exact area we are now living in in Indiana - crazy!) recommended I go to Bugaboo Tattoo, so I did! Steven Darnell was my tattoo artist - super talented, straightforward and honest. When we sat down to get started, he said, “Beloved. Isn’t that kinda arrogant?” Woah, caught me off guard. I sputtered out some quick, nervous response but totally missed an opportunity to really share some truth. I’ve been thinking about that sentiment, though, that declaring myself as “beloved” is arrogant, and if I could rewind the clock and answer Steve’s question again, I would tell him that it’s not a statement of arrogance, but one of assurance. I can rest in the knowledge that I am loved and chosen by the One who created me. And so are you, friend! Pretty amazing truth!

Thank you for letting me share my story. I pray one of you reading this hears what I’m sayin’! There really is so much more to what I’ve been learning, but this blog post is so long already *wink* And listen, I’m still working on healing my hurts (this book has been helpful, and I’ll be reading this one next), but if you ever want to talk about your story or mine, I’d love to chat with you. Shoot me an email here!

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.  I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity.” Jeremiah 29:11-14a