I always feel conflicted when I get the question “what’s your story”. For those of you who may not know, that question is the same as asking “what’s your testimony?” or “how has God worked in your life?”. Honestly, I feel conflicted because of two main reasons:
1) I don’t exactly know what my story is. There are so many areas of my life that God has worked through, I don’t really know how to choose just one OR how to make them all cohesive and flow together. But as I’m writing this, it just occurred to me that my story, much like my life, isn’t necessarily always going to be cohesive or flow together. Not everyone is always going to understand it and that’s ok. Plus, life isn’t 100% neat and clean anyway; it can be messy and not make much sense.
2) When I think about my story; I can’t say I feel my story is worth telling. I just didn’t see anything worth mentioning because to honest, it felt like it wasn’t much of a story if the plot line was (in my opinion) kinda boring and uneventful. But I shouldn’t sell myself short because in turn, that would be selling God short. He crafted me and my life beautifully! Who am I to call what He created boring?
Regardless of how I feel about the question, I want to do my best to give you an answer. I’ve never really sat down and thought about my life in one setting before so I will be discovering new things right along with you! In order for this story to make even just a little bit of sense, I’ll give you my story in 5 (short but detailed) phases. This should be fun!
Phase 1 – Childhood: I was born to a single mother (she was 23) and life was great! My mom and I have always been an awesome pair 🙂 My biological father didn’t want to handle the responsibility of having a child, so my mom, being the fierce mother of dragons that she is (I see you, Game of Thrones reference), told him that he could either be in my life fully or not at all. My mom doesn’t play those games, never has and never will. So, he opted out and it has been the two of us ever since! We are a lot like the Gilmore Girls; we’re super close and enjoy a lot of things together.
I was a very shy child; all I ever wanted to do was make people happy and pleased with me. I was happiest when I was with my mom. She’s the one thing I love most so I clung onto her with all my might. School wasn’t a good place for me because I was bullied so heavily. I was a larger child with darker skin: that’s a gold mine of insults for children to use against me and they did. It wasn’t until I joined the 4th grade choir and discovered music that I began to branch out and come out of my shell. Music made me confident and it was a way for me to express myself in a way I had never known before. This is really the first instance that I could see how God was working in my life.
Phase 2 – The Forgotten Years: I attended School of the Arts from 6th to 12th grade as a vocal major. I don’t remember much about middle school (hence the name of the phase of life haha) but there are 3 things I remember the most. 1) I finally noticed that my immediate family was a little different than everyone else’s. I saw nothing wrong with that but it was then that I truly began to feel his absence. 2) Puberty hit me so hard…enough said. 3) My peers began exploring the world of dating and boys but I never got to be included in that world. In fact, no boy took interest in me. No one. Ever. Little did I know that soon the devil would get to working a plan of lies that I would believe up until my senior year of college. For a whole decade, I believed these lies.
Phase 3 – High School: I loved high school! Not many people say that but when you go to an arts school, things are a bit different. Academically and vocally I did well, people knew who I was and thought of me highly. What wasn’t to love? Well in my eyes, it was the fact that no boy still had ever expressed interest in me and I believed this idea that all men were out to hurt, ignore, and/or abandon me. The first and only boy I knew would never do that is my best (and only guy) friend. He was and still is the exception to this thought. Obviously high school was about more than boys but that was a large part of it. Anyone who went to a public school knows that dating becomes real and you learn about it by, well, dating. Girls flirting, guys doing their best not to let the overpowering smell of Axe and fear overshadow their personalities, it was great. But for me, I was never the girl got chosen and this bothered me for a very long time. I felt undesired, unbeautiful, and like I just wasn’t the type that boys fell for. But through all of this, what made it worse it that I was the friend that everyone went to for dating advice. All these mature lessons never put into practice. I seemed to have this wealth of knowledge (as much as any 16 year old could have) about how to have a mature relationship. For example: “No, Lindsey, you can’t expect Johnny to know what you’re thinking. He can’t read minds, communicate! Tell him why you’re upset and talk it out. Also, it’s not a forever love…you’re 15 and this will probably be over by Winter Formal”. See, I was smart for someone who had never been asked out or kissed before.
High school was a time where I battled insecurities, struggled to know my self worth and do my best at figuring it all out by myself. This is actually when I first started journaling. I didn’t think I was beautiful: if I was, boys would talk to me. I didn’t think I had much worth: if I did, my father would’ve stayed. I didn’t think I had much value: if I did, my friends wouldn’t only like and see me for my voice and sense of humor. I didn’t think I would ever be noticed and loved by a guy: the smaller, prettier girls got the guys, not me. I wasn’t beautiful, I wasn’t desired, I wasn’t worthy of being pursued. It wasn’t until my junior year where I got my first boyfriend that I really started processing these feelings. My first boyfriend was nice; a really cool person! But there was one date in particular that I really verbalized how I felt. We were at the mall and his coat smelled like cigarettes (his mom smoked but I’m really allergic). We hugged, some mintues later, I passed out and had to go to the hospital. At the end of the day, my mom asked me, “If he smelled like smoke, why did you keep hanging out with him?” I told her with a straight face, “I thought I was fine. I don’t want to break up with him just because of that; this won’t happen again for me. Guys don’t really have much interest in me at school so I gotta keep hold of this good thing.” She then asked me, “You know you’re beautiful, right?” I looked down at my hands and shrugged, “Yea, kind of…”
Phase 4 – College: These were the best 4 years of my life but at the same time, they were the hardest. Freshman year, I found myself in the middle of a big argument that I had no idea I was apart of. I was shunned, lost all of my friends in a split second, and wanted to go home. I was beat down so heavily, I had to move dorms to find a way to get back up again. I decided I wanted to join something, anything so I could keep myself busy. I then joined everything you could possibly think of. Many would say I was popular, I knew a lot of people and everyone loved “Breezy” (my college nickname) but not many people knew I only did that so I didn’t leave time for myself to cry. The one light in my college life that year was when I joined Intervarsity Christian Fellowship. I found community and everything I was looking for! With their help, I decided to not just believe in Jesus Christ but to actually follow Him. This changed everything for me. I finally got counseling for my daddy issues (best way I could describe it, sorry haha) and realized how all along, though I lacked an earthly Father, God had always loved me intensely. I am loved by the Father Almighty Himself! Woah…
During college I still struggled with self image. The older I got, the more I realized I was invisible to guys. I would go out dancing with my friends, they got asked to dance; never me. We would go to restaurants, guys would buy them drinks, never me. My friends would get asked out on dates, never me. I was getting super frustrated, defeated, and I was not having it at all! I hadn’t yet learned that the Lord was saving my heart for His best. I decided to take matters into my own hands and get into this scene that some of my other friends were in. As soon as I was able, I tried my best to get noticed by guys by going to parties, going downtown to clubs, I even got a Tinder account, y’all! I wanted to put myself out there but I got the same response, nothing. I didn’t understand; why was I the only one being ignored? As soonas I turned 21, I bought wine weekly to drown my sorrows in at the end of my week by myself in my room. There I was: an intensely sexually frustrated virgin who hadn’t ever had a real, loving relationship with a guy before who was constantly ignored even when she tried her best to catch someone’s eye. I was heart broken but before but then I got angry.
My last semester of college was rough. I had anxiety, minor depression, anger issues, and just didn’t have Jesus in my life at all. I still believed in Him but since He seemed to be holding out on me, I would hold out on Him. Needless to say, that never works. I felt betrayed by Him and that was the ultimate pain. People who knew me well knew I wasn’t acting like my usual self. I wore my pain, hurt and anger for everyone to see. It wasn’t until one night at 11 pm, I decided to lock myself in a classroom and hash things out with God. I yelled, I sobbed, I wrote, I sang, and I knelt. I laid everything out there for Him to see and He met me with the Holy Spirit and did a work in me I will never be able to explain. I entered the room a slave to fear, anger, and idolatry and left the room 6 hours later with a renewed relationship with Jesus and a sense of freedom and joy I had never felt. I put myself in the presence of the Lord and hadn’t looked back since.
Phase 5 – Adventures of Adulting: I graduated in May, moved back home, found a new church and community, & decided to approach my life in complete surrender and obedience to the Lord. I’m actively pursuing ministry by getting involved while also answering my calling to be a worship leader. Life has never been more unexpected but beautiful to me. The Lord has delivered me from the pain of unrealized desires, from my anger, from my anxiety, from believing the lies the devil told me, and with a renewed sense of my worth! Currently, He is showing what exactly to look for in a Christian man, he’s showing me that men can be good and that they aren’t all out to hurt me, and I’m learning how to wait well in this season He has me in. I am discovering new things about God’s nature that I had never known before and falling in love again with the things I did. Finally, He’s shown me that I do have a story worth telling. I just had to seek Him to know exactly what to say! So now it’s my turn to ask:
What’s your story?