There once was a little girl who wanted her very own place in the world. A child special and not so special all at the same time, wanting comfort and peace, both things hard to find. As she grew, she searched for her meaning and self worth to find even the tiniest trace of love and acceptance in places that should have had plenty of space for her, but she felt like she never quite fit in.

Before you get too invested, I don’t want you to feel divested of the energy that’s been requested to see this through. I’m here to tell you about a life that has been saved. This is my story.

Scary as it is to air these secrets, I’ve grown now and hold no regrets because this is a story of redemption, not hell-fire and condemnation. Back when faith felt like an illusion even though all I had to do was confess and ask to be forgiven. I’d spent most of my young life searching for a place where I could be accepted and not rejected by those who seemed to have perfected the art of being cool.

In this vain search that lasted years, I poured out my heart through stifled tears waiting for someone who would love me just as I was. Who would heal my wounds just because and protect me from harm and cold, lonely nights and show me the way to go and give me assurance that everything would be all right.

When I was in college, I met someone. He became the one that I loved and so we did the things that lovers do when feelings ride high and love is new. And though we never got caught, at least as far as we thought, I still knew that this was not what God had in mind. The lies and the guilt and the shame piled up higher and higher and I was never the same after playing that lovers game. Even if he’d remained, the momentum couldn’t be sustained and one fateful night in December everything fell apart right before my eyes.

My heart was shattered and all of the pieces were scattered everywhere, but what did it matter? My life felt like a lie anyway, so I went on lying and pretending that the relationship wasn’t ending and that we would still be spending the rest of our lives together. When that didn’t work, I buried deep inside, beneath the outward scars, my inner wounded pride and all the broken pieces I’d tried to hide.

As the days dragged on and my pain grew, my heart reached out for anyone who might be close enough or willing to heal it (but I had to feel it in order for love to seal it). I found that their salve was superficial joking and their bandage another beer and sweet words whispered in my ear as we parted and went our own ways for the night. The next morning it started again, the desperate search for love. Would I ever win?

Again and again, I came back to that same idea of a relationship, nothing filling what I lacked. No measure of kisses or hands guiding me by the small of my back could patch up each and every crack that threatened to fall apart any moment. When even that failed, what else could I do?

Every day I got on my knees, with folded hands I begged God, please, rescue me from this wretched disease I call life and the pursuit of happiness, which really was just empty chasing and hollow attempted replacing of that light and life which should be living inside me that I denied me.

He rescued me.

Though Jesus didn’t rescue me in the way I expected. No, He took a path that wasn’t protected so that His questions could not be deflected or ignored in the ways I had done before. Gently He called me away from my sleeping into his arms instead of me correctly reaping the cup of wrath I should have drank.

Because Jesus cares about the poor in spirit and was there ever a person in greater poverty ready to hear it? This message of grace and hope offered to those of us at the end of our rope when we can’t decide if we should tie a knot to help our grip or a noose to hang ourselves and just get it over with. Jesus is always here, watching and waiting for us to quiet our hearts and stop deliberating over the verdict He’s already declared about us. Washed. Clean. New. Forgiven.

All we have to do now is reach out and take hold of the steady hand held out to those of us ready to fall down or tap out because we could never fully be about the God of the universe who shouts out to get our attention and then whispers to draw us closer, out of hurt, pain, and sin. The very same Jesus who healed the sick and the lame is waiting for us to let Him do the same inside our our own lives without any shame or condemnation. Instead He wants to heal our pain and then He calls us to a better way to a family where we’ll stay for eternity if only we’d just trust in His name!

For whether our brokenness lies in the decisions we once made way back in the day or in the calculated imprecision of our chosen words or the harrowing derision we once faced, it doesn’t matter. We have a high priest who can sympathize because He once internalized the kinds of things we now face. We CAN approach the throne of grace with confident hearts and a radiant face and we can rightfully take our place as adopted children in the family of God.