Wednesday, May 20, 2015

You Don't Know Me

"You don't know me, you don't know me, you don't know me," the words race through my brain.
The little suspicion I've felt for months suddenly slams into me, knocking me down.
"They don't know me," I think again.  "And how could they?"
I've been gone, hidden away... enslaved.
They had only the shell of the true me had they known.  All they had known of me was distance, my dull eyes saw past them, my zest for life, dead.
And then I was gone, vanished.
Maybe they knew.  Maybe they could read the lines of worry in my mother's face, or they translated the far away look my father sometimes couldn't hide.
What they didn't know was that the healing was beginning, and what I didn't know was that the healed wasn't completed. 
And then I reappeared, different, changed.
But I was still distant and reserved.
My healing was not complete.
And now, over 3 years since the time the true me left, I am back.
I am happy, whole and healed.
But no one can seem to get it.
I feel the astonishment and wonder flood the room when I joke, when I openly express my opinion, when I smile a true smile.
Friends, this is the true me.
But few of you know her.
Because all of you just know and expect the dead me, I feel forced to be her.
I was never one to like being in the spotlight, especially in front of peers, so I feel I must continue being the old me so I am not the object of astonishment.
I just want to be the true me.
The girl God made me to be, the one who shines with his love.
For some people it's just too hard to be the real me. 
So I'm quiet and reserved, smiling, paying attention to every word spoken, and wishing you could see the living Brittany. 
And then I quietly excuse myself and seek out the newer people.
There I thrive because no one knew the dead me, and they have no expectations.
The real me comes out and I feel alive.
So please, if you know me as insecure, shy and overly self conscious now, don't expect that to be how I really and truly am.
When I act differently then you know me to, it's ok to be surprised, but please be happy with me.
This is the true, living me.
I'm so incredibly excited that God is transforming me and making me come alive.
So please, celebrate with  me.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

April 25, 2013 - a day of HOPE

Today 2 years ago my parents gave the second chance I couldn't ask for.
A second chance at life.
The day had come.
Can't say I was ready, but I was willing.
The 3 agonizing months my parents spent trying to make me regain my health just were not working.
My eating disorder was winning, and the prize was my life.
None of us could continue on like this; it wasn't just killing me, it was taking us all.
My parent did all they possibly could, nothing worked.
Thursday, April 25th 2013, Bethany, my parents, and myself traveled to Durham, NC.
That morning I stepped through a door that I would not (permanently) walk out of for four months.
During those 4 months I would experience more change than I ever had before.
I would transform in every sense of the word.
That day I experienced so many different emotions.
But oddly enough I felt so much peace.
I walked into a kitchen and actually ate without a fight.
I walked into a group of girls and boys around my age and was accepted with open arms.
It always makes me smile when I think of the girls fighting over which table "got me" at meal times. 
I was actually wanted there, it was another second chance for me.
The family atmosphere was amazing, I immediately became one of them.
All the rejection and outsider feeling I experienced didn't exist there.
I was encouraged, understood, supported, loved, acknowledged, accepted... need I go on?
Yes, I got all of this in my family,
and no, this didn't exist at all for me around my peers back home.
Don't me wrong, those days were some of the hardest, scariest, and saddest of my life,
but even that black cloud had a very promenade silver lining.
In all the darkest moment, there was always someone who helped me through it and made me a better person in the process.

I met my "sisters" there, and made one of the best friends of my life who would support me and be God's hands and feet for me when I was too weak to go on. 
I'll share more about this someday, but for now I'll leave you
with what this day 2 years ago meant to me. 
In a single word - Hope. 

Taking My Own Advice

"So where do you see yourself in 5 years?  Brittany?"
I took a breath.
I was far from comfortable, but this was my time.
This was my time to face my fear of judgment and rejection,
my time to stand out from the crowd,
 to show God I was trusting him, and I was ready.
All the other girls had given wonderful, ambitious, details of well thought out plans.
They spoke of colleges they wanted to go to, exact courses they would take, jobs they would start to gain experience, exact plans.
They knew exactly what they wanted to do.
Did I?
Exhaling, I began.
"God's been working on me," I said.  "In the past I've needed to have all the details of everything I was going to do planned out.  I needed complete control over my life.  I needed to have my plans under my power.  But that wasn't good for me.  Now God's showing me that I just need to trust him.  He's calling me to mission work, but I don't know exactly what that will look like yet.  I think he's shown me some of what I'm called to do, but the for rest he's just called me to just trust him."
For a moment the room was silent.
Some in the group didn't know how they were supposed to react to my idea, but Alison, my youth leader, spoke up and encouraging me.
I smiled as she began to share some of what she's learned about trust.
 That opened the door for some of the deeper, more meaningful conversations I'd always longed to have within a small group setting.
I hadn't done much, but it had been hard to do in the beginning. 
But I had obeyed, and that was enough.
Weeks later I sat thinking and planning and, well, Pinteresting. 
As I pinned DIY ideas for homes and children's rooms, I thought and thought about my life and my future.
So many unknowns, so many possibilities.
I simply have no idea of what exactly (within missions work) I'm called to do.
My ideas go back and forth depending on my mood, but I just don't know.
 Once again I try to figure out everything in my mind, tangling myself up in the unknowns.
And then God reminded me.
That's all I need to do now.
Trust and wait.
And I will try, it's hard, but I'll try.
"Wait on the Lord, be of good courage, and he will strengthen
your heart." ~ Psalm 27 : 14

Friday, April 17, 2015

I Wish I Knew

I look around a room full of faces.
Faces of those more confident and graceful than me.
Faces of people who are not plagued with social insecurity.
I look around and see those faces and in my mind's eye I see my own.
A face too round.
A body too wide.
A forced, uncomfortable smile.
And a mind who's longing for someone to understand.
I scan the room and my eyes land on a girl who smiles and chats gracefully.
Who embraces her body.
Who grins naturally.
I want to talk to her, to ask her to understand.
I wish she knew.
I wish she knew how much I need a friend who cares.
I wish she knew that I'm hurting and need to talk it out.
I wish she knew that I'm too shy to ask her listen.
I wish she knew how much I want to apologize for my awkwardness.
I wish she knew how much I admire her ease around people I'm terrified of.
I wish she knew.

And then I turn and see a girl a little younger than me.
She sits silently against the wall, her eyes averted, her hands fidgeting nervously.

I slowly take a step forward and sit down next to her.
She looks curiously at me and I smile.
All of my awkwardness melts away as our eyes meet.
We start chatting and laughing, best buddies after two minutes.
As we talk I see my reflection in her eyes.
I look happy, and suddenly I wish I knew.
I wish I knew that I can be the girl who smiles and chats gracefully,
 I can be the girl who embraces her body,
the girl who grins naturally.
I can be the girl who others can talk to when they need someone to understand,
I can care,
I can be there for someone who needs to talk it out.
I can be that girl.

Weeks pass, much changes.
I no longer need to put on a brave face when going out in public.
I am becoming more and more like that girl.
That girl who smiles and chats gracefully,
that girl who embraces her body,
that girl who grins naturally,
and that girl who others can talk to.
I am now far on my way to becoming the girl God designed me to be.
And I no longer need to wish that I knew,
because I do.
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