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This past weekend, I got an unexpected blessing, and we spent the day at my sister’s place, visiting with her and the family. It’s definitely one of my happy places. She lives in this awesome house on a ton of land, and even with kids running around and dogs barking, it’s strangely peaceful. She’d probably laugh at that. But to me, it is.

Because to me, you see, in a very strange and roundabout way, it’s like coming home.

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For a long time, I didn’t know things about myself. I didn’t know who gave me the gift of life. Who carried me for nine months and then walked away. I didn’t know why. And I said I didn’t care.

Of course I did. I cared more than I could admit.

But sometimes the fear of the unknown overrides the need to know.  

And so you fill in the holes.

I did it well and I did it often. By the time I was in high school, I really didn’t like myself all that much. What I saw in the mirror never told the true story. So I went on diets and put peroxide in my hair and pierced my ears myself (ouch, and yes I’m lucky I didn’t get an infection) and tried whatever I needed to, to fit in, to be accepted, to find my place.

To fill in the holes.

And it was never enough.

There’s this thing about holes – you can pile all the dirt you want into that sinkhole, but sooner or later, one misstep, and bam! You’re down and maybe you’ve got a twisted ankle to show for it. Or a twisted heart.

And a hole deeper than the one you started out with.

By the time I hit my 30’s, my holes were pretty deep and treacherous and I couldn’t fill them fast enough. Anyone looking in would say I had the perfect life. And maybe I did, but I was never truly happy or fulfilled. I was busy. But peace? Couldn’t get near that one. And I didn’t know why.

I didn’t know why it was so hard for me to accept love. I knew I was loved, definitely, by my parents, my husband, my kids … yet the darn holes kept popping up and refused to be filled. Because the face in the mirror just wouldn’t quit staring back, asking the old questions, and I didn’t have the answers. So eventually, somewhere along the way, I’d chalked it up to just not being good enough.

And that hole? That one runs deeper than a canyon.

I know now … easy to look back and see the spiral and the point where God stepped in … because of course His timing was perfect. Isn’t it always? He knew what I needed before I did, which seems so obvious, but at the time I wasn’t sure.

I didn’t know I needed to be found.

Be He did. 

And so He let it happen. Off I went on this crazy journey that few understood … armed with prayer and a whole lot of hesitation … but with each step, with each new revelation, I began to uncover things I never knew about myself. Things that now make perfect sense.

Slowly, I started to fill in the holes.

I started to heal.

And find home.

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Home, wherever it is, is where you get to be crazy. It’s the place you become known, and loved, and accepted. And I have been blessed beyond measure to have found this place several times over. Growing up, my home, my parents, that was my safe place. The one place I couldn’t wait to get back to, wherever I was. My home now, the house we’ve built, the memories made, the many amazing and fun family times we continue to share together, that’s my fortress really, and I’ll do anything to protect it. And we all need those places to call home. We need to know we have been found.

But it can’t happen when you’re too busy looking down, terrified of tripping down one of those holes you haven’t quite covered. 

It’s taken me a while to find this kind of peace and joy.

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There are days when I still trip. Lay on the ground for awhile and stare up at the sky.

Didn’t see that one coming.

But I get back up. Because if I’ve learned anything at all, it’s this – growing up isn’t for sissies. It’s hard. It hurts. Sometimes it seems somewhere near impossible to get through. But we find a way. Funny what a little taste of victory will do, isn’t it?

My holes are not all filled. Perhaps they should be and maybe that makes people point and whisper and wonder why the heck I just can’t get it together, but hey, I don’t really care. Because those people don’t know me, and they haven’t walked in my shoes. They haven’t tried to fill my holes.

And I’ll bet they’ve got a few craters of their own.

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But you know what I’m thinking? I’m thinking that now, after all the years of wondering, all the years of blaming myself for something I had nothing to do with at all, all the years of feeling inadequate, of feeling unseen and insignificant, I’m thinking I’m done with that.

Because sometimes, the only way to move on, to move forward, is to stare straight back at that face in the mirror and know exactly who you’re looking at.

And … love. 

Love yourself. Accept that you are fully known, and unabashedly loved beyond any earthly understanding, by the One who brings the breath of life.

I’ll tell you what, some days, for me, that’s the hardest thing in the world. But when I do it, when I let it all go and stop worrying about the holes I might trip over one day … that’s when life happens. When I give myself permission to love, and let the ones who matter most love me back, everything changes.

Love happens. 

Life happens. 

Freedom happens. 

And the holes get filled. 

And all that?

That’s the best thing in the world.

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Just My Thoughts. 

I’d love to hear yours …

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