What do you do with the voices? The accusations? The lies?
Jesus died. But not for me.
Jesus died. But not for this.
There is no sin that the cross does not cover. There is no pain that Christ cannot heal.
Listen to this. A letter that a dear friend has written to her younger self. A letter that shows what it means to shelter under the cross.
You’re at a point where life just seems so catastrophically atrocious that it’s hard to see any sign of light. Which, to be honest, is really what I wish I could tell you from across the years…’even from a dark night, songs of beauty can be sung’. I want you to know that God’s got an awful lot of beautiful songs to sing in your life yet.
You felt like it was all sorted when you went to university, didn’t you? All that horrible abuse was in in the past, and you’d made it. Prefect, Christian union leader, part of the European Youth Parliament, guide, Sunday school leader…and now the very first one in the family to make it to uni. It felt like it was all going to be brilliant.
And it was…at first. You got involved, joined choirs, played sports, got ridiculously high grades on ridiculously little work. Made great friends, found a good church. Even when you fell ill over the first set of exams, you aced the retakes, and you went into second year thinking you could take over the world.
And then…then it didn’t go so well. You’d spent so long being the good girl, trying to erase all traces of that sad little girl frightened to go to bed at night, that you got exhausted. Your precious, adored godmother died, and you felt like that very best part of your childhood, those parts you clung to as good, had somehow gone with her. Friendships suffered, so you looked for affirmation in disastrous relationships instead. And then there was that night, when you kept screaming no, but it felt like not even God could hear you.
And you thought you could move on. But you started to feel ill, and then you realised it wasn’t just you any more. You couldn’t move on, because there was an ever-constant reminder. And that reminder was about to change the rest of your life.
So you had to choose. Motherhood or graduation? Hiding or explaining? Beliefs you’d held as absolutely sacrosanct, or the sheer pressure of practicality?
And you chose. And right now, you feel awful. You feel like you’ve let yourself down, that you’ve let your child down, that you’ve let your friends down and your church down and you’ve let God down. You feel the pressure of the abortion and the pressure of leaving uni and it all just makes you wonder if you can possibly go on, because you feel like such a failure.
Here is what I wish I could reach across the years and tell you. And keep telling you and keep telling you, and use a megaphone if necessary, because those lies you believe right now are just that. Lies.
1. You are worthy of love.
Right now, you feel like if anyone could see the real you, they’d hate you. It’s not true. Like everyone, you have some relationships that need repairing. Some may not be repaired this side of heaven. Like everyone, you muck it up to hell sometimes. That sucks, but it’s also part of life. But the God who formed you in your mother’s womb, who sees every move you make and who has never left you, ever…it’s His opinion that matters. And He will spend the next 12 years (so far!), and I suspect many many more, gently wooing you to himself, not because he has to, but because he genuinely wants to.
One day, you will have a little boy and he is wonderful. He doesn’t seem to sleep that well right now, and you will spend a lot of hours holding him whilst he slowly gives up the fight against his heavy eyelids and active brain, and falls asleep in the safest place he knows – his mummy’s arms. And as you hold him, and you stroke his soft skin and smell his warm soft smell, you will feel but a fraction of what God feels for you. You are worthy of love.
2. It was not your fault.
You made choices that, right now, seem horrendous. And here’s the thing. They were. They were horrendous because you were put in a horrendous situation you should never have had to face. That doesn’t make you a horrendous person. This was never your fault. This was never your fault. This was never. Your. Fault.
3. God is bigger than this.
Right now, you feel like there’s no way out of the mess you are in. Sometimes, you just want to sleep and never wake up. That makes sense. But I promise you that God is bigger than even this, and out of the tangled mess of your life right now, He is making a beautiful tapestry. You are going to learn to trust again. You will meet someone, as different from you as could possibly be, and yet you will fit together so well that you truly recognise him as the other half of you. Together, you will have a wonderful child. You will have friends that love you, and friends that badly need you to love them. You will find a way to take all that passion and drive and divine discontent at the world around you and use it to make a difference. You can’t see it now, but you are so held, so cherished.
4. Your first child is safe.
I know you didn’t ever know what sex she would have been, but she had a name in your head right from the start, didn’t she? Psalm 139 has always been one of your favourite psalms, and later on, when you go through several miscarriages, it will become even more something to cling to, as you hold on to those babies being so totally known by God. And it’s true for them, and it’s also true for baby Sophia. You may well always wonder ‘what if?’ But, to misquote your current rector…’i don’t know where she is. But I do know who she’s with’. She is safe, and she’s with God, and neither He nor she condemn you.
Keep going. It’s going to be ok. I’ve spent a lot of time condemning you, and I’ve recently realised how wrong that was. You did the best you could. And in the end? It’s going to be so glorious. I promise. More importantly, so does he.