She was damaged by a lineage of mental illness, and by abuse at the hands of her own mother.
Damaged. Ruined. Beyond repair.
By the time she died, her body showed signs of a life lived on the edge of death. Lungs riddled with cancer, body broken by a life of neglect. Rotten teeth, a face that looked 60 at 46.
She damaged herself on the outside to try to match the inside. She riddled herself with cancer, filled her body with poison, and invited any and all abuse she could find into her life.
And I loved her. Because daughters love their mother. I still love her. I hate what she did to me, and I hate her for leaving me. But I love her.
She damaged me. I am damaged. I am the damaged child of a damaged dead woman.
I own this. I own my past. I own the legacy of abuse. I hold the memory of things nobody should. I carry it every single blessed day of my life.
I carry it, here, in this damaged mind.
But damaged does not mean broken.
I am not broken.
I will never be broken.
Because my life has been filled, from beginning to end, with God's enduring grace.
Every footstep I have ever taken has been dogged by a God that loves me. And every single action that has been taken against me- every wound, every burn, every word, has been redeemed. Every time I was left, abandoned, and betrayed, I may have felt alone, but I was NEVER ALONE.
Damage is ugly. It hurts. In inflicts pain. And long past the point the damage is healed, it can still be felt.
But damage is also beautiful. Because in the silence of being left behind by all of those who were supposed to love me, I reached for His voice. I reached beyond my circumstance. I reached through tears, past wounds, and beyond myself. I pushed past all I have ever known and pressed on until I found grace.
That can never be taken away from me. Ever.
I am damaged. But my damage is a thing of beauty. It is beautiful and holy and sacred. It is pain and it is crushing. It is what happened to me, BUT IT IS NOT ME.
Because what I am is a child of God. Saved. Lifted from circumstance of birth into a life I could never have imagined.
Lifted into motherhood. Given into a role I was terrified of.
I'm scared every single day. Scared of not getting this right. Of passing on the damamge. Of showing the damamge.
I'm scared. But I refuse to be pulled down. I refuse to sink into what I was shown, and instead I walk a path lit by the One who has always guided my steps.
I don't know how to be a mother. I was never mothered. But I know how to love God. And I know how to love my children. And I know how to give them what I wasn't.
Scars are proof you have lived. Damage is proof of life.
It's how you utilize that damamge. To create beauty or to inflict pain. The choice is ultimately up to me.
I choose to love. I choose to use the pain to teach me how to love.
I may not always get it right. And I may struggle with memory and trauma. But I will always choose to love. Nobody can take that from me.
and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
to bestow on them a crown of beauty
instead of ashes,
the oil of joy
instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise
instead of a spirit of despair.