Blog Post by Heather Howell
Heads up! #SaturdayStorytime. I am starting to think I should post more often so when I do they aren’t a novel! But hang with me, if so led to read, of course. My very best friend Jessica White Davis took these. It was an impromptu play time in the rain turned into a mud mask quickly escalating to a full mud bath.
When asked what she saw in the pictures, this was her reply…“You had complete joy. The girls were more important than anything else. Having fun with them. And you were untamed. Not a care in the world.” Sounds like freedom. Felt like freedom. Was it freedom? Think so! Because in the infamous words of the Greatest Showman, “This is me!” This is me the way God designed me to BE. Fierce and fun. Silly yet if you know me I’m a pretty deep thinker and feeler.
Hear me please! This is not to be confused with the “me” Satan or the world has wanted to design me to be. That girl lived feeling not fully loved or accepted by the one who made me. Not pretty and exhausting. I don’t think it was an accident I was wearing my “FREE.” shirt. Backstory on that: I got that shirt in September 2020 after an all day intensive counseling session resulted in me losing my mind on my counselor’s office floor because I’d swept 45 years of offenses, trauma, and my own sinful responses to those wounds under the rug. I was done faking fine. I was done trying to impress or please people. I was done feeling like an imposter. I am now done with the overthinking and fear too. (I mean that’s an ongoing battle if I can honest. This is my second attempt to post due to it. ).
The me before healing was really a deceived person – thinking or pretending I was fine but all the while spinning out of sight of the world. I really tried to achieve and earn love, worth, significance, and acceptance. You see as a child of God since the ripe age of 8, I knew of His love for me for me in my head and somewhat in my heart. After all, if you hear it enough living in the Bible Belt it’s bound to soak in right? But truthfully, it was my hard walled off heart that didn’t have a clue. This can make us religious when it’s all head little heart. You know the same religious and prideful attitude that killed Jesus himself cause he challenged the status quo. Sobering.
This is also what the walls of rejection do. They wall your mind and heart off from His deep unconditional love and acceptance that heals our pain and frees us from burdens. This is how I could be a Christ follower but still struggle with trusting God, others, myself. And in those unhealed places an enemy begins to spin us up in fear, doubt, and unbelief. I was happy looking but really a love sick human. And when we are in this place we really do look for love and affirmations in all the wrong places. All this said… I’m here today to tell you this. Love sickness is our biggest problem plaguing society today.
Perfect love: One that gives hard truth and also life giving grace. The love only our Heavenly Father can give perfectly too. I don’t know what has happened in your life that has hurt you deeply. I don’t know who has rejected you for just being you. I don’t know who might have abused, neglected, or abandoned you. I don’t know even if it was a proclaiming Christian who wasn’t healed therefore they were full of judgements, ungodly expectations, or just didn’t honor you. I don’t know potentially if that was even me? (If so, I’m really sorry. Please forgive me too. ) But God isn’t like this. Don’t judge Him by those that have hurt you or even Satan who is behind so much pain. That dude is a liar. God so loves you. Accepts you. Chooses you. He wants you to choose Him too and in a surrender to Him receive healing through forgiveness – His forgiveness to you and you to others, even yourself.
If you are wanting to be a recovering people pleaser, overachiever, and exhausted over thinker, it can happen. Have hope. Heaven can be your home and FAR MORE abundant life can be yours here on earth too. You can go from all the “doing” to earn love to just love “being” so that you may do from the overflow of that being. You can be healed. You can BE FREE. Last, just so we are clear, I haven’t fully arrived at “free”. No one ever does. It’s a journey. Progress over perfection. One that gets easier with time. I mean… just this week I was in tears having to forgive someone who had hurt me and repenting for believing the lie whispered in my ear in this offense. But no more ignoring the doors open to the enemy, tripping over unhealed places, and/or numbing out/burying things either. Freedom indeed requires lots of forgiveness from the past. But it also is about staying free with forgiving living. See it. Feel it. Own it. Release it. But most importantly it’s about embracing grace for others and ourselves so that we might “BE” present for every little drop of goodness life can offer including playing in the rain! If you are still here, thanks for sticking this story out. If my words, stirred up more things, you can always reach out too. BE loved. Live FREE.
This is what freedom looks like…