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I have come to learn that I am capable of some pretty extraordinary stuff. In this world that has lost its ability to believe in anything that isn’t tangible, I am coming to find myself almost supernatural in my abilities. I am only human…I bleed when I get knocked down. But that’s only two parts of my whole being. Sadly I only began to embrace my super human abilities within the past few months.

Up to this point, my life of twenty nine years has always felt hollow. I was an empty vessel without a true sense of home. I was going through the motions not understanding why I felt emptier for every achievement. It didn’t matter that I was a straight A student, musically gifted, and athletically talented. I was triply blessed in my abilities, but supported by a hollow shell of a family. My parents were only there for me in body. I say this because I always got the impression my parents did not come to love and support me, they sought to love and support themselves through my achievements. It was a very selfish love I was raised in.  Any doubt I had about that fact was completely abolished during my junior year track season.

I had worked and trained hard all season. I had come close to breaking the school 100M hurdles record several times. That year I qualified for Regionals and was thoroughly looking forward to the competition. I always performed my best when I was surrounded by the best. Feeling this was my best opportunity to focus and break that darn record, I kindly asked my mother if she and the family would skip that particular meet, so I could focus on nothing but the race. True to form, my mother not only got angry with me for making such a request but informed me I was being selfish and inconsiderate by asking her not to attend, by not allowing her there to support me. Well, not only did my mother show up, she chose to arrive minutes before my race started and took that time to parade the entire family along the very front row, making sure to wave and holler so everyone would know she was there for me, her little track star…. Well this track star didn’t shine so brightly that evening. I failed to summon the focus necessary to perform as I needed. And that is how my life has been.

My achievements were only as good as the benefit they provided to those around me. It didn’t matter that I was knocking everything out of the park, being the good girl they wanted me to be, my family condescendingly referred to me as Little Miss Perfect. I never understood that. If I failed to impress, I was told what a failure I was. It was only when I succeeded that I felt any type of love. And yet, for achieving the best I could, I was still torn down for daring to be better than the rest. It was a battle I couldn’t win. No matter how high I rose, they condemned me. No matter how minor the mistakes I made, they condemned me. It left me feeling broken and empty. Hollow. From my mother, I learned that love can be entirely selfish. And that was the only love I knew for the first seventeen years of my life.

That is until I met Patrick, my hero, my nobleman. He rescued me from a home filled with selfish love and delivered me to a family whose mother knew what it meant to love to the ends of the Earth, who knew that love could be completely selfless. His family had their problems, but Mom always, always, always, was their for her children, regardless of the cost to herself, regardless of the trouble they found themselves in. She constantly would give everything she had to support her children when they were failing.  She was the heart of a family who loved each other despite all of the problems and differences. She was the heart of a family that loved because that is what families should do. She was the heart that beat constantly for everyone but herself. Sadly when the heart passed away, the family splintered and faded away with her.

I often feel I was not born into the right family. While my natural family loved me, I never felt they loved me the way I needed. Their selfish version of love always left me feeling hollow and broken, searching for more. Patrick’s family brought me so much closer to the love I was so desperately searching for. The love they shared was amazing. No matter the cost, they came together without complaint. They took in a broken child and loved me because that’s what families should do. When Patrick lost both of his parents, it was such a blow to me, it felt as though I had lost my own parents. We took both Mom and Dad into our home so I could care for them in their final stretch of this life. I took care of my parents as they passed from this world, just as they took care of me when I was stepping into the world. I loved them and will always be grateful for showing me that love can make you feel good.

However, when they passed away my sense of hollowness returned. We were alone and it was awful. The tables turned and we came on rough times. Every friend we had ever helped disappeared into the cracks when we would dare to ask for help. And my family was nowhere to be found but that didn’t stop me from trying to make myself part of the dysfunction again. I was desperate for the love of a family. But no matter how hard I tried to be everything they wanted of me, I was only torn down and accused of being a manipulative, mean, and hurtful person. Yet I clung to the belief that any family is better than none, even if every encounter left me feeling like less than a human being. I realize now how misguided I was. While I may have been born into dysfunction, it was my lot in life to rise above it.

As soon as I realized I was no longer tied to dysfunction, I found a sense of acceptance. Universal acceptance: of myself, of my past, of the people in my life, and of the world around me. I found that everything had happened for a reason, regardless of whether I deemed it to be a positive experience or not. I am meant to be here, in this moment, precisely as I am. How beautiful is that? The tragedies of my life helped shape my belief system and helped me gain strength when I didn’t even realize I needed it. My struggles have given me experiences to reach out to others and comfort with. And my successes have taught me that good things come in time. And that sense of hollowness that has persisted always was there for a reason, I just needed to figure out why.

And so I struggled. I knew I was here on this Earth with a bigger purpose. I have always felt that from a very young age. At six years old, I told my Daddy that I wanted to be the president of the United States. I was going to become an accountant, then go into corporate law, and after all of that become the President. Even at six my dreams knew no limit. I dreamed big because I felt all eyes were on me even when they weren’t. I would tell myself I was being ridiculous and conceited. Why would anyone be watching me? Yet it has been how I’ve felt, always on stage, always putting on a show for the entertainment of others.

But then I realized I really was just a show, I was no more than a mirror reflecting back what others put in front of me. But like a mirror, I was empty when no one was around.  In my quest to please everyone, I never attempted to please myself. I gave of myself completely to make others happy. I pushed my sense of self to the side so I would accommodate the people in my life, desperately hoping they would love me. But how could they love me, when I didn’t even know who I was? The brutal truth is they couldn’t. They were only loving the reflection of themselves in me and hated me all the more for their own twisted reflections.

Their own twisted reflections were not me though and never will be. Mirrors can be twisted and warp the truth, but in the end they are only reflections of what is before them. I wanted to put myself in the mirror and see what I found. Would you believe I was blinded by my own reflection? I can’t see myself properly in the mirror, all I see is the blinding light of love. And at the same time all I can see is what the world tells me I am. Right now, the world tells me I am crazy, broken, and selfish, yet everyday I am told how beautiful I am. How is that possible? I am trying to scream to the ends of the Earth – THAT ISN’T ME! Yet they tear me down still, throwing hate and venom at me, attempting to break down the most beautiful thing in this world…. UNCONDITIONAL LOVE.

But I am me now. I am who I am meant to be. Everything that has happened to me has prepared me for the task ahead. I will change the world or I will leave this planet trying. The world has forgotten what love is. The world has forgotten Mother Earth. The world has forgotten what makes the world go ’round. My innocence was taken from me at the age of five by a family member. I was broken by the very people who should build you up. From such a young age, my body was for everyone else but myself. I was never given the opportunity to learn to love myself before others. I was just the shell to be used as others needed. And finally I am okay with that because I see my true purpose. This hollow shell is supposed to be used by the world.

Use me as you will. Tear me down. Build me up. Rage at me. Call me names. I don’t care what you’re going to say. I’ve been beaten and torn down by everything this world tells me should build me up and make me better than anything I could be on my own. And I am still standing because love don’t die. This love has been searching for a real home. Let’s create a world that is worthy of unconditional love, that is worthy of bringing home our Father.

And so here I stand in the light of day, shining in the light of the Lord’s love, ready to teach you how to love again. What you choose to make of me is up to you.

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