I have been trying for a week to put words on paper that make sense – each day God has used scripture, people, songs, and even other readings to continue to minister and encourage a hurting heart.

Each day He shows me just how important I am to Him. That regardless what man thinks or says about me, regardless my weight, my looks, my social status, or even my height – I am valuable.

I am Important.

And I am loved.

I have learned in my life people sometimes define success by how much money they have and they often use their looks to attain their goals in life. I used to joke that God was allowing me to be fat to change my opinions on fat people. It has worked. I was a hoochie to the max pre sobriety and a relationship with Jesus. I believed I could do anything and get what I wanted with the turn of my head, the snug pants or short skirts or a favor or two. I used my sex appeal to define me. I also think God has allowed fatness to come to me to stop me from using sex to get what I wanted. It worked. Even if that wasn’t from God but my own demise – I was raised in my early years and continued to hear as an adult that fat people are lazy. Fat people are thieves. Fat people were often made fun of and snickered at and called horrible names. In front of me – a fat person. Most recently I was in the hospital with a loved one – a woman needed a double wide wheel chair – she was snickered at and made fun of. In front of me. An obese woman that is supposedly loved by the very people doing the mockery.

It is heart breaking and it has wounded my heart deeply.

Success is also often defined by one’s economical status. I have been taught without money one is nothing. After years – all my life – being conditioned to hearing this – it becomes believable.

“ You are nothing if you aren’t tall, thin, and beautiful. You will be successful with those things to get what you want.”

While I have experienced miraculously healing and restoration in so many areas of my life where physical harm was done – I realized recently those harmful words caused me more damage and pain than the physical. Those harmful words continue to play over and over in my head on a daily basis . . . every time I change my clothes . . . every time I have to look in the mirror . . . every time I look in my bank account . . . every time there’s a need I can’t meet and every time I see someone I’m not – yet yearn to be.

It has been nineteen years since I asked Jesus in to my heart and asked Him to forgive me of my sins.

It has been nineteen years since God began the healing process in a life that spent 28 years in the world.

It has been nineteen years of learning scriptures of what my Lord says about me versus what man says about me. It has been those scriptures that have brought me comfort. It has been those scriptures God has given me to comfort other women hurting. I shared recently with a friend that one of the most important thing I, as a person can do, is to speak words of life over hurting women, to make sure they know they are valuable. To make sure they know they have a purpose. To embrace them and love them. Words I know are powerful and meaningful and that I know that I know that I know what the Lord says about us as women far outweighs what any man will ever say – and yet my own heart is so wounded I can’t believe those very things about myself.

As I was driving home yesterday I was talking with the Lord about all this, again. Because it’s real. And it’s raw. I started counseling last week over these challenges I am facing because I yearn to be free from this pain. Over and over my counselor referred to the Holy Spirit. I realized, as I have daily reflected on the session, that I have put the Lord in the heavens – forgetting that because I asked him into my heart that He lives within me. Forgetting that the Holy Spirit is sitting right next to me. Forgetting that the Holy Spirit is here – as my helper. That alone has been empowering and I am now covered in goosebumps. Wow. As I was talking with the Lord Holy Spirit, He reminded me that if He says I am valuable, loved, important, beautiful, fearfully and wonderfully made AND with a divine purpose – and if I am second guessing that then I am putting myself above the Lord and am making Him a liar. The last time He chastened me like that is when I was struggling with forgiving myself over the hurtful things I did when I was drinking. What a gentle reminder of Who He is.

I don’t know if I’m the only one dealing with self worth and value – maybe you are like me and have kept these pains hidden deep – these pains are bondage and this bondage is keeping us from the full potential that Christ has for us. As of today, the evil one has lost power over those pains because they are no longer hidden secrets. He can no longer hold me captive because I have spoken them freely. He can try and remind me of the hurtful words but they are now rubber band arrows instead of fiery darts because I choose to accept and believe what my Lord says about me. You don’t have to choose the same avenue of release He has given me – but I encourage you to write the things down that cause you much grief. That cut the deepest through your soul. I have a long way to go before I am healed – but the steps I’ve taken over the last week have begun the process of healing for me. I encourage you to seek out and pray for a counselor, ask the Holy Spirit to work through others to speak words of life over you. Since Friday I have heard through scriptures, Sunday School teachers, and preachers that I am valuable. That I am the apple of my Lord’s eyes. that He designed me for a specific purpose and it’s for good. That as long as I am obedient to what the Lord tells me I am successful. That it is He that is my provider and not what I look like.

Saturday morning, when I first started to pen my thoughts – the Lord took me to Romans 5. Romans 5 mentions the word THrougH seventeen times. The first verse alone took my breath away, ” Therefore, since we have been declared righteous by faith (did you capture that – you are righteous by faith!) we have peace with God THrougH our Lord Jesus Christ.” The rest of the verses are incredibly comforting. I encourage you to seek them out. One of the visuals given to me years ago with the word THrougH is over the mountains (TH) through the valley (r-o-u-g-h – notice what is spells? rough) and back over the mountains (H) He is with you. I can’t always comprehend that, and I’d be be lying if I said I wasn’t struggling with why He allowed certain things to happen to me, but my only comfort is knowing that even when I don’t see Him, He is with me.

The scriptures tell me that when I asked Jesus in to my heart that He would never leave me and He will never forsake me.

The scriptures tell me that my Lord can use all things for His good. Notice i didn’t say He caused bad things, He can use bad things.

The scriptures say that in this world we will have trials and tribulations – but to fear not – yikes – because He is with us.

The scriptures say that when others mean evil against you God means them for good – to be used according to His purpose. Your story is your story. There is no doubt in weeks, or months, or even years from now, God will bring someone – hurt, broken, and needing mending in to my life. She will need to hear about the powerful healing of the Holy Spirit. She will need to know God loves her. She will need to know how to recognize the fiery darts that Satan sends that he means to harm her because he comes to steal, to kill, and to destroy. She will also need to know the rest of that verse that my Lord Jesus came to give life and to give life abundantly and to set the captives free.

The Lord knows I am most susceptible to His speaking with songs about Him – don’t get me wrong – I love scriptures but when they are brought to life through music it takes my walk deeper and more intimate. This morning the Lord used Mandissa’s song, “Unfinished” to shake a little bit more of those chains lose – I can’t wait to hear them hit the floor y’all! “No my God’s not done – making me a masterpiece” wow. How in the world could I view myself as less than His masterpiece. Brings tears to my eyes and comfort to my heart.

I love you. And just in case you need to know today –

You are valuable.

You are created for a purpose.

You His masterpiece – created and formed by His hands.

And you, my friend, are the apple of His eye.