There comes a pivotal moment in each of our lives that shapes the way we view the world and the decisions we make from that moment forward. For some of us, that may be one singular or a collection of beautiful moments such as your wedding day, the birth of a child, graduating college, starting a new career, or simply enjoying your passions. For others, it could be a moment that derived from pain or tragedy such as a cancer diagnosis, your first break up, sexual assault, the loss of a loved one, or the moment you hit rock bottom from an addiction. I’m certain as you reflect back on that event and observe every detail of that moment you will begin to feel every thought, emotion, and uncover the meaning you attached to it. You may have viewed it as the worst thing that ever happened in your life and moved forward with the sense of unworthiness, abandonment, rejection, or fear. On the other hand, you may have viewed that moment as a gift allowing you to awaken your soul and use this experience for the good of yourself as well as others. Whether that moment was one of joy or heartache, the meaning you applied to it can be so powerful in shaping every decision, thought, or feeling you have moving forward.
When I was a young girl, there was someone very close to me that I allowed to scar my soul on the deepest level. I felt rejected, worthless, alone, and many times cried and screamed until I was told even THAT was a sign of weakness. This pain led me to finding joy in dance, soccer, church groups and spending time with friends, but I soon found that I was simply avoiding the very person and things that triggered me to feel all those feelings once again. Avoiding the pain became greater than the pleasure I sought, so I forced myself to lie about what I was doing, where I was going, and who I was spending time with so I didn’t reveal the fact that I was doing things that brought me joy, peace, and happiness. I lost the safety and security I needed most, so I created my own protective barrier with the fortress of lies that escaped my lips every time I was challenged with those old feelings again.
It was as though I was a double agent, living a secret life. On the one hand, I was full of hope, happiness, and pure joy and on the other hand I was afraid for what I was going to do next to avoid the monster on the other side of the wall. As I got into high school, I looked around and realized that the walls I built up around me had become a prison. There was no escaping and I felt so alone and isolated. I rejected the very things that once provided my safety net of happiness, because I thought doing so would make the people understand or feel my pain. I began looking for a source of healing in ALL the wrong places. By the middle of my junior year, I had dug a whole so deep trying to escape my prison that I couldn’t find my way out. A mentor of mine looked me deep in my soul one day, as she sensed another brick of lies was about to block the words that came out of her mouth, and said “Erin, I think it’s time to take a break, because I’m worried if you keep heading down this path you won’t be here next year.” I melted into a puddle of tears as I sobbed into her shoulder. I felt ashamed and rejected, but also loved and respected at the same time. That was the very moment I decided to escape the prison, make a change, and forgive myself for the wrongs that I had committed and those that were committed against me.
It’s those pivotal moments in life that will either make us or break us. They will either shape us or destroy us. They will either happen “to” us or “for” us. The choice is up to us, but we must first recognize that we are completely and utterly worth…
and loving on,
so when we move forward we can do so with grace and dignity knowing that what happened to us was a gift. It was an opportunity for us to observe the very things that shaped that moment and use it to lay the foundation for a much brighter future.
I made the choice that day to give my life a whole new meaning and trust that whatever God had in store next for me was far greater than I could’ve ever imagined and it truly was. I was able to find the abundance of God’s love within myself, have more love and compassion to bestow on others, and in turn God placed a beautiful soul in my life who spent the next 17 years reminding me that I was worth fighting for, believing in, and loving on. In the end, that was the gift I was left with…it’s the gift I choose to carry with me…it’s the gift I will share with others as I navigate whatever comes next in my life.