Monday, April 20, 2009

"Naked Heart"

(by Julie Miller) Julie Miller - He Walks Through Walls - Naked Heart



"Don't want you to see me like this
Don't want you to know how it really is
I put on this smile til you go away
And hope that my eyes don't give me away

And I can pretend that everything's all right
I've gotten really good I've done it all my life
I keep you at a distance so that you can't tell
I'm not doing very well

Chorus:
If you find out who I really am
If I show you what I keep in the dark
Stripped of my defenses can
Your love really clothe my naked heart?

I've gotten so used to having this pain
Can't imagine it could ever change
If I should look at the truth inside
I feel like I might not survive

So I wrap up this part that doesn't look good
And make it look lovely like I think it should
And if you only know who I pretend to be
How will I know you could really love me?

Chorus”

A couple of months ago, I got the tattoo that I've been wanting for quite awhile! I finally took a good picture of it; but before I post it, I thought I'd give a little background as to why it is so meaningful to me. First, let me say that the story I'm about to tell is in no way intended to place blame on anyone for my choices. We all have the power to choose how we respond to our circumstances, and we don't always choose the best way. While these events shaped me into the person I am, many of them caused me to feel certain ways that led me to make unhealthy choices. As usual, I will try to briefly summarize things; but, anyone who knows me understands how hard that is! So, I'll spread my story out over several posts. OK, here goes...

As far back as I can remember, I had a very poor body and self-image. It all began when I realized that I was bigger than my older brother, Kerry. I was born fifteen months after him, caught up to him in size by the time I was two and surpassed him by age four. One of my earliest memories is accidentally wearing my brother’s pants to daycare. They were so tight that I got sick to my stomach and threw up! We both wore size 4 “Toughskins,” but his were slim, and mine were regular. What I didn't realize back then is the fact that my brother is small for a guy. I have always looked up to Kerry and wanted to be like him. He is very good; and while I wasn’t bad, it always seemed that he was better than me. I was compared to him quite a bit; and in turn, I have compared myself to him for a good portion of my life

My parents were both Christians, so I was brought up in church and had a strong faith in God as a young child. Unfortunately, going to church and being a Christian doesn't mean you always make the best choices. My mother made some choices that greatly affected my parents' marriage. She also moved out numerous times, leaving my dad to care for Kerry & me while he worked two jobs. Despite trying to work things out, they ultimately divorced when I was nine. My brother went to live with my dad, and I stayed with Mom. About 10 years passed before I found out that Dad wanted me, too. Naturally, I felt rejected by him & started building up a wall between us. To make matters worse, a poor relationship with my new step-mom caused me to build the wall even higher. She had insecurity issues of her own; and rather than taking two broken and rejected children and pouring a mother's love on us, she rejected us, too.

My mom was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis when I was seven and had to quit working when I was in middle school. We were pretty poor and moved from apartment to apartment as rent went up. Just before my Freshman year in high school, we had to move in with my mom’s brother in Weimar, TX. It was about 2 hours away from my dad; so throughout high school, I only saw him every other month or so (my choice, but I didn’t see it that way at the time). At that time, not a lot was known about MS, and it was very hard to get disability benefits. Mom tried to work different jobs, but it was hard for her to do even the simplest of tasks. She did her best to provide for me, but we barely had enough money for our basic necessities. It was embarrassing to go to the grocery store (where one of my classmates worked) and pay with food stamps. I tried to act like things were normal, but I was afraid that other people at school would find out we were living on food stamps.

Throughout high school, God provided wonderful, godly role models in the form of intact families for me to spend time with. I spent most of my free time with my friends, and this allowed me to avoid facing the realities of my home. I had a wonderful church family that took care of me during this time, and I was very involved in the Youth Group there. Despite being in a dysfunctional home, going to church afforded me a strong foundation of Biblical Truth; and I held tightly to the relationship that I began with Jesus when I was a small child. I loved God and had a desire to please Him. I was a bit legalistic in those days, but it kept me from drinking, drugs and sex; so hopefully I was at least an example of a Christian who could survive high school without doing all that stuff. I pretended things were great, because I thought that Christians were supposed to be happy all the time. I hid my feelings, afraid to let anyone know that I was struggling. I didn't know who I was in Christ; and I didn't love myself, so I didn't show the love of Christ to those around me. I didn't understand even a fraction of the depth of God's love for me.

[to be continued...]

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