Someone asked me to explain what this picture meant to me.
I thought long and hard about it. Why this particular picture means so much to me. Throughout the years I've always been somebody's sister somebody's best friend. It's never been something about me in particular. It was always somebody else's worth that defined who I was as a person. I had a friend told me once that they had known me for years but didn't really know who I was because of me always talking about other people and never actually about myself. That really struck me hard, but I didn't know how to fix it because that's who I always had always been.
Then I met my ex-husband and slowly even the little bits of who I was taken from me. Instead, he tried to put what his version of me was in my head. That I was obsessive because I wanted to know where he was when he disappeared for days on end. That I was crazy when in reality he was just projecting his own issues onto me.
Once I left him, I realized that I had no idea who I was anymore and I've spent the last almost 6 years trying to figure that out. Finding new names for myself that don't include somebody else's name to show my worth.
Never in a million years would I have foreseen where I am today 6 years ago. I was in an abusive marriage and scared for my life. Terrified of what would happen if I would leave. Always on the brink of financial ruin. I’ve been homeless. I’ve been on every state assistance I could get. I’ve had my power shut off multiple times. I’ve not had a vehicle and had to figure out where I was going to find the money to ride the bus to work. I’ve been unemployed and 7 months pregnant where no one would hire me. I’ve dealt with a drug-addicted, cheating, abusive husband.
Earlier this year I was asked to be part of the leadership staff for a ministry that I hold very dear to my heart. Ladies in this group have become my dear friends. They have pushed me out of my comfort zone many times. I’ve become more involved with mentoring people. Something I told people I would never feel confident enough to do. Pushing myself outside of myself has been trying at times, but very rewarding.
I love to take pictures of things just for fun. When Janelle suggested that I take pictures and try to sell them, I laughed at her. But, I’ve been trying this year to live with more purpose, so I decided, “why not.” I never imagined I would get the response that I’ve had. That I actually might sell some of my pictures was completely ludicrous to me. But I have.
I have slowly come to realize who I am and who I was meant to be. The process is never easy, and sometimes it’s been downright painful, but coming to realize that I have worth as a person by myself without having to associate myself with someone else is means more than I could put into words.
So, that’s what this picture represents to me. It’s a declaration of myself. That there is beauty on the other side of the pain. That there is hope even when you can’t see your next step for the darkness surrounding you. You will come through on the other side.
“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor.” Isaiah 61:1-3