2190 Deaths Later – Rhea’s Story
It began with predatory stares. My young thigh, catatonic glances, his scary blue eyes that turned from my gaze less and less. Glares mutated to creaks on stairs, and those young and tender years when other girls whispered of crushes, were to me, filled with felonies in the night.
He wasn’t my real father, but was to protect me as if he were. If he could hurt me, then what was stopping anyone else?! With the crack and hiss of a beer can, with all of the “yes’s” I indulged in, I hadn’t realized that I was stripping myself to bone. I imagined I was creating an atmosphere where I was depriving every one of their ability to take anything from me ever again, but I was really surrendering my identity for safety, handing myself to the lions.
Trust was a shadow.
I wanted freedom from a world where the darkness seemed omniscient, where my choices were from desire instead of fear. I desired autonomy from the unhealthy and fraudulent relationships in my life that confined me as a jack-in-the-box, only coming out if someone else’s hand was manipulating the lever.
My identity was fading. I looked in the mirror and I saw an unrecognizable woman – a fragmented self – so contemptuous, I shattered the mirror into a million pieces. I wasn’t sure which pieces to salvage, which pieces were my own.
My misery challenged all of the lies that I had told myself to be able to function. I didn’t know who I was, or whose I was. Identity is profoundly wrapped in those two questions, and there I was, perpetually baffled by them.
So I began to quiet myself, to consciously rid myself of my own opinions, and to simply believe what God – through His word – was telling me.
I was so lost that I was easily led. I was emptying myself of everything that ever made me feel important or identifiable to the mirage that I was. I was simply listening and yielding and resting.
God showed me that he was with me and for me and laid down his very life so that I could participate in His goodness. He showed me his intimate knowledge of me, how he crafted me with his breath and his hands and his spirit vitally united to my own. He healed the bruised fruit of the world that lay tucked inside of me, and he redefined what a good father really was.
Anxiety was held back by God’s mighty hand, the torment of images were subdued, my heart was filling and breaking and transforming from stone to a magnificently complex, life-source. I learned that it would take much more time to trust, but that even when the hearts of man felt dangerous and dark, that I had a God that would hide me. He was revealing myself to me, breathing a second breath into my pinking lungs.
I wasn’t creating anything, I was aligning myself with the Truth.
Every day is a new death – of the old, the broken, the dark. I abandoned myself, searched my Father out, and have miraculously found both him and me; two vital questions being answered and matured every single day.
I had a vision of myself standing on a hill. Suddenly, I burst into a thousand pieces. All that remained were my worn shoes, no real remnant of who I was. Initially, it frightened me. Again, reverting back to my own self-importance, and then I got it! I realized that all of the illegitimate pieces were the ones that shattered; all of the pieces I had put into place by my own hand. My foundation was firm, my feet were still intact, and what once was threatening and scary made me thankful all the more that God will shatter everything that can.
I want to leave a trail that doesn’t create a path to me. I want to leave clefts in the dirt that are steady, unwavering, and unselfishly lovely.
Although there are many things to rebuild, I am thankful that the only part of me that is still alive, is intentioned by Him and not by my own doing. I would rather have a little of me with a lot of work to go, than a lot of me with no room for growth. After all, it was the pieces of my own shattered mirror that kept cutting me.
God does not make an alternate path, but offers His way to all. He died for humanity so that we could be restored to the status of sons and daughters. He is a God of violent love, who has let himself die for an enemy. So, I’ve reasoned, why can’t I let myself die a thousand deaths for a friend?