I am a woman.

“Wow! Could have never guessed that one,” you may say sarcastically.

Like most women, most people, I have spent my life searching; searching for purpose, for identity, and for value. For awhile I found it, a sweet nectar that sustained me. A Lover of My Soul, that fed my very being. I yearned for time with Him, to hear His voice. He was my Savior, My King, My Creator and I loved Him with every breathe that dwelt within me.

However, an ominous presence came, to overthrow the love and admiration I held for my Heavenly Father and place on that seat instead a feeling of fear and unworthiness. Instead of running into my Savior’s arms, I ran to hide, ashamed of my exposed flesh that my Savior might see. What I failed to realize, He’d already seen it, and yet He looked upon me with love. Passionately pursuing me, with every fiber of His being as He has done so many.

Finally, I ran back to His arms. Life began to get better. Before, I used to inflict pain on myself, struggled with depression, and felt completely worthless; falsely believing that the bullying I faced daily for four years, was punishment for my wrong doing. For a short while things were good, God put two wonderful people in my life who encouraged and uplifted me. Then, they were gone. I found myself in the midst of a LIFE pop quiz, and like most average students, I started out confident and ending poorly.

Once more, I fled the arms of the One who loved me and searched for validation in others. Especially, boys. I found myself in constant need of approval from teachers, fellow Christians, and guys. My seventeenth birthday came and went. I found myself with one friend and no suitors and I wept like a blubbering idiot. I desperately longed to have my fairy tale come to reality, not realizing that it had already come and I had cast my prince aside like a detested frog. I had bought into the world’s ideal of romance and love.

Finally, I found what I thought was my Prince. He, however, turnout to be an imposter. Though his charm and wooing drew me to him, I found that I had entered into the story of the Emperor’s new clothes. Though I recognized midway through that the royal robes my prince claimed to be wearing where only that of a pauper, I tricked myself into believing that this was in fact my Prince dressed in royal garb.

Alas, it was not to be.

Instead of arraying me with royal robes and putting a crown of honor on my head, he tore my garments and heaped ashes of shame and guilt upon me. Then had me do the same to him. I thought that this was how it was meant to be. I watched as many others around me did the same, they laughed and smirked to hide their undeniable pain. I longed to run to my Savior’s arms and I wanted so desperately to bring “my prince” with me. However, he did not desire to go. Content to wallow in his filth.

Finally, I fled in search of my Savior. Once more, I found myself in His loving arms. His Joy filled me to overflowing and once more peace resided. The former ruler of my Father’s dominion enflamed in rage as he watched my Father build me. My Heavenly Father had given me purpose, as His revivalist, as His conqueror; value, as one more precious than silver or gold; and identity, as His Daughter. Immersing myself in the midst of fellow brothers and sisters who sought as I did to be one with their King. We began to feed off of each other and grow closer to becoming the men and women God destined us to be.

For everything, there is a season. The season of immersion came and went in a blink of an eye. I remained strong for a time. However, like clock work I went from a high pinnacle in my life to one of the lowest. For once more not one but two imposters put themselves in my midst. Begging me to choose between the two of them. Having already experienced the first I chose the second. For I watched, as other wonderful daughters received protectors and lovers of their hearts and I wanted to have one too. So I accepted this promise given to me by this self proclaimed knight, a promise to love and protect my heart. In return, protecting and loving his heart. Unfortunately, once more I had allowed my judgment to be clouded by my longing. Silencing my ears to my Father’s voice because of impatiences.

This knight did not know how to care for my heart, he knew only of the world’s view of what should happen to it, as well as, what his flesh desired to do to it. So he disrespected me without intention, and desecrated the purity of my heart without recognition. Then had me do the same to him. He knew in his heart of hearts it was wrong, and yet it kept happening over and over again. So I ran to my first imposter, thinking out of lunacy that he would be able to fix and heal me. All that came was more guilt and shame. Finally, when all the world seemed to crumble around me, I ejected myself from his grasp fleeing with the shattered pieces of my heart. His voice resounded behind me, accusingly. For you see, he had broken and shredded my heart to fill the holes in his own. Leaving him, left him empty and alone.

As I waited for sanctuary, in the arms of loving guides, I found myself resting under a tree desire. It’s fruit tantalizing and tempting for though I longed for purity, my flesh longed for satisfaction and the sweet flavor of lust. And a serpent came with eyes hypnotic and voice soothing. Promising my flesh it’s desire if I would but eat the fruit and stay resting in the shade of his home. So I took a bite and fell asleep only to wake with the serpent slowly coiling himself around me in order to choke and devour me.

Once more I fled, this time, to the loving arms of my Savior. I cried and wept, laying prostrate before him, I begged for forgiveness. He tenderly touch my grief stricken face and said, “My dear one, all the things you have done are no more. They do not define you; they have no hold on you; and they do not control you. For you are my child and I have made you new. I remember your sins no more.”

I have gotten better since that day, growing stronger and more fruitful. Painful watching as The Gardener of My Soul pruned away the dead parts of my being to make room for the new wonders He has in store for me. I have grown in the confidence of who I am, taking pleasure in my Savior and learning how to spot imposters before they take hold of my life and separate me from my King once more. I’ve given up make-up, social media, romantic books, and dating some for a season and some forever. My life from that moment forward has been set apart as blank pages for the Author of my life to write upon and dictate my story, because He has my best interest at heart. His desire for my life is better than anything I could ever imagine.

We have all struggled with desiring purpose, identity, and value. Some of us have found it, some of us think we have found it, some of us want it, and some of us have given up on ever finding any of those things. But it is there for the taking, all we have to do is ask, seek, and knock. Seems pretty simple. It is surprising how few of us are willing to do it though. Yes it will cost you greatly, but you shall gain far more than you ever imagined.