In this house, we’re all about growth and celebrating.
My housemates and I were out to dinner one evening celebrating one of their birthdays, a housemate who just moved in the week prior. This new housemate was sort of blown away by how much care we took in celebrating her, someone we didn’t know, who hadn’t given us anything or done anything for us. She was new.. new to our home, new to the neighborhood, new to the city, even new to this part of the country. She didn’t know another soul around, except for the newly developed friendships in our house.
A current housemate shared with her that in this house, we’re all about growth and celebrating. And that, friends, made me feel much warmth inside. You see, for most of my life I’ve lived a certain way in order to meet a standard that I felt my community demanded of me. I felt unsafe in my household as a young person, with my relatives, and within my church community. Living in such bonds and fear is crippling. Living in that during foundational years of your life, suffocating. There’s little growth when your trying to survive. Few, if any, saw me enough to celebrate me. I thought I wasn’t worth celebrating.
Over and over again I was told how brave I was in church, for living in what I did, for experiencing what I had. But no one actually knew what my life was really like. There were many well meaning assumptions made, but so very few, if even one, actually asked. I didn’t feel brave. I felt like a coward, living so terrified of life. I just had to suppress my real emotions to make everyone else comfortable, to make myself fit in, to make it. Shame. So much shame.
The bravest thing I ever did was continue my life when I wanted to die.
And I hit a point where I didn’t want to live. I’ve hit it many times if I am going to be honest here. The days when life feels bare and joy seems ripped out from beneath me and I’m clawing it back with everything that’s left. And I’m healing.
But I kept clawing. And fighting. And asking the Lord to break me all up and heal me. I’ve never been afraid of that, of the breaking. That’s the easy part for me. It’s the healing I don’t understand. It’s unconditional love I’ve never known. It’s sometimes the warmth that comes out of me at the most unexpected times, the tenderness, the weepiness, the empathy. It’s the healing part that’s hard, painful. That’s bravery. Surviving didn’t make me brave. Continuing to heal when I’ve wanted to die, that’s brave.
To tell you my purpose is to tell of Him
So here I am, serving the Lord with many tears and trials. Living in a home in which it is common places to celebrate small things, like Froyo Friday-just because we made it through another week, or celebrating a tough appointment or meeting or hard conversation with someone. So we go out, we order in, we bake some cupcakes, and we celebrate and record these small feats of growth as we serve the Lord with many tears and trials and claw our way towards hope and joy. And as we mend, we move from needing help to giving help, without even thinking of it. The process is not a waste of time if we’ve learned something. Because in this house we’re all about growth and celebrating and you can’t have one without the other (at least in our home).