It was the same time every day when my Volkswagen Tiguan would pull out of the garage and start its trek down the driveway. I pulled down the sun visor to shield my eyes from the early morning glare that hit the uneven black pavement. When describing that time in my life to friends, I tell them I was filled with a sense of foreboding the closer I came to my destination.
“This is my fate,” I felt the resignation as my car pulled neatly into an open space in the parking lot in front of the arch. How could I not feel resignation and defeat and surrender? I was a bullied high schooler, and I’d been bullied for many years before.
It all started with one incredibly tragic mistake I made that February. We all make mistakes, and we all need forgiveness. My actions, however, had not impacted them, so it wasn’t their forgiveness to give out. But I discovered middle schoolers and high schoolers are the least willing to hand out grace.
To paint all those years as being completely painful would be unfair. I had a good group of friends who served as my soft place to land during those years. Many of them I still call friends today. But those years were comprised of incredible pain and sorrow. I cannot erase the memory of how I’d come home and soak the pillow with the tears of my shame. Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words bruise my heart forever.
I graduated and went off to a small women’s college in the suburbs of Philadelphia. I tried to heal from the wounds by throwing myself into Russian literature and philosophy and computer science and anthropology. I rode horses for a semester and flunked health class because I’d been up wandering the city until two a.m. the night before the exam. It was a new time in my life.
But I couldn’t escape the weight of resentment that followed me around.
I was filled with anger towards the people in my past who demolished me and this hatred bled into all my relationships.
I trained myself to view loved ones as disposable and untrustworthy. Over and over again, I entered unhealthy relationships wrought with abuse. I was being treated the way I’d learned I deserved. The healthiest relationships I had struggled to bear the weight of my outlook.
“You have trouble just letting yourself be taken care of,” one of my best friends, Lyosha, told me one afternoon. We’d been sitting outside watching the young cherry blossoms dance with the wind when he made the observation that seemed to come out of nowhere. I aggressively denied his words but I knew, deep down in dark places of our souls where we keep our most venerable parts hidden, that his words were made out truth.
For the first time a few months back, I wrote about the pain of my past. I cut myself open and poured my heart out in the rawest and most vulnerable piece I’d written up to that point. The writing was also filled with the most chilling words I’d ever penned. Upon completion, I made the decision to publish it on February 12th, the anniversary of when my six-year nightmare began.
Writing my story broke something open in me. God started to work in my heart and weave His threads of grace into the fabric of my story. Our Gracious Redeemer and friend shone a light into my heart and showed me when I’d written that piece, I’d thought I was being raw and vulnerable but I wasn’t being vulnerable at all. The words in that piece had flowed from a dark place inside of me. I’d written them from a place of anger and resentment that I’d held onto for years and years.
I wasn’t vulnerable the night I wrote that piece. But as God heals and redeems that chapter of my story, I’ve found myself approaching it from the vulnerable place I originally desired. I finally found my vulnerability when I chose to forgive instead of resent. When I chose to love them in their sinfulness and give grace. The choice to love and forgive those who sin against you and give them grace in exchange is always more vulnerable than anger, and it’s also always the healing road.
God redeems stories. The messy ones and the tangled ones and the tarnished and the muddy ones. Over and over again, I see new ways in which I’m proof of God’s grace and mercy. How is God redeeming your story?
Nina Singhapakdi is a twenty-something wild heart living in Philly. She uses her degree in Art History to write narratives and also faith-based articles at RedeemedMag.com as the Founder and Editor-in-Chief, at Venn-Magazine.com as a staff writer and social media manager, and at her website, NinaSinghapakdi.com. You can also find her daily adventures in grace on Twitter(@NinaSPakdi). She likes barre workouts, tea, books, bold lipstick, and cooking. She makes a mean Guinness beef stew with cheddar herb dumplings.
Latest posts by Guest Blogger (see all)
- In the Middle of Yielding Control - November 23, 2016
- Embracing the Present is Hard - November 21, 2016
- Mama, Did You Know God is Always Holding Your Hand? - November 9, 2016