From the inside looking out, my life appears as a wadded up piece of paper that barely missed the trash bin. It lies on the floor beckoning someone to come along and pick it up. There it is, lying amid the dust bunnies and crumbs of food, but somehow doesn’t belong.
It felt as though, during the teen and early adult years, I didn’t belong. The crumpled edges of the paper of my life then would get picked up and smoothed out. But just when I thought things would be different, the paper would get wadded up and thrown toward the trash, but still miss it. Time and time again, I would put hope or trust in a person, only to be let down. Over time, with enough wadding up, paper gets worn and so does a heart.
I’ve promised to be real here, so this is my real.
I am a smoker. I’ve smoked since 14 when I would steal Nanny’s (my grandmother) cigarettes and go for a walk around the neighborhood. I don’t know why I picked up the nasty habit really and I know I should quit it. The day will come; I am a work in progress, after all! Maybe I started because I thought the popular crowd in high school might think I was cool and like me. Again, I placed hope in human beings only to be let down. Struggling with low self-esteem is torture, especially during high school as a teen-age girl.
Often, teen girls are cruel without realizing it. I know that now, but it has taken many years of doubting my self-worth to understand. Only recently (I’m 44, by the way) did I realize, regardless of what I look like, what kind of car I drive, or where I live; I am loved. Status, popularity and money do not necessarily make a person happy or loved. In the arms of Jesus, I am loved no matter what. That is the unvarnished truth of it.
How do I know this? Well, as the childhood hymn goes; the bible tells me so! The most quoted verse in the bible, John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” So if God loves the world and I am part of the world, then of course He loves me, too. Had I not been so stubborn I would have realized it long ago.
My crumpled edges also involve tattoos. I was in my mid-30’s when I had my first tattoo done and I now have nine of them. Each one has a specific meaning and was given much thought. Having these tattoos doesn’t make me less of a Christian. Jesus loves me with or without my tattoos. These marks do not make me a bad person or a bad Christian. They are a part of who I am.