the following post is some things i've been feeling for the last few weeks. it is not meant to spark a political, religious, or social debate. it is not meant to express a definitive school of thought. it is not here so that my readers and/or i can win an argument. if you have a problem with any of that this is not a post you should read.
i'm sure so many of you have heard about the recent teen suicides. by now celebrities and news outlets and newspapers have covered it almost too completely. so maybe you've heard the debate about what part bullying played in these suicides. maybe you've participated in the discussion about homosexuality or maybe you have thought about what conversations you could have with your kids or friends or teachers to help.
i didn't. i didn't have very many conversations. i didn't watch all the coverage. mostly, i spent last week crying. as someone who works closely with teens these stories devastated me. as someone who was bullied these stories haunt me. but mostly as someone who knows her Jesus is big enough to heal any wound these stories make me sad for the hope that could have been.
here's what i think: i think we hate too much. i think as a society we say, "you're too short. too fat. too stupid to belong." i think we look to rip apart that which makes us different. i think that we all feel broken and less than so when we have a chance to hide that pain and fling it on someone else we jump at it.
my whole life i have felt worthless. maybe that surprises some of you. i do a pretty good job of hiding how i really feel. since the 4th grade i have felt fat and ugly and unlovable. when i was growing up i heard a lot of grown ups say "it gets better" or "being a teenager isn't the end of the world you think it is". but those sentiments didn't hold me when i was in my room doing my best to fight the loneliness that was creeping its way into my heart. i was utterly convinced that because of how i looked and who i was i would never be loved or wanted. and more or less i've battled those thoughts since i was 10.
so when i heard about these kids who had flung themselves off bridges or hung themselves because of their own loneliness i just cried. if not for a handful of very important people and the grace of my God those stories could be mine. and i've thinking all week trying to figure out what i want to say about this. so here it is. it's not super profound but it comes from the very depth of who i am and it is as genuine and naked as i know how to be.
you are loved. you, who are reading this post. you are loved and you do not walk through this world alone. whether you believe me or not the God of the universe, the one who thought up the ocean and whispered the stars into being loves you. and His love is steady- lean into it. His love saved me when no one else and nothing else could. he takes you, gay or straight, black or white, fat or thin. he accepts you in all your varying states of brokenness. he holds you. he loves you. but just in case that feels a little too far away, i want you to know something else: i love you too. my heart may not be as big as His, but it is big enough for you. if you are reading this and you need a soft place to land here it is. if you need someone to talk to, here i am. you are valued and worthy and loved. that's all. pretty simple.