A Message of Love…..

This is an immensely personal (and long) post. Some people who know me from life, work and online will judge me and refute this. That’s okay. My hope is that if this helps even one person, it will all be worth it.

The first 20 years of my life were a complete disaster. Years of abuse (mentally, physically and emotionally). Even now, every day of my life, I stand in the mirror and see scars on my body that I will see for the rest of my life. My doctors will see scars in private places, forever. Anyone I am intimate with, will see those scars, for the rest of my life.

I did not understand for the longest time, the scars on the surface of me, were just the tip of the iceberg. I was angry, bitter and living under the burden of secrets, lies and manipulation. Which lead me to end up locked up at a young age.

When I was finally released, I married the first man that paid attention to me, because I truly believed no one else would ever want someone like me, so obviously lacking and damaged. More years of abuse… my anger and bitterness only grew deeper.

When I finally left that situation, I thought I had found someone who would save me, not knowing he was where I was, AND only God can save people.

My anger, bitterness, blaming and running only grew deeper. In my mess and running, I have been a pimp (selling someone’s mother, daughter, sister, wife to support my addictions), I was a thief, a liar, a cheat, and even indirectly (because I was too high to protect him as a mother should) to blame for a head injury that left my little guy permanently disabled. To list the things that I had become and done, because I kept running from God, would require an entire book. To say, I was the worst among us, is to put it VERY lightly.

My anger, bitterness and burdens began to permeate every area of my life, until I walked away from family, friends, my business, and eventually landed back in LA. But rarely left my house, paralyzed by fear that anyone who looked at me would see the horrible things that had been done to me and the horrible things that I had done as a result. I removed all mirrors from my house, because I couldn’t stand to see the scars anymore or to look at the hideous person that stood before me. I only left my house to take care of what I needed to for my kids. I shopped online, had groceries delivered… for months at a time, I completely isolated myself from the world.

Ten years ago (May 20th, 2005), while I was in my mess, hiding from God, the world and myself—deeply in pain, paralyzed by my past, angry and bitter and ashamed, living in my addictions, living in my mess—a woman from a small Baptist church that I had been sporadically attending, came to my apartment at the time and handed me a TD Jakes “Woman Thou Art Loosed” Bible and said to me, “I know it feels like you’re alone and not a single person in this world cares about you, and that may be true, but I’m here to tell you, I love you and more importantly God loves you.”

What she didn’t know and what no one else knew at that time, I was planning on dropping off my children (to protect them from the horrible person who was their mother) that weekend, to end my life. I had the drugs to do it and I was writing a letter to my children, so that they would understand that I was doing this to save them, from me.

She tried to hug me, but I couldn’t accept it, so she handed me the Bible, I took it, played it off, thanked her, shut the door and went back to my planning while the Bible sat on my bed. At 7pm that day, she called me and asked me if I had read her note inside. I lied, told her I had and went about my business. But something moved in me, to eventually read her note.

It simply stated: “I’ve heard what people have to say about you and I don’t know your story. If you can, please just read Jeremiah 29:11 and Isaiah 61:7.”

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

“Instead of your shame, you shall have double honor, and instead of confusion, they shall rejoice in their portion. Therefore in their land they shall possess double; Everlasting joy shall be theirs.” (Isaiah 61:7)

Thank God for a praying woman who was obedient and loving, when everyone else treated me like a leper.

On that day, I gave my mess/life to God. But He wasn’t done yet. He moved me back to the place where it all started, so I could face what was inside me. When he was done with me there, He took me back to LA to face everything else and do what seemed at the time to not be humanly possible.

I returned to LA a changed woman, definitely a work in progress, but for the first time in my life, I had experienced unconditional love, grace and mercy. I had to return and face all the people who had hurt me and I had hurt.

For seven LONG years, I lived alone with my children (God knew I needed to be alone with Him to make this work). I did not date, I did not go out, I did nothing but work on restoring my relationship with my children (who are all now baptized and saved) and come hell or high water, reconciling myself to the people I had hurt, even the ones who had hurt me.

I’ve been through, done and seen more pain than I can ever express, but nothing prepared me for how hard it would be in that 7 years to love people who continued year after year rejecting me, demeaning me and holding my past over my head, in spite of their own mistakes.

But He kept me strong. They thought they were taking advantage of the new me, but they didn’t know God was working on both sides and honestly, neither did I. Some took years to reconcile with, some have hardened their hearts completely. It didn’t matter to me, I could see, slowly and surely, how God was restoring what I and others had destroyed.

As I’m learning, He’s never really done with us. There is/was one more thing, one more situation, one more deep, deep wound he needed to heal in me. Because in my immaturity and fear, there was a part of me and a wound, I thought I could heal myself, it was hands off to Him.

For that 7 years, I was working for Him and for a result I thought I had to have to be happy, that one final pinnacle, that one thing. We were playing a game of cat-n-mouse, I wasn’t willing to let Him have access to this one thing. The one thing that I held dearest to my heart, connected to the deep, deep issues that I didn’t know I had to face—my fears of abandonment, rejection and insecurities that kept me in a prison that would eventually come to a head.

I was still in a prison of my choice, because my happiness depended on this one thing—and sad to say it wasn’t Him.

This was the truth I had been running from for years, and years, and years. Two weeks ago, He revealed that truth to me (ALL of it) and it devastated me. A pain I have never felt before, because it destroyed the one thing I was “working” for over the past 7 years. The one thing that truly mattered to me, above all else.

It shook me, shook my world and almost shook my relationship with Him, but God… For two weeks I was right where I started, wanting to just end it all, obviously God had failed me again, He lied to me, blah blah blah.

And as He had done many times before, He got me alone, on a 3 hour drive back home from LAX… rain, miserable LA traffic, me and God. As I feel all the anger, bitterness and pain rise up again in me…. As I’m cursing at the traffic, flipping off every driver on the road, Tupac “Me Against the World” blaring out of my speakers… I hear…

Do you love me?

Me: The question is, do you love me? If you did, why are you taking from me the one thing, the only thing I’ve ever asked you for, the one thing I love above all else? You don’t love me. You never did. Just like everything else and everyone else, it’s all fake, it’s all a game.

Do you love me?

Me: Yes, I love you.

Are you ready to accept my love and trust me now?

Me: Trust you, you lied to me?! You played me, just like everyone else! I did everything you asked, do you know what I had to endure to do what you wanted me to do?! (Of course He did! lol)

I had to pull over, because at that point, I couldn’t see through my tears, I was yelling, I cannot even imagine what the other drivers were thinking…

And as I ranted and yelled, all the reasons why He was wrong, He lied to me, He was just like everyone else… so hysterical I had to take a deep breath… and in that moment… He said…

When everyone gave up on you, I loved you. When you didn’t love yourself, I loved you. From the day you were born, I’ve loved you…

And in that moment, every memory of His hand, came rushing back to me, every scripture He had ever pointed me to, came back to me (verbatim, from memory), everything He had done for the son I let down, causing doctors to be baffled at his progress, came back to me… The memories of seeing my children (all 3 of them) baptized and giving their life to Him, came back to me… Every fleeting moment He gave me joy, came back…

And for the first moment in my entire life, even in the 7 years He faithfully led me, I realized He did love me and I could trust Him… His love is not contractual and/or based on performance or works…

We talked it out… by the time I got home, everything I thought I knew, everything I was feeling, everything I believed, changed… That heavy burden, made up of shame, lies, secrets, denials, and all the mess, was gone…

I still feel the pain of what He revealed every second, of every day. I still look in the mirror and on good days, I at least don’t see the ugliest woman in the world, on bad days I cry because I feel dirty and ugly. I still have nightmares about things that happened to me. I’m still working on getting back into the world (instead of hiding). I still feel immensely insecure and broken. I’m still afraid of meeting new people and what they might see in me.

At 41, I’m still learning how to be a good woman, good mother and even learning things that most people take for granted. I still struggle every single day with self-hate, depression, negative feelings, not trusting and hiding in my cozy, safe home… even though I’ve been hugely successful in my business, I still feel like a fraud… and even on the worst days, I still struggle with seeing the value of my life… I still flinch sometimes when people get too close to me or raise their voice…

In spite of all that, there’s one thing I know for sure… everything works together for good, for those who love and serve Him. Every. Thing. I look back now and thank God for everything I’ve gone through. All of it.

I can look at that person who has betrayed me over and over, and feel compassion and the pain that must be driving them… I look at other people I had written off because of unforgiveness and feel sadness for what they are going through…

Next month, I hope to attend an event in LA, where people in the industry I’ve built my business in for years (completely online and never actually meeting people), will meet me for the first time. And this weekend I’ll be attending church with someone it took 7 long years to reconcile with. What a difference God can make.

Please be kind to people. Whatever people post on social media, you don’t know the struggles they are going through, everyone has real, deep, painful struggles/losses. Hurting people hurt people.
Whatever people have done, whatever you’ve done—never give up on them or yourself. Some people are hurting so bad, they feel numb and it may seem like they are beyond reach or out of their mid, but no one is beyond His reach. No one.

Forgive people. Forgive yourself. Let God into those dark, deep places you’ve never let anyone into. Giving it all to Him won’t make it easy (quite the contrary), but it will make it all worth it.

Today has been a good day, tomorrow may or may not be. Whatever comes, I’m going to make the best of how ever many more days He gives me. I’m going to remember what He did for me, so that I can be that for other people who desperately need it.

I hope you do the same.

Xoxo

Maria

February 18, 2016

mariamcdavis.com/

 

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