I did not ask to become a pastor’s kid. I just did not. God did not care how I felt about the matter and He didn’t ask me either. And because that is the case, I have made some pretty naive but also some willingly dumb decisions that have affected not just me but my family as well. Clearly, most people would say that something like that is natural in the maturation process but most won’t really understand how, when you’re a PK, it really becomes a big deal. I hate it…but I’m wingin’ it.
My freshman year of college was…conflicted. I had recently been “dumped” by a guy I just knew would be the only one I would ever love. It was really dramatic…like…Hollywood stuff. My grandmother passed away the Saturday before the Finals week of my first semester at Penn State. I had developed insomnia and then turned around and conversely slept my life away most of my second semester. I picked up probably 30 to 35 pounds. My hair was broken off badly. I was a mess.
I came home for the summer and for that first week I slept for hours and hours at a time. I got up to eat and then I retreated back to the basement to sleep some more. My parents were concerned. Therefore, you could say that mentally and emotionally I was not equipped at that time to deal with extra drama. But as life tends to work, some drama popped off at the church that summer and to condense a long, hard story I became fed up and made a very immature decision. I took to my online blog to air out some of my feelings. Now I know today, venting via social networks is more of the norm and subtweets and other forms of passive aggressive behavior seem to be the order of things. However, I would argue that these are NOT healthy ways to handle situations, especially if you have an issue with someone else. Grow up and go talk (not FB, tweet, IG, DM, etc.)…and I truly say that in love.
Well, I didn’t know anyone was reading my blog with the exception of a few friends and I was just venting my frustration because I was done with everyone and everything. But it was seen. And then it was sent…to my parents and to some church leaders. It became a mini spectacle in a matter of hours. I was devastated because the last thing I wanted to do was cause harm to my Dad, who now had to bear the weight of his 18 year old daughter’s immaturity. I was devastated because I knew that people were talking and I knew it wasn’t good. I cried and I cried literally for hours on my Dad’s lap while he had to console me and extinguish the fire I had started. Poor Papa Smokey the Bear. This one incident was enough to make me not want to write (outside of academically) again…and I didn’t for almost two years. WOUNDED.
In 2008, I was studying abroad in Rouen, France and I wanted a way for people to be able to hear about what was going on with me, what I was experiencing, and where I was going. While over there, I experienced such a sweet spiritual renewal as the Lord used my time away from familiarity to really draw me to Himself in a way that I needed. When I left the United States on January 1, 2008, I had no clue how I wanted to feel about God, church, church folks, religion, or anything. I was still harboring some serious wounds and I had gotten comfortable with the scabs. But while in France, I felt so loved and so free…and it couldn’t have come at a better time. I kept getting these urges to write, my first urges since the aforementioned event almost two years prior. But I kept slapping them away as I vowed that I wasn’t going to write anymore outside of for my academic studies.
The urges got stronger so I prayed and asked God that if it was for me to write, He would have to transform what came from my pen. As I looked back on what I wrote in high school and in my first year of college, though my writing might have been considered good, it was so dark. Everything seemed to come from hurt or pain or confusion or misunderstanding…and perhaps that is rather normal for a teenage girl trying to fight through low self-esteem and depression. But as I poised myself to begin writing again, I knew that God had readied my fingers for more than dark words; He had equipped them to speak life. And though I can always express my struggle, He has not created me nor my story to end there – there always must be more.
So from that came The Beautiful Facade. I look back at those blogs and see how I was growing and falling back in love with God. But I still was wounded and still feeling the effects of my mistake and struggling with whether people would think I had something worthwhile to say…and so I let it go in 2010.
In June 2013, I was contacted by my friend Jade to be a participant in her series of visiting bloggers called “Ordinary People, Extraordinary God.” Naturally, I agreed to participate and while I felt honored to be asked, I was scared to death. What could I say? How vulnerable could I be without people judging me? What if my words are misconstrued? OMG…I can’t write! She sent us a schedule of when we would be featured and my date was August 22. Cool…I had a little over a month to prepare. On August 1, Jade text me in the early afternoon asking if I could submit something to her by 5 because she couldn’t reach the person who was supposed to be the guest blogger for that day. Ummm…what??? But of course I said yes and I had about 3 anxiety attacks and a near breakdown.
I got home and sat at my laptop. So many different things were floating through my head; I couldn’t focus. So I began typing about life at the moment and how through it all, I believed that God was still for me. And it flowed…and it was amazing to be able to write again. That experience, along with the recent push of others for me to start writing again has led me to the Girl with the Black Pearls. And this experience, though still new, has challenged but has also blessed me tremendously.
I say all that to say this – you never know how God will use your wounds for deliverance – deliverance for yourself and deliverance for someone else. It can be so scary when He pushes you to confront something that caused you pain but He is fully aware of what you need in order to reach your destiny. Don’t stay comfortable with the scabs; allow the healing process through to maturation. You may not be fully well…but you’ll be on your way. And that’s what He’ll use. WINGIN’ IT.
Now, I’m seeing other opportunities for writing that I am stretching myself to at least attempt. One is happening right now and I have been so nervous to step out there since I found out about the opportunity. Prayers are most certainly appreciated. I’ll keep you posted.
2 thoughts on “From Wounded to Wingin’ It…”
Ashley, God has given you many wonderful gifts and one of those gifts is the gift to write and to use life experiences to help others. Stop beating yourself up over things that happened in the past. Your family has forgiven you and you should forgive yourself and move on. We all make mistakes. This is how we grow. If you never make a mistake there is no opportunity to grow. You are a beautiful young woman no need to be down on yourself. God had a plan for you it may not be on your timeframe but it is on his timeframe. You are very introverted so if writing gives you an opportunity to release your feelings than write to your hearts content. Everyone will nit always understand what you are saying or will take your words and twist them into something mean and ugly. Your friends and family will always understand and have your back.
Thanks, Aunt Sharon! I am definitely glad to be moving past the “beating myself up” stage and just learning how to take what happens in life as blessings, either outwardly or in disguise. I truly appreciate all your support and love throughout the years!