Fare Thee Well, Lonesome Dove

When I was 10 years old, a darkness seized my life and broke my heart, mind and spirit. A darkness that made me feel alone, unloved, unworthy, ugly, selfish, stupid and like a complete mistake. I spent 8 years completely alone in my darkness – I didn’t even let my parents in. 8 years of hiding my heart, my true self, and spending the last years of my childhood in a cloud of loneliness. Depression started in my middle school years and by 9th grade, I was pretty deeply into a secret, angry solitary state of unhappiness. I found ways of dealing with the depression that weren’t as awful as they could have been I guess… I wrote poetry constantly, but not the kind of pretty stuff that you want to read. I wrote in a cryptic verse that no one could possibly understand unless I told them the true meaning behind it – and so long as they didn’t know what it all meant, I knew it sounded absolutely beautiful and intriguing. I seriously felt like no one in the world truly loved me since they didn’t truly know me – and that if they did get to know me and know about this darkness that they would go from not loving me to actually hating me, and I couldn’t have that either. At least the limbo wasn’t so bad, right?

I hated myself. I felt like I would never amount to anything – that God couldn’t use me. And the worst part was that members of the local church communities my family was connected to throughout all these years had also thought the same thing. It was a terrible feeling as a teenager when your self-esteem is low enough already and you think people are talking behind your back only to find out that they actually were. There were a handful of times that I heard my name brought up in such a sad tone – “It’s such a shame for a pastor’s daughter to be so sad and depressed.” “I’m sure she could be a great girl if…” Luckily these were the only portions that I heard at the time. Just three or four years ago I was told that I was considered a “lost cause” and that some friends of mine should not associate themselves with me or waste the effort – I was too far gone. I know I know – I wasn’t doing drugs or getting drunk or beating people up or being pulled off to jail. But the cloud that had eaten almost a decade of my life was so apparent to those around me that they were warding others away. To them I was a blackhole and they could feel the darkness around me – and they wanted nothing to do with it.

When I graduated from high school, I completely intended to start a new life and leave the old garbage behind however best I could. After nearly 8 years of keeping a secret all to myself, I let someone into my bubble. It was scary and unnerving and uncomfortable, but it was huge for me. No one else knew – just me and this one person – about the crap that had taken over my life when I was 10. And while it helped, I still hated myself and most of the same depressive stuff was still there, I just wasn’t as lonely anymore.

I made some great friends in college who completely changed my life and most of whom are still a part of my life today. AND I developed the very beginnings of a true relationship with God – a huge step in the right direction for me. I knew that He forgave me. I knew that my darkness would pass. But I hadn’t forgiven myself for the person I had become through those years in depression and loneliness. All these scars that I refused to let heal because I didn’t deserve it… So, I finished college happier than I ever remember being, but I just knew that there was something missing – that there was something more.

Today while home alone getting rid of a stuffy nose and sore throat, I found a video I had made in college at another one of the roughest spots I’ve ever been in. Looking into her eyes – my eyes – I could see the sadness, loneliness and fear… A fear of being left behind, left to rot, and left even more broken hearted than where I started… Because once you experience what you’ve been missing for most of your life, losing that is even more painful than just dreaming about what it was like before… And I didn’t want to go back to being alone.

As I’m watching this video, I just wanted to reach out and tell myself that it will all be okay – trust God and everything will work out just fine… And I can’t believe how everything changed and worked out. I was so broken… I mean, people could sense the broken in me even though no one ever saw what was going on. I was in such a rough spot that people could just feel it. I remember some people in high school were afraid of me… I was just so strange, so dark, for a number of years. Flash forward to the summer of 2009 when Jesus took a hold of my heart like never before and showed me that I am His beloved daughter and He has everything under control. I started to see that He truly did love me and what He could do through me… And the chains just fell off and the scars started to heal up all at once. I was free of that darkness – even though it felt like just a few clouds remained, they were all blown away and I could see clearly for the first time since I was 10 years old. At 22 years old, I was finally able to be who God created me to be without that darkness controlling me.

I remember many times being completely ready to give up. While I believed in God through all that was going on, I didn’t believe He truly cared for me or would actually do anything to get me out of the mess that I blamed myself for. I remember not asking for His help or guidance because I felt like it was a waste of time to trust anyone, so why trust God? And even when I did give things up to Him, I remember being so afraid that I was going to turn out like everyone said… That I was going to be stuck in the state I was in and that God would never use me… Happiness and a life full of His glory could never find me. If I could send a letter to myself, I would just include pictures of how my life has changed… Even pictures of me smiling and in happy times from my past, you can still see the huge weight that was on me. But then I look at pictures like these and I know God was with me through it all and I would not be who I am today without all of this.

I am able to spend my weekdays in a job I love with co-workers who make me laugh and inspire me to do the best that I can. I get to photograph and plan weddings for amazing and beautiful couples who show me so many different aspects of love in the way they live their lives. I have an absolutely amazing family that has always been and will always be there for me, even if I shut them out – they are phenomenal. I have a ridiculously handsome, God-fearing, passionate and loving boyfriend who is determined to show me who I truly am in Christ no matter how much he may have to beat me over the head with God’s truth and I can’t believe that I get to keep him. I have a second family of friends who are the most wonderful, challenging, encouraging, loving and understanding people I have ever met and I could never thank God enough for sending them to me. I have been blessed with friendships that have lasted through the years and never faded away as well as new friendships that are some of the most beautiful things I have ever been a part of. I am at such a wonderful spot in my relationship with God – and it won’t stop there. He has brought me out of the woods, out of the blackhole, out of the ocean of fear that I was drowning in and has placed me on His mountain that I will only continue to climb… With friends, family and Jesus, I am never alone and never unloved and never unworthy.

Looking at all the details and issues and problems and blah blah that came into my life, it’s so hard to believe that it could all work out like it has without God having my back. My story is pretty unbelievable. And so is yours. Don’t give up. You’ll see

Oh, and here’s a song that was in the video I watched and is coincidentally a part of the title for this post. There is a point near the end of the song where you can tell that those who were separated have been reunited – the song just soars… I was 10,000 miles (or more) away from myself since I was 10 years old… and I was reunited with myself after that darkness was lifted. So, I hope you enjoy the song.

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10 Comments to “Fare Thee Well, Lonesome Dove”

  1. I love you, my dear. I cant tell you how glad I am that your ein my life.. and that youve flown out of that black hole and have become a positive, encouraging, beautiful woman šŸ™‚

    P.S. arent you proud that I read and commented on your blog… away from facebook?! ;-p

    • ā¤ Very proud of you, indeed. I am so glad we got stuck together like glue, even with those few lost years in the middle. šŸ™‚ Our lives are FOREVER intertwined. It's great. Such a God thing.

  2. AMEN, Sistah!!!

  3. Darling Daughter – I knew more than you thought…all I could do – the BEST thing I could do – was constantly pray for God to lift the darkness. I am SO thankful HE did and so proud of you and all God is accomplishing in and through you.

  4. The only thing keeping the darkness from overwhelming me (and you, Hilary), was the knowledge that God is in the darkness. He cared for us then as much as He does now. I love you Hilary. You’re mom prayed for us both. I am so glad God heard her prayers.

  5. My beloved, my only child, my beautiful daughter is in the darkness. Abiding there with it is anger, disappointment, shame, confusion, lonliness and hopelessness. Even the child-like belief in God is gone. I wanted to forward this post to her, but it would be met with a ridiculing spirit. I realized then that this post, today, is for me. And I bowed my head and prayed for my beloved.

    • Laurianne,
      I have worked with a good number of young kids and teenagers at camps who are in the same situation – including their belief in God – and I want to encourage you to NEVER give up and NEVER lose hope for them. Keep praying, keep believing, and keep pointing your daughter to God softly. I would encourage you to forward this post to her (if you would like, of course) to show her that even though you do not know everything that is going on or exactly how she feels, that there IS hope, there IS an end to the pain and there IS a light available to her in this darkness. She needs to know that someone still believes in her and still believes she can find her way to the light again, even if she doesn’t know that’s what she needs. She needs to know that you love her always – not just when things are bright and shiny. You are a wonderful mother and I will keep the two of you in my prayers for sure.

  6. Thank you, Hilary, for your quick and thoughtful reply. And God bless you as you journey toward Him, glorifying Him by putting His gifts on display for all to see.

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