DYM: Not Guilty

Even though I love this crazy life
Sometimes I wish it was a smoother ride
Dear younger me, dear younger me

If I knew then what I know now
Condemnation would’ve had no power
My joy my pain would’ve never been my worth

We’ve all thought, “If I knew then what I know now, I would have . . . “ fill in the blank with a better choice, the straighter path, a more thoughtful decision, what you think is the right thing to do. I’ll be honest, I don’t know what I would have done if I knew then what I know now. I was a little girl who’d been violated. I’d lost my innocence, my hope, my childhood. 

And for two decades, I made choices from a place of deep, searing pain. I did whatever I had to do to protect myself. I made a choice to survive, to hide, to fade away into the darkness. And the people who should have pulled me out let me sink deeper into a private hell. No one offered a helping hand, a kind word, a hug, a kiss, a word of encouragement. They didn’t even notice that I'd died inside.

But oh, how they saved all of their words to berate me, judge me, and condemn me for my choices. They had no problem telling me how worthless I was or how I’d never amount to anything. It was easy for them to make fun of me, look down on me, gossip about me, label me. No one stopped to ask, “Why?”

Because no one cared. I was a bad girl. A fast girl. A drinker. A smoker. Loose. Wild. Crazy. But behind all of that I was afraid. Terrified. Horrified. Tormented. Suffering. Lost. Alone. Sad. Lonely. Forgotten. Overlooked. Worthless.

It’s difficult to read those words. It’s excruciating to write them and repeatedly read them as I desperately try to move on to the next paragraph, the next sentence, the next word. Sometimes I get stuck here – in the guilt. 

I cry because of so many wasted years. So many poor choices. So many times I gave myself away to drinking, drugs, sex, depression, suicidal thoughts. So many years spent clawing my way to the light. Fighting the urge to succumb to the darkness. Countless nights crying myself to sleep and waking up – wishing I hadn’t. 

Then I started having this moment – right here, right now. Where I look back and cry for a moment. Releasing a little pain and gaining more strength. It’s moments like this when I think – hey, I made it. I’m still here. 

I wipe away my tears and I think – not guilty. I did the best I could with the knowledge I had. I made choices from where I stood in that moment. I didn’t know Him then like I know Him now. Yeah. I love this crazy life and you’re damn right – I wish it was a smoother ride. But it wasn’t. 

All I can do is live now. In this minute, this second. And I choose to live strong, powerful, wise, free. I present myself to God and He says, now there is no condemnation. He loves me completely – for all of my rights and wrongs. My strengths and pitfalls. My joys and my pains. 

In Him, I’m free. Not guilty.


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