I dedicate this to the Hernandez kids – Briana, my sweet daughter and compassionate girl who will ignite the world with her art; Xavi , the smart, technically minded kid who will one day be driving the slickest race car around; Michael, the individualist with a tender heart who I believe will go on to be a leader and do great things; Sara, the girl with the heart of gold who will probably make it big in the music industry.
Did you know that you are fearfully and wonderfully made? Did you know that there is no one in the world just like you? Did you know that God has a unique purpose and a plan for your life? Did you know that you are unconditionally loved?
Maybe I’m sentimental because you are all teenagers now, and in just a few short years you will be out in the great big world. Xavi, that reality is coming sooner for you. It could be, though, that I am remembering my teenage years and just how rough it was to envision my place in the world. There are so many voices vying for your attention and it can all get to be so confusing and crazy. There is a voice deep inside your soul, though, that knows you like nobody else does. You can call it what you like but I call it the still, small, voice of the Lord.
You see, for far too long I shut that voice out and paid attention to all the other voices – the voices that said
You have to look like a supermodel or a Baywatch babe (you’re probably too young to know about Baywatch)
You have to be good at everything you do or your a failure
You have to strive for the big house with the two-car garage
You have to marry the perfect man by a certain age or you’ll be an old maid
But, you still have to party till you drop and live for yourself
Put on your happy face because you don’t want them to know your secrets
Avoid confrontation, just bottle up your emotions
And many many more…
You know what those voices did after invading my mind for so long? They suffocated the person the Lord made me to be. I lost myself, I lost my dreams, I lost my creativity, I lost my genuine smile, and so much more.
I remember nights that I would be all alone in my apartment after a night of partying, and under the influence of alcohol, when I would hear “the voice” ask me in the gentlest way possible…
“Are you ready, my child?”
“Please God, not right now, give me more time, I’ll eventually do things your way but just give me more time.” I would cry out in response.
Let me flashback for a moment to my childhood. The voice told me many times in the dark of the night over the span of many years “My child, one day you will work for me.” This gentle voice didn’t quite fit with the vision of the angry God I had in my mind, but that’s a story for another time.
Do you know how long it took me to get back to even a glimpse of the “me” He created me to be? Well over 20 years. I won’t say those 20 years were wasted. He works all things for good, even crazy detours and freefalls off of treacherous cliffs, but I know that I was on a broken road. It was a road that was so far away from my dreams that it would take rock-bottom to wake me up.
I like to think I am off the broken road now, but there are pieces of gravel that I picked up along the way that I constantly have to ask the Lord to help me unload. It can get pretty tiring, but He always helps me through.
So, why am I sharing all of this with you? Because my heart is beating a hundred miles a minute and sharing this and getting it all out there is the only way I can get it to go back to its normal rhythm. I guess these moments of creative mania are God’s way of helping me catch up with all of those years I put the brakes on creativity. Sharing my story helps me, calms me, forces the tears that help me heal. I pray also that my story helps you too, or even just one person who may be reading it in cyberspace (do people use that word anymore?)
So, as you go through life…please take some time to be still, shut everything off, go somewhere quiet…and listen…for “the voice” that matters.
Mom & Aunt Tina
“Be still, and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well. Psalm 139:14
Note: I believe this letter was prompted by a podcast I listened to yesterday titled Voice – The Narrative That Guides by Erwin McManus. You can access the podcast here: http://mosaic.org/podcast/feed/
It is so amazing how God works!