I am so pumped to be hanging out with you again for our second chat hosted by the wonderful community that is the Everyday Exiles.

As we continue to get to know each other, I want to share with you a tribute to a girl who meant a lot to me, a girl that taught me many things.

You know how there are those people from your past who were once super important and almost your everything, but you’ve lost contact? Sometimes for better, sometimes for worse? Well it was for better that I lost contact with this person. Honestly, she just wasn’t a good influence on me and she wasn’t going the same direction I was in life so I had to ditch her. Lose all contact. Now while that sounds completely heartless, I’m telling you about her so I can’t be totally heartless. Really, this girl taught me a lot and I can’t forget her for that.

So, a little about her attributes, then you might be able to see a little why she could no longer be the girl I spent literally all day every day with.

Happiness was her biggest goal. She just wanted to be happy.

She didn’t only not trust God, but she suspected that He wanted the worst for her. Like He was out to get her. And steal this happiness that she so deeply longed for.

She constantly lived in guilt and shame. She would bring up the terrible things she had done and just constantly beat herself up about them. It was painful.

She was fearful. Always scared that the next minute God was going to damn her.

Anxious, she lived in constant anxiety.

Depressed, she was clinically depressed.

Now I could not fix any of these things for her, I tried and I wanted to so badly but, I’m not God, and I was trying to be God in her life.

But she taught me so many things.

While I watched her go through all of these things, she taught me that we need to know when to get help.

For her it was because her depression, anxiety and insomnia had gotten out of control.

She taught me that it’s okay to need and to get help, we are not supposed to struggle alone.

She taught me that it is okay not to be okay.

Very contradictory to the fake perfection that is shoved in your face every day on social media, we are messy and human and life isn’t perfect. >>>It’s okay not to be okay.

She taught me that drinking too much is bad. It just is, nothing good ever comes from it.

She taught me that depression is real.

She taught me that we can get dangerously comfortable in despair and darkness.

She even taught me that if you don’t dress appropriately you will get a bad type of attention.

So yes, this girl was not a role model, but when I look back, she is a huge reason that I strive to be the woman that I do every day.

As awful as it sounds, she showed me the exact type of person I don’t want to be, the things I don’t want to get caught up in, and I got to see the consequences of her lifestyle, first hand.

First hand because, as some of you might have already guessed, she was me.

And this is a tribute to old me. Past me. Who I was before God re-focused my entire life.

From hopeless, desperate and lost to alive and joyful and filled with hope and peace.

It blows my mind every day that God saw me at my worst and knows all of my sins and loves me. Loved me first while I was His enemy.

So, this is a tribute to the old me, the girl I was before I was shown grace and mercy by our savior.

Thank God He didn’t leave me in the state I was because I know what that road looks like and where it takes you.

I know and love people on that road, (that I’m not going to ditch, don’t worry, that I’m going to continue to love forever)

I did nothing to get off of that dark road, but here I am, up and out, all thanks to God.

It’s humbling to see where I was and where I am.

When I see people on the road that I was on, living how I was living

I can’t judge them because without God’s grace I would be ten times worse than them.

God, that is so humbling.

I was there, and I still would be …but God.

I don’t know why He chose me; all I can do is thank Him and live a life that says “thank you”.

So, this is a tribute to old me, this is also a tribute to the One who made me new me.

Lady, He wants better for you, He created you for more. You have specific gifts and talents and a story only you can live. A purpose. You are not an accident. Whatever you are caught in right now, whatever is holding on to you CAN be shaken. But not by you. The world will tell you it is all up to you. You just have to work harder want it more. The world will tell you if you are not rich and successful and beautiful in their eyes for their entertainment it is your fault. WORK HARDER DARN IT.

But no.

There is another voice that cuts through it all.

That when you are still, will speak and say, “I am God and you are not.”

And that voice comes from someone who counts you worth creating, knowing without a doubt that you will sin and spit in His face. That voice comes from someone who counts you worth dying for. Not because you are perfect or clean or lovely! Not for Loveliness, but for Love. That voice comes from someone who desperately wants to breath into you new life, purpose, and freedom.

Lady, listen to that voice.

2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”

For Love,

Lydia