It's amazing to me, how much a person can grow, change, morph, deepen, soften, harden... & yet for some reason people want to be able to keep us in the same box they knew us in.
i remember when i was growing up, my room was always the messiest. It was horrible. i hated that it was messy... i wanted to keep it clean... i was frustrated by my seeming inability to keep my room presentable, & yet, all the way through high school & even into college, it was an area of uncontrolled *disorder*. When i married Neil, he was (is) a pretty tidy guy. He'd tidy up after himself ~ and sometimes me ~ and it embarrassed me. It wasn't very far into our marriage (the first year) that i made the choice to be done with disorder. We had a teeny little brand new (to us) home. We had renovated, painted & loved up our sweet little space & we had moved a couple of times already, so some of the 'stuff' was gone already in various packing purges. i don't know if i saw the light of day for several days. Neil would get home from work & praise me & encourage me & in the morning, i'd bring little Cairo down to our damp, dusty little basement & purge, organize & clean. When my birthday came, my mom bought me a brand new duvet cover & helped me sew little curtains & a bedskirt for our tiny bedroom. Our house became a *home*. i'd bring home sweet peas from his grandpa's garden & put them on a tidy table & during that time, something changed in me.
(*disclaimer* i do have 6 kids & homeschool, so no, my house isn't always clean & tidy... but i know now, that i can do it ~ i know how to do it ~ & i don't feel controlled by the disorder anymore).
i can't imagine now, if someone were to judge me based on the girl i was in those years gone by. i put so much effort into change & Neil was so gracious & kind with his bumbling little wife. The years between this seasoned, weathered mama & the despairing, untidy newlywed have brought *change*... i hope for the better ~ i hope i've grown, matured, become less selfish...
Recently, a sweet friend got a horrible email (anonymous... strange). i know her for the beautiful, compassionate, hard-working, funny, supportive wife & mother that she is. (i have a hard time believing that the person who wrote the email ever knew her at all...) The email seemed to have the intent of grabbing my friend by her hair & dragging her back to where she'd been rescued from ~ (i say rescued, because what else is it when Jesus comes in & takes over?) My friend, being wise, declined the invite of despair & instead has meekly written of her relationship with a forgiving God... who has been faithful to forgive, move past & to change.
You can't shackle someone to a past from which they've been freed.
"Not that i have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. " (Phil 3:12-14)