*Coney Island is disgusting, and the hot dogs and carousel were really it's only saving grace.
The beach is an emotional place for me. Many happy memories are tied there, and some pinnacle game changing moments (I wrote all about that once). Lots of soul searching and reflection can do that to a person, and the beach is great for just that. But yesterday's beach visit brought a wave of memories tucked away in a dark corner.
The year was half a lifetime ago, and to be honest, the details don't matter. I was in a destructive and toxic relationship and had surrounded myself with people who weren't necessarily encouraging in the way I needed. I was "walking with Jesus," but on this beach trip, I was playing with fire.
I have long since forgotten the days and weeks surrounding that trip, but now, looking back, I can point to God's divine protection over my heart, and even my life, in that season. But, oh, how I ache for that girl. Not that I regret the choices I made (or seriously considered making), but sad for how broken she was. Sad that she couldn't see her worth, sad that she didn't realize how much more she was treasured.
I wish I could hold her hand and say, "Run. Get out of here. You deserve more than this. You are more than this." So many lies were rooted in my heart - I was not good enough, pretty enough, skinny enough, talented enough.
Oh, but praise Jesus, He is enough, what He has done is enough, He, dwelling in me, makes me enough.
I shared this sadness with a friend last night, "Have you ever just felt like you had to mourn for your younger self?"
"But that's why God is so good," she quickly texted back, "He takes those broken pieces and makes beautiful things."
Just to demonstrate His faithfulness, now, instead of painful memories of this particular plot of sand, I have these:
Sharing an hour at sunset with the love of my life. The one God called me to. The one who started as my best friend and remains that today. The one who encourages and never pressures. The one who leads with love, not force. The one who has smelled my terrible morning breath and lived through my PMS. The one who has shared the journey in to parenthood.
On that beach, he and I watched, with satisfaction, as the one we call "son" squealed with joy, daring to chase the frigid waves, finding broken seashells, building sand castles, and enjoying our company.
God saved me from myself. I gave Him my brokenness, I begged Him for restoration (in so many more words that were so much less clear). He gave me security, comfort, redemption.
And then, as an added bonus, He blessed me with two guys who sit at dinner and argue about who loves me more, and trap me in a web of blankets, me getting snuggled from both sides.