The snake came quietly and the weeds grew tall.
Choking weeds that began as seeds - seeds in the heart of a girl.
A girl who wanted love and didn't know her value.
A girl who didn't know she is the daughter of the King Most High and so precious He bled and died for her.
A girl who sacrificed herself on the alter because of people approval and in striving to win the world, lost pieces of her soul.
The girl was me.
I was a quiet, introverted girl who loved horses, ballerinas, swimming and reading.
Reading was an escape - escape into another world with characters I often related to - because I didn't relate to kids at school or in my neighborhood.
I was often overlooked.
I wasn't cool or interested in the things my peers were.
At school, I befriended outsiders.
I was kind to a mentally challenged nineteen year old, sentenced to elementary school by a school district who considered it cutting edge in the 1970's.
This did not add to my appeal.
The way I dressed, often in homemade clothes, was an endless supply of schoolyard jabs from the wolf pack.
Teachers called my parents to discuss why I was a loner.
After years of not fitting in, being made fun of (even in church and youth group) something changed in high school.
I stopped reading books in favor of fashion magazines.
I started dressing differently.
I learned to imitate my peers to fit in.
I quit youth group.
I hated that awkward, lonely girl and did my best to bury her under a pile of clothes and make-up and high heels.
I made friends, went to parties and was lonelier than ever.
These are the seeds, the beginning of sin that dominated my life.
The desperate need to be liked and fit in – my mission to avoid rejection at any cost.
The cost was high.
Isn't that the lie of sin?
It promises to deliver and fill but instead empties and takes.
I compromised who I was and what I wanted.
I never said no – the risk of rejection was too great.
I learned to lie and hide.
Instead of serving the God of the Universe, I served the god of people approval.
I attempted to fill my gaping, God-shaped heart hole with ever-changing people love.
The Road Back
In His infinite wisdom and love, God blessed me with special. He blessed me with a child who was born with disabilities, one with special needs.
When you have a child with disabilities, you don't fit in.
Your life takes a different path.
I learned to stand alone.
Yet I wasn't alone – I was never alone.
"I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth. These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them. Isaiah 42:16
He guides me along unfamiliar paths.
I grope around in the dark, trying to find my way.
When I turn to Him, He lights my path.
He smoothes rough places; gently sands edges of fear and doubt.
With heavy grit, He grinds down self sufficiency, pride and approval seeking.
He never gets disgusted or wrinkles His nose over the stench of my sin.
He lovingly removes garbage and allows circumstances to guide and correct me.
He doesn't leave me in the trash heap of wounds and mess.
I'm still learning to be myself – who God calls me to be.
God created me to be unique.
I am embraced in all my quirky, imperfection by love that never fails and arms that never close.
Not fitting in is still hard for me. I live it, I feel it – but I'm okay with it.
It's still hard to let people in – the sting of rejection remains painful.
God has shown me everyone I'm in relationship with will at some point let me down – there are no perfect people.
When I make Jesus the priority of my life and center my relationships around Him, I can trust Jesus to take care of my heart.
"The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; He delivers them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the broken hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. The righteous person may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from all; He protects all his bones, not one of them will be broken. Evil will slay the wicked; the foes of the righteous will be condemned. The Lord will rescue his servants; no one who takes refuge in Him will be condemned." - Psalm 34:15-22
Liz Petruzzi is a beach, dog and coffee lover who believes God's love is for everyone – but doesn't have all the answers. "Throughout the Bible, we see confused people trusting God. They endured hardships, death, loss. Their suffering and circumstances were part of a bigger story they didn't always understand." Liz writes about life and faith on her blog, lizpetruzzi.com and loves to connect with people who wrestle with both.