As a child I learned the age old song "Yes, Jesus loves me!" I grew up knowing that I am loved, but recently realized that I haven't truly believed it in my heart.
I was sharing with a an older friend who was my coach in a group I was a part of. As I told her my story and the struggles I've been going through, she gave me some things to think about. She challenged me to show myself the same grace and love and compassion that I would so readily show to someone else if they were to tell me their story of past abuse and pain. And then she reminded me that Jesus loved me. I began crying. Something similar happened during a session with my T.
Why did the thought that Jesus loved ME trigger the tears? Perhaps it is because I struggle with loving myself. I never feel like I can measure up. Whenever someone compliments me on something I've done, my first thought is what mistakes I made. When someone says something kind about my character or say how they admire me in some area, I inwardly cringe thinking of all my flaws and the feeling that if they knew the "real" me they wouldn't regard me in the same way.
I think the feelings of shame and guilt that I first felt when the abuse was happening have clung to me all these years. I know that it wasn't my fault, that I was just a little girl not physically strong enough to resist and too young to understand what was really happening, but those feelings don't go away. It colors how I view myself even now. How to break free from those feelings? How to really believe that it wasn't my fault and not just know it in my head? Lately I've been trying to focus more on truths than on the lies. Statements of affirmation, such as I am loved, I am a new creation and I am forgiven.
To be honest, I don't feel worthy. I don't feel worthy of love. I don't feel worthy of praise or admiration. What makes me worthy? How is my worth determined? Perhaps there are many answers depending on who you ask. For me I know that I have worth enough to cause Someone to take abuse and die a cruel death because He loves me. Now to truly accept that love, deep in my heart. To really believe in my heart that I am precious in His sight. To know that when He looks at me He doesn't see my faults and imperfections, but rather the person of strength and beauty I am becoming through Him. To be able to say with confidence that yes, I am loved. To be able to say with feeling, "Yes, Jesus loves me!"