For the Women Who...  Feels Like She Doesn't Belong   

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Since I can remember, I have always been the women who just wasn’t enough, always overlooked and had to fight for it all. I have always seen everything, as too far gone. Maybe you can relate, or maybe not.  I have always been the one to feel everything really big, you know- the really emotional girl. Like I could walk into a room, and feel the tension and heaviness, and or also the peace and joy. As a child and even some as an adult, someone's words to me were either the best of things or earth-shattering. I would be moved and rocked to the core by the rejection of someone and would keep allowing again and again, to be belittled and mistreated.

 

I am also the women,  that laughs too loud, can be seen tripping and falling over my own two feet, and spilling her coffee on herself almost, every day of the week – no matter how hard I try. So you can see, how my list of insecurities accumulated throughout the years, as I’m sure yours did too.

 

As I grew, life only added to the weight of my junk, sin, and mess to all of my insecurities. But it wasn’t just that, it was the fact that, the more I looked for affirmation and acceptance, the more I got cold and harsh words, and back to back experiences that changed the course of my life forever. That narrative had played in my life since I can remember- you are just too much, not enough, and don’t belong.

 

Belonging was always a fight, a power struggle, and never felt safe. It was never about being my self or being at peace. It was about just being enough, to fit in. All our heavy and broken souls sometimes feel like it’s all just too much, and or too far gone.

 

Gosh, the burden was heavy. I was sinking deep, in depression, in my brokenness. And I hid and ran.

 

Years had gone by, and I found my self, a grown woman, mother of two, more broken-hearted than ever. Not because something had happened, but because as the years went on, my hope to ever feeling like I had a home, drifted with it.

 

I had a conversation with a good friend- that lead me to say words that I thought I had already dealt with – “I think God thinks I’m too broken and don’t think he’ll ever really bless me because of it- because there is so much work to do. Why would he fight for me? It’s all too broken, I don’t have a place of belonging anyways.”

 

 As if I had to be perfect, and put together to really come to the cross. I had forgotten, that he wants us to come as we are, not so that we can stay the same, but so that he can make us new.

 

 As if the world was the giver or originator of my belonging.

 

I got really good at that- Hiding my broken pieces had become one of my best talents. Hide the pain and mess, put away the worst parts. Put on a face, for the crowds. Make sure that everyone looking in sees peace, and put-togetherness.

 

I had believed the lie, that all of my sin and mess had to be cleaned up before anyone would ever love me. Especially, that the God of the universe could choose to accept me and use me, the broken girl. That I would never, ever belong here. That surely, I would be better off, gone.

 

It was all too much. And I became accustomed to that feeling, that lifestyle. We all want to belong, we all want to feel loved, accepted, and seen as enough. We want to feel valued. And here’s the thing, we were created to feel this way, to be in need- but in need of Him, not them. Our desires and heartbeat for love, is there to be filled by the one gave it all for us.

 

But, throughout the years-  He showed me that we don’t  have to ever allow our feelings to take us back to that place, where the love of Christ didn’t dwell. See,  faith is followed by a verb- faith without works is dead. We choose it, by faith. To believe who He says we are in Him.

 

Our identity is found in Him, our belonging is with Him.

 

 If we knew, just how much God loved us- if we really understand how deep and how wide His love was – we would know, to fight those thoughts in Jesus Name. We would see them and know where they are from, and how God has said and called us the complete opposite.

 

There’s a pattern to see in all of this, those who don’t feel like they are enough, usually don’t feel like they belong, or are enough, or vice versa. 

 

It all comes down to who we believe we are.

 

And if we don’t know who He is, then we won’t ever know who we really are.

 

God, in His faithful and relentless pursuit, is and was after my broken and weary heart. He was after me, just as He is after you. To rescue us, give us new life, and send us off to tell others, of this incredible God who saved us about the Good news of our new home, the home that was ours from the moment Jesus died on the cross. Where I belonged, where we belong.

 

We have a job to do, with our words and our hearts, to love on those around us. To make sure we are building up, not tearing down. Telling them, reminding them, that they have a home.

 

Where He longes for all of His children to be.

 

God is gentle and faithful and good, and He would never give up on us. He says in Luke 15:4 "Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn't he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?”

 

He leaves the 99 for the one 1. We are the one, the one that drifted off and felt forgotten and misunderstood. We are the one, the unbeliever that was pursued by a God who whispered to our weary and heavy hearts- "daughter, you were fearfully and wonderfully made."

 

Let’s remember sisters, that the God of the Universe values us, so much so that He sent His Son Jesus, to wipe clean the sin, the crimson stain, and leave us white as snow. Clean, with a new home. What a gift.

 

And also remember, you’re a warrior, and not because you have fought the best fights- but because you are allowing God to fight them for you, and have said yes time and time again, to Him. Because you have overcome adversity, grief, and pain, and have chosen to get back up- because in our weakest His power is made perfect, and we choose to believe that in the worst of days, in the worst of times.

 

You are Victorious- daughter of the King of Kings, and you have a home.

 

A home where you are valued and loved more than you will ever know-           

 

In His arms. 

For the Woman Who...Has it All Planned it Out

For The Woman Who….Has It All Planned Out

 

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May 1, 2016. That was my deadline. I needed to have a ring on my finger by May Day or there would be major issues.  

 

I was a 24-year-old woman living in my parents’ home, saving my money and spinning my wheels…waiting for a proposal that would make it all make sense.

 

I had always considered myself a Christian; I had gone to a Christian school and youth group and was raised in a Christian family. That being said, by the spring of 2016 Jesus was more a heartwarming idea than a literal savior.

 

I had compromised sexually, emotionally and mentally. Anyone who knew me knew that I was a wreck. I was completely isolated from any friendships besides my boyfriend and my immediate family. I was consumed with him and making him happy.

 

I would wake up from fitful sleeps in the middle of the night screaming “HELP!” or even hear my own voice asking “Who is Jesus?” This was terrifying but I continued to think that a marriage would heal all the deep and scary parts of my soul.

 

All the while, I maintained an acceptable American “Christian” exterior. My boyfriend and I went to church when we could.  It wasn’t a priority for me and we weren’t involved in community or service, but hey…we checked that box.  I had respect for Jesus but the truth is, I did not love him most. I don’t think I loved Him at all.

 

Although we lived this way, I wasn’t at peace. I pushed my boyfriend to talk about the sermons we heard or tried to tell him about Christian relationship books I was reading.  It was not working. All signs pointed to the truth that he was in no way my husband, but I was determined to make him just that.

 

Time went on and May 1, 2016 loomed before me. My anxiety was raging. My boyfriend was not acting like a man ready to propose but he assured me that all was well. I thought all he needed was a push. If I set a deadline for him to meet, we could get on with our lives.

 

By April 22, the walls of my fantasy future began to crumble. I pushed him until he admitted that he was not ready to be engaged yet. He had a list of reasons and I had a list of solutions.

 

I remember talking to him on the phone, sobbing my heart out and saying out loud, “You don’t love me like Christ loves the church. You’re not willing to make yourself uncomfortable to be with me forever.”

 

I didn’t know much about Jesus intimately, but I did know that. This wasn’t true, biblical love.

 

This was the first blow to my idea that I could manipulate life to turn out how I wanted. We stayed together, but things were rocky after that.

 

Jesus started romancing my heart that summer. I read my Bible and listened to sermons. I started toying with the idea that maybe the Lord wanted to plan my life and it might look a lot differently than I had imagined.

 

I was terrified but my faith was growing. I wanted to do crazy things for Jesus. I wanted to give all of my stuff away. I wanted my life to be a mission. I wanted to pick up my cross and follow Him as He calls for in Luke 14:27. The surrendered life started sounding really attractive.  

 

I was convicted about how I had so blatantly planned my life without consulting the Lord. I fell in love, compromised, made a mess out of everything and then started seeking the Lord and asking Him to bless my relationship.

 

I embodied this scripture in James, “ Look here, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we are going to a certain town and will stay there a year. We will do business there and make a profit.”  How do you know what your life will be like tomorrow? Your life is like the morning fog—it’s here a little while, then it’s gone. What you ought to say is, “If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that.” Otherwise, you are boasting about your own pretentious plans, and all such boasting is evil.” James 4:13-16

Up until that point, I had never even considered what the Lord wanted or thought about the idea that He actually cared about my future.

From then on, I started praying scary prayers. Prayers for God’s will. I started falling in love with Jesus and He started changing me. He taught me and prepared me for the best and worst day of my life, August 17, 2016.

 

That day, I was informed that my boyfriend was not being faithful to me. I lost my best friend, my whole world, and every dream for the future in a single day.

 

When you make plans without God’s guidance, He is faithful to tear them down before they tear you down. My Father loved me enough to break apart something that would have ended in complete disaster. I’m reminded me how the Lord is deliberate in the tearing down and also the building up of His people in Jeremiah 31:28.

 

I didn’t know what life would be like after the storm. In my pride, I had determined to be a young wife and never forge out into the world on my own.

 

I stood in the ruins of the life I thought I wanted and I sought the Lord. He came through. He always does.  He is a rebuilder in the broken places as referenced in Isaiah 61:4.

 

In less than a month, He opened up a way for me to move to Santa Monica, the city where I was born. He lavished favor. He granted me service opportunities. True friendships. He gave me a community of fellow believers who didn’t make me feel like a failure for being 25 and single. It felt like home.

 

I wouldn’t trade the breaking down of my weak dreams for anything because the Lord placed a bigger purpose in my heart than the one I could have dreamed in my human vision.  

 

I got to witness first hand how His intentions cannot be shaken, just like in Psalm 33:11.

 

I got to cry to him, cry with Him and beat on His chest. I experienced the closeness of walking through the fire with Jesus. I think anyone who has been through something like that can testify that the intimacy of that time is sacred.

 

I am living what I would have considered “worst case scenario” two years ago but the Lord has been faithful to show me that what I thought I wanted would have never satisfied.

 

To the woman who has it all planned out, I say this – seek the Lord. Ask for His guidance with a pure heart. Lay out your plans before the Lord like King Hezekiah in 2 Kings 19:15.

 

When you seek the Lord’s will you need to be prepared for whatever it might be. It might not always be what you want but it’s what you need. He is your Father and He always knows best. His plans are always ultimately good.

 

I am living proof of 1 Peter 5:10. He did restore, support and place me on a firm foundation. He can do it for you too.

 

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Ashton Buccola lives by the water in Santa Monica, California with two amazing roomies.  By day, she works in marketing. She loves studying the word of God, worshipping with her people and letting the Lord do His thing with her life. She also loves Iced Mochas and Nutella….a lot.

 

Let’s be friends on Instagram: @Ashtttag