Innocence Restored: Becoming the Girl I Used to Be
By: Susan Deborah Schiller
Today our activation takes us into all the places of our childhood where our Light shined brightest! This is where you take those photos we've been collecting and start to write a little story for each. This is preparation for establishing our identity statements, which will be used in creating a self-portrait, once we have everything in place!
The world has a built-in tendency to conform us to its own expectations. Women, especially, tend to lose our true identity as we immerse ourselves in the lives of our husbands and children. We grow weary! Sometimes we drop out. And that's when we need to be reminded of who we really are.
We write because sometimes we need to be reminded of our heart's song when bad things happen and nothing makes sense. Because in the confusion our identity can be stolen, lost, or forgotten. Because without our soul, we are sub-humans and most capable of hurting ourselves and others. Because when our innocence is restored, we become comfortable in our own skin, not comparing ourselves to others, not allowing the voices of others to derail our authentic voice.
We become "real" as we sing our heart's song. We need all of us, not just a few. We need more dread champions, not victims. We need heroes who use their authentic voice, not just an echo of someone else's doctrine, theology, or ideas.
It begins with innocence restored. Getting naked and being unashamed, as in the Garden of Eden. We must become like children to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. The way forward is the way back, as we peer behind us to remember the main themes of our lives – our true identity – and in remembering, we push the "restore" button.
As we sing our life's song, we are becoming the girls we used to be. Using "I AM" statements gives me the power to create my world – my words become prayers and prophetic decrees that form the transcript of my life.
You don't have to do this in the same way – this is just what came out of me when I sat down to write. I don't normally write this way. Just be YOU and let your words flow from your heart, as you look at the photos you've collected. So here's my life song… the words I'm using the reclaim my true identity – because we all need to be reminded every now and then!
My Life Song
Who is she with her chubby toddler palms pressed to the window pane, her nose smushed against the glass?
Her gaze is heavenbound as sparkly wonders fall down.
Cascading in swirls and whirls, diamonds and pearls fall from clouds above.
Woven into a dazzling, white blanket now wrapped over her boots.
Who is she in such rapturous bliss, who toddles and falls, slipping and sliding in the icy delight?
I AM a risk-taker, one who dares to believe, for the sheer wonder of nature and the joy of adventure.
I nurture this toddler girl in me by entering the "Holy Hush" and exploring nature.
Who is this sky-gazer, now age three, enthralled by the black-green sky where a tornado churns maliciously overhead?
In the front seat, her father is driving very fast. Her mother prays, "Dear God, keep us safe!"
"Mommy, don't be afraid! Jesus is nearby. We don't need to be afraid."
I AM fearless. I whisper a doxology in the dark.
Who is this child, now age five, pedaling her legs round and round,
to keep up with her father, a pilot, who must beat the clock.
Through a maze of hallways, bright lights overhead,
they arrive at the hangar and up in the air they fly.
Like a rocket the plane shoots up into the sky.
Tearing through the clouds, the sky-ship chases the sun.
"Susie, do you want to fly?" Dad asks.
He puts her hands on the controls, and the joy of flying has begun!
I AM ready to try new things, no matter my age. There's nothing impossible and I can do anything.
Who is this young lady, full of sorrows and shame beyond her control?
Why do bad things happen to little girls?
What is wrong with her, she wonders. Can God see her under the covers?
No answers from the adults. No one believes her words.
She hides under the blanket and pretends it's the sky.
Can You see me, she pleads.
A voice resounds from within.
"I see you, my friend."
She asks, "How can I know You better? I want to be Your friend."
Let's play a game, you and Me. What are you thankful for?
Her face brightens and she throws the blanket off.
Imagination ignited, she bursts into praise.
For turtles, magnifying glasses, and caves.
From her lips flow oceans of thanksgiving and praise.
Happiness, she discovered, is in being found
In the midst of tears and anguish and shameful remorse,
To discover you are welcome in the Home of your Lord.
I AM Papa God's royal daughter. I believe He loves intimacy with His kids, and in Him there is no shame.
I nurture this child by living naked and unashamed, walking in the Light.
Who is this girl who at age 11 wrote her first book
about an orphan who finds a real home?
She learned to ask God questions
and in asking questions, discovered God enjoys talking to us!
No one believed her; no one read her story,
So I nurture this child by accepting her into my heart's home.
I AM one of God's heart scribes. I am writing myself into a better world!
I write so that orphans find families and widows get new homes!
Who is this young woman, all grown up now, at age twenty-one?
She's lived in the Third World and has flown her own plane.
Still, she hasn't learned the ways of the world.
She will lose more of her innocence in a year, you will see.
I AM choosing to live with an open heart and mind.
I nurture this young woman in me by dancing in the dark and leaping into the unknown.
Who is this woman, now in her third decade, who dares to teach school at home.
How dare she write curriculum and illustrate her own books.
She dares to believe that mothers have a unique understanding of their child's needs.
Who is this youth pastor and church staff worker?
I AM a leader. I AM a woman. I believe women can lead.
I nurture this 30ish me by becoming a radical homemaker.
Another decade passes. She's still a sky-watcher, gazing heavenbound.
Yet, dreams are discarded. Illusions lay shattered.
Abandoned. Broken. Rejected. Despised.
The sky still beckons but there is silence there, too.
She dares to go deep within – in the solitude, in the silence, in the waiting.
Alone in the wilderness, far, far away.
I AM experiencing pain as a purpose, even a gift, and embracing the mystery that it brings JOY!
Who is this who dares to believe she can thrive in the wilderness?
She once started her own business in the wilderness of Montana, replacing her former income.
She once fought for seven years and won three settlements, totalling three-quarters of a million dollars for her disabled husband, who did not share a single penny with her.
She once worked in a boarding school for troubled teens.
She once was a school bus driver, transporting a football team in the city of Chicago.
She once was a great heavy equipment operator, co-superivsing a hazmat site in California.
She once was the regional coordinator for ten Midwestern states
and helped to plant churches.
She healed people with signs, wonders, and miracles.
I AM a healer. I am created to empathetically listen to people's life stories, to help bear their burdens, and to find joy in the adventure of freedom and fullness.
She stretched out of her comfort zone, more than once.
She rode horses and fed cows.
She climbed mountains and drank out of the fresh river streams.
I AM wild! I have tasted freedom and I can never go back.
Who is this woman who says, "I do" to love and to cherish until death do us part.
Yet her husband abandons her, after threatening words of her death.
Razor words that slice like a knife, her soul bleeding and her spirit dying.
I AM a lover of the broken and lost. This often means heartache but I will never suffer loss – all that was lost is being restored, double.
I nuture this 40ish me by reclaiming stolen destinies, my own and others.
At death's door, a small band of Lakota picked her up.
She lived among the Indians and beaded pretty things.
With each bead stitched, she gazed in wonder as the cross of torture turned to glory and awe.
Death, oh where is your sting? This time in the desert is truly Heaven-sent.
I AM always right on time. It's never too late to live your best life!
Who is this young girl, now in her 50's, who climbs mountains and sits by streams?
Oh death, there is no victory here.
Not while she's singing her life's song.
This little rose hip seems to be saying that its life is sweetest and the most rich here at the end of the season.
It's dry, withered leaves still support this valuable treat.
That's how she wants to be at the end of her growing season. Alive, vibrant, and sweet…
ready to share her life's food to the ones who need it most, even if she's wrinkled and sagging
I AM a mother, at heart. I feed and tend sheep!
I nurture this 50ish me with body love and writing the book I began at age 11. I dare to believe I can live naked and unashamed, fearlessly rewriting myself into a better world, creating a new family legacy and establishing abuse-free zones.
This is my story. This is my song.
I'll praise my Savior all my life long.
With a voice of thanksgiving and praise,
I will speak life into everyone I see.
I dare to believe the best is yet to be.
So I will keep on gazing heavenbound, counting the stars.
I focus on the horizon, chasing the Light.
I'll become comfortable in my own skin.
Life is about love.
Loving God, who loves to spend time with us.
Loving my newlywed husband, who loves to love me.
Loving my children and grandchildren more and more each day.
Loving my sister and brothers, my mother and her brother.
Loving my Facebook and Twitter friends.
And especially, loving me.
Sharing life with each other.
Many times it means saying no,
So that we can say yes to our destiny.
Never choose the easy path. It always leads nowhere.
Choose to leap off the cliff. Leap into what you love. Follow your passion.
Know the Kingdom of God is within you, as near as your own heartbeat.
You are ALWAYS safe in His loving care.
Live economically simple so that there is equality.
Talk to people and truly listen to what they say.
Most of us just want to be seen, to be heard, to be known.
And so does God.
Isn't that what life is all about?
This journey has brought me Home.
We need to see the full picture.
On one page or ten or a hundred.
So that's why I help people write their life stories.
So they can hear their own heart's song.
I needed these words today.
I needed to sing my life's song.
For in some ways, my journey is just beginning.
My innocence has been restored.
I am becoming the girl I used to be.
I dare to believe the best has just begun!
Thank you for reading this far. I don't know if it's helped you, but it has encouraged me. Many times, especially during hard times and change, we need to be reminded of our heart's song. You are born with a heart song, just like me. It's your life song. It's part of your story; it's who you are. It's who you are becoming.
Words are powerful. They create our world. We can't change our past but we can write ourselves into a better future and give our children a living family legacy. What are you speaking today? What are you writing? What are you creating today?
With all my love,
Copyright © 2014 Team Family Online, All rights reserved. For reprint permission or for any private or commercial use, in any form of media, please contact Susan Schiller.