What It Took to Find Me Here in the Freedom Place

I always “thought” I was on firm footing when it came to faith and living. I thought I had some semblance of what it meant to really have it “together”. I thought I could ignore those dark secrets. I thought if I ignored them long enough they’d go away. I was wrong.

layer undone jennifer upton a shared lens

Photo Credit: Jennifer Upton

There was a part of my story I just kept ignoring. I refused to give it voice. I refused to write about it. I refused to acknowledge it. It was sinful. It was dirty. It was messy. I didn’t want it to be a part of me. I wanted to divorce it from myself. I wanted to silence it forever. It had no right to be heard. I didn’t want to deal with it.

I couldn’t “deal” with it. That would mean being truly known. It would mean healing from the bruises of shackling lies and mistruths.

But that voice – a long believed lie – refused to be silent. It reared its ugly head every now and again begging to be seen – to be put in the light in order to be slain. It cried out “notice me now!” But I just kept letting that little monster live. It kept me from really being. It denied me the right to fully exist.

In some crazy twisted way, I gave it permission to enslave me, tear me down, delude me, and steal my joy. It had taken up an unholy residence.

But God came through.

Photo Credit: Jennifer Upton

Photo Credit: Jennifer Upton

There came the violent shift and shake. My captivity was about to be broken. A freedom song was rising.

The risk? There was a risk. People will know you now. People will cut you off now. No one will want you. They’ll see the real you and be disgusted. And maybe every sinner feels that way. Our sin, our wickedness, our iniquity, stares us down in the face daring us to stand in truth. It bullies us to back down. So I thought, “they’ll say ‘hypocrite’.” I hid so much of my private pain. I never really shared it with anyone. Who was safe? Who would guard the sacred pain I’d been holding for so long? Who would still embrace my life without condition?
Photo Credit: Jennifer Upton

Photo Credit: Jennifer Upton

I believed these lies, but my prayers kept crying out for freedom. My heart screamed in the stillness. This year the monster died because I met it face to face with the Sword of Truth – the kind of heart-wrecking truth that shatters deception and sets a captive soul free. A truth that beckons, “it’s okay to share in this space.” Exposure to the light, to hope, to confession, and to acceptance paved the way for freedom from the inside out.

Slaying the monster-lie allowed me to own my whole life, my whole identity, my whole being, and my whole story. Acknowledging the darkness hiding within my own heart allowed me to be made whole, and guess what? – I’m still wanted. I’m still loved. I’m still God’s daughter. He didn’t kick me to the curb. I found community with women sharing the whole of their stories.

Photo Credit: Jennifer Upton

Photo Credit: Jennifer Upton

All of a sudden it was as though I was granted permission to really love and live. It may sound asinine to you; but when you live in lies and half-truths you cease believing you’re your dreams, your life, your voice, and your faith will fully live as they were meant to be.

Once I let the word out, the fear and shame subsided, and I became unafraid to write. I knew at some point in the time the verbal acknowledgement of all my story would come, but the fact that I was able to write it out as a victory for me. And a day came when I was able to share the whole of the story – and this without the persecution, judgment, and hypocrisy.

Photo Credit: Jennifer Upton

Photo Credit: Jennifer Upton

I love that girl. She is me. I am her. She is beautiful and beautifully loved.

Maybe you’ve been there too. You need to know there is a hope for you. You need to know that you are not alone in the struggle. You need to know that there is a grace held in sacred trust for you. You are loved no matter what you have done. There is nothing you have done that will ever separate you from the love of God. May you find safety in a beloved community that will embrace the whole of you and your story.

The human impulse is to run and hide in the shaming fear. Let not that impulse drive you to the chasm of separation. May you find the bravery to share your heart and your story. There is beauty in the brokenness.


Photo Credit: Jennifer Upton

Photo Credit: Jennifer Upton


7 thoughts on “What It Took to Find Me Here in the Freedom Place

  1. Marvia, you are speaking God’s deepest heart’s desire to me today… to be naked and unashamed… free! Telling the hard thing… Marvia, I haven’t yet done it!!! You’re spurring me on, and I hope today will be the day, even if it’s just a paragraph. Thank you dear one – you are shining!
    This piece is beautiful and beautifully written, just like your heart!

    • Awwww. Thank you Susan. It took me a while to get to writing the hard thing, and the bulk of it I wrote in my memoir. I needed that breakthrough in order to get to more authentic writing. I’m still on that road. It’s still unpublished, but I am glad it’s written.

    • well, i finished the big push writing during the April Camp NaNoWriMo. I am seriously thinking of signing up for the November one so I can edit my book in 30 days. Forces my hand and keeps me focused. 30 days isn’t a lot of time, but just enough time to make me really get it done. So the hard part writing is what I will be tackling in the coming months. YiKeS! I have no idea where it will lead because I had no intention of publishing, but I think it’s what I’m supposed to do …. so deep breathe in and about to get to it 😉

  2. Pingback: What It Took to Find Me Here in the Freedom Place

  3. It’s amazing what a little daylight will do to our deep, dark secrets! Whether that “daylight” comes in the form of private journaling at first, and then some less private writings … until we realize that we are just as loved if the “secrets” are known or unknown. How wonderful, Marvia, that you’ve come into the light!

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