1330. Long is the way and hard, that out of Hell leads up to light. ~John Milton

In a futile attempt to erase our past,
we deprive the community of our healing gift.
If we conceal our wounds out of fear and shame,
our inner darkness can neither be illuminated
nor become a light for others.
~Brennan Manning

Screen Shot 2017-01-05 at 9.31.09 PM.png

Everyone has a story no matter what their age. We who are older however are actually made up of a series of stories, and in each of them tides turned along the way or remained static because of the choices we made and/or the chances we took. And one of the most critical choices each one of us has to make is whether or not to be authentically who God intended us to be. Most of us have somewhat of a grasp of that early on, but adolescence is and was a game changer. Living through those years is like what Virginia Woolf once said, “the eyes of others are our prisons; their thoughts our cages.” During the formative, teen years rather than remaining true to oneself, many try to be what the eyes of others think they should be and to think thoughts and to have ideas that this body of “they” believe to be “cool.” Because teens, like everyone else, want to be liked and accepted, their innocence and naïveté prompts many of them to succumb partially or wholly to the standards and choices of others in order to remain “free” from the prisons and cages of their peers, the intimidating, corporate “they.” And I was just as guilty of that as anyone else until one night, years and years later, in the middle of a very emotionally and physically painful night, it dawned on me that though there was no one there in the darkness to help me cope, to soothe me, or to stop the pain. And that was the mid-life game changer that motivated me to walk back far enough through time to remember who Natalie genuinely was, to embrace her, and to walk into the future as the Natalie I was meant to be. A subsequent choice I made was not to let what had broken me define who Natalie was and is but instead with God’s grace to find my inner light and let it shine even if at times it yet has to break forth through tears.

Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light. ~Brené Brown

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden…” ~Matthew 5:14  ✝

**Collage of developing ages in Natalie’s life gathered and put in chronological order by Natalie

44 thoughts on “1330. Long is the way and hard, that out of Hell leads up to light. ~John Milton

  1. Wow what a beautiful post Natalie. Thanks for sharing your heart! 🙂 You are still beautiful, inside and out. Happy 2017, may this be your best year yet!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A nice post of reflection acknowledging the human side on WordPress. I admire that about you and others as well as most posts are not revealing but surface as we all do. I wouldn’t say it is a treat when someone does an expose. I look at it as courageous and is a litmus test for others to do the same and to validate your existence and for them to identify with what you are saying. ❤ ❤ ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I use to always tell my students that they had a choice in their lives…that they could either be proactive or reactive…choosing to be victim or active participant… taking ownership of all things…be they negative and tragic or joyful and uplifting…claiming life…the good and the bad
    Looking Good Natalie!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Very powerful and true statement. It is now that I am coming to realize that we as human were meant to be our true God given selves. It does take courage to be your true self, but that is the only way to be free and genuinely happy.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This is very thought provoking. I agree with the reference of Virginia Woolf. Being vulnerable is indeed risky..but the giving up on joy, love and belonging? That is where teens and adults alike, can fall harder than any other time. So much rich content here. I love your writing. It also helped me today. Thank you. 🙂 I am appearing on WIGNTV tomorrow at 2:30pm (EST) I invite you to watch. 🙂 God Bless.

    Liked by 1 person

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