I was a broken child. I was a broken teenager. I was a broken adult. I was abandoned at a young age by my mentally ill mother. She chose death over the pain of this life. While I understand such deep pain, I do not, cannot, will not understand abandoning your child. I have one of my own now. He’s more precious than life itself.

When a parent abandons a child, whether physically or emotionally, it causes a deep void in that child’s heart that causes her to believe she is worth nothing. That was my story.

Thank God, it WAS my story. I have found redemption in Christ and healing from the Great Physician. When I was a teenager, I almost walked away from the faith. I told God He could NOT heal my heart. My mother was gone forever, and the pain in my heart was unreconcilable…and the LORD said, “Challenge accepted.”

When I got married, my pain and feelings of worthlessness abounded. I thought that being married would mean feeling loved. My husband did the best he could to love me, but when you believe you are unlovable, you are able to ignore even the greatest attempts by others to show you love. As I sought in all sorts of ways to feel loved (cue “Looking for love in all the wrong places”…and yes, I have a song for everything), I soon realized that my attempts were useless. As time went on, I withdrew more and more from anyone and everyone who cared about me, even God. I developed a habit of fear. Fear of pain and further heartache ruled my decision making, from what jobs to take to what shirt to buy, from which social functions to avoid to how to style my hair.

Fear is ugly, but it provided me a false sense of safety. If you are not in relationships, you cannot be hurt. If you don’t take risks, you can’t fail or be harmed.

I was miserable. My marriage was on the rocks. He was living in fear, too. We couldn’t love one another when we were so focused on self preservation. In desperation, my husband found a counselor for whom our church at the time provided funding. I’d been to four counselors before and never found healing. I was skeptical, but I wanted to find peace and strength. As soon as we met Chad, I knew he’d be the counselor who would finally help me find healing. But it ended up being so much more.

I found freedom from fear, but I also found courage for adventure.

I was a fearful child living in an adult body. I’d forgotten who I was. I’d lived for so long trying to protect myself from pain, while simultaneously hiding myself away. I did not understand that I already had a Protector. I could be who HE created me to be without shame or consideration of what other people thought.

I learned to allow God to protect me so I could spend my energy flourishing into the beautiful soul He created.

In that time, one of my counseling assignments was to find my story in a fictional character. What Chad explained is that my favorite character in my favorite story revealed my heart. I knew immediately that it was Milly Wilder from the movie Because I Said So. She was beautiful, creative, and deeply caring. But she let life happen to her. She allowed others to break her down, and she ended up hurting the people she truly cared about. In the climax of the story, she stood up for herself and sought out the life she wanted.

Brokenness was my story. Courage and beauty are my life now.

I titled this blog Milly Becoming Wilder, because I have rediscovered my heart, and each day I have to allow God to love me and remind me of who I am. Every day that I live as Milly is another day closer to being wilder, more courageous, naturally beautiful, loving, and quirky.

I am Milly, and I am becoming wilder.

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