Redemption Song

I've been (mostly) offline for three weeks. I entered a time of deep silence--I actually went away for 12 days, tucked myself into quiet. I turned in my iPhone, my computer, wrenched myself away from the Internet. Somehow, somewhere along the way I'd lost myself. There was so much noise in my head. I was over-exposed, frantic, torn.

I went away because sometimes leaving is the only way you can come home to yourself. And I did. I came home to myself. I came home to my life. I came home to my family.

This is the part where I tell you that I have a very real, very scary problem with anxiety. I project a very confident, gutsy, fearless image online. But what I need you to know is that for all my life I've been running scared.

Scared I'll be abandoned. Scared I'll get Left Behind. Scared of rejection. Scared I won't be loved. Scared of the panic that sweeps over me like a black tsunami, sucking me under. I had--what my therapists call--a traumatic childhood.

What I need you to know is that even though I am safe now, I struggle with nearly debilitating anxiety--every single day. What I need you to know is that every single day feels like a fight for my life.

I also want you to know that there is hope. This smile you see? It's real. Because I am getting better every day. I have fought for this smile and I will continue to fight for this smile because I deserve to live a happy, healthy life.

I have found that strength lies in quiet trust. I have found that God longs to be gracious to me. I have found that God's love for me is everlasting.

I am free to be happy. I am free to find joy each day. I am free to laugh and be silly and enjoy my life. I am free to let my children laugh and be silly and enjoy their lives.

Yes, I have a painful past. But it is only part of me. The more important part is that I have a bright future. Yes, I have made mistakes and yes, I have wept for them.

Weeping may endure for a night but joy comes in the morning....especially when these two girlies crawl up into my bed for a morning snuggle.

Joy comes when I take my sons to water polo practice and watch them play their hearts out.

Joy comes when I watch my beautiful ballerina graduate from middle-school with honors.

Joy is quietly resting in love's sacrament....

I am Elizabeth Esther and this is my story, this is my redemption song: God has rescued me. God is rescuing me. God will continue to rescue me.

 : :

My deepest thanks to Jennifer Imus for taking these beautiful family pictures. If you're local to Southern California, check her out. She is one talented lady--and amazing with children! (She handled all five of mine better than I did!) Jen is on Facebook & Twitter, too.