I loved that place.

Our old house that told many stories through all the creaks, secret doors and peeling layers of wallpaper.

The perfect house for me and my imagination.

My favourite spot was the treehouse. I’d always wanted a secret lair surrounded by branches. I’d keep my brothers out, and I’d retreat with my stack of books and get lost in other worlds. Those were the years of Harriet the Spy, Famous Five, Encyclopedia Brown and the rest of my favourite childhood reading adventures. 

My memories of home in that little town are so powerful and strong. It was my safe place and sanctuary and I still dream about that house. Yet that season was also a deep time of rejection. Traumatic things happened. Leaving the house was hard. It was painful to be new, and for my young heart it was scary when I had to go outside the brick walls of my home and leave my beloved treehouse behind. 

I still remember the dagger-like words, what I was wearing and places I stood. Hate that was thrown. Fear that took over. Avoiding mirrors and reflections and shoving identity deep down to protect my heart. 

Every night in bed, I’d imagine a machine. It was like a slide. I’d start at the top as myself, then when I came out on the bottom I was whoever I wanted to be.

I’d imagine myself beautiful.

I’d imagine myself popular.

I’d imagine myself loved by everyone. 

I’d imagine myself not as myself.

Pretending to be all the things I was certain I was not. 

Life went on. We moved again. I grew up. I worked years on overcoming hurts from there (and other places), knowing there is healing for deep wounds. Yet, sometimes the past pops back in for a visit and tries to take over the future. 

Even now. In a seemingly healthy grown-up life facing new seasons and change, all those emotions sometimes try to come back to the surface.

All of a sudden I’m back on that playground, the biggest misfit the world has ever seen.

Maybe you wear pain too, heavy and hard to take off. Struggling to get out from under the weight as the way ahead looks unclear.

Like a coat you can’t get off.  

Or cracked glasses that affect the way you see.

Sometimes we tell ourselves lies.

We clothe ourselves in heaviness.

We let past experiences affect future destinations. 

Don’t get stuck in pain places. 

I have something I’ve trained myself to do over the last couple years. I don’t do it naturally, I do it intentionally. It takes effort and commitment, but I can control the way I think. We all can. When I feel that old familiar hurt, sting or pain –  I change the course of my thoughts. I adjust my focus and do everything to push heaviness off and adjust my sight.

Look doubt and rejection in the eye. I know who I am 

Give inadequacy a swift kick. I can do all things

Stomp my foot hard. I won’t get stuck here

Throw it all off. 

I am exactly who I’m meant to be.

Living life where I’m called.

Trying to be better. 

With purpose set out before me.

Trusting the One who is stronger than any pain I could ever wear.