When I was a kiddo – I loved making forts.
There was something so fulfilling about the effort and creativity it took to envision and bring to life the “fort masterpiece.” When it was finally complete, I found such contentment in settling into the “main space” of the fort (often an enclosed space in front of the TV ;)). I would plop down with my pillow, sit back and relax, and enjoy the fruits of my labor and the final product: often sharing in the experience with my brother (Dave) or my childhood best friend (Jen). I have fond memories watching the Little Mermaid, Dirty Dancing, or some other film I loved as a child from the safety of my fort cocoon.
There’s something about being surrounded and covered…the comfort and quiet it brings.
There are special moments in life when we are blessed to experience this feeling of being enveloped, this feeling of “safety.”
Moments such as the one this picture was able to capture (which I stumbled upon during an afternoon walk through Dolores Park).
As I have journeyed on in life, grown in my faith, and been exposed to both the hills and valleys of life, I have experienced for myself how seeking out these moments of serenity each day is possible: no matter the current circumstances. But folks, it takes effort. It’s hard enough to find these blessed moments when life is smooth sailing; however, it’s particularly difficult on hard days or through stormy seasons. It takes work, but it is possible to experience joy despite the pain, hard times, and drought seasons in life.
It’s possible to see the beauty in the ashes. But sometimes we need to SEEK it out, otherwise all we will be left with is regret over what was or could have been, grief over what is, or despair over what’s to come.
It requires concerted effort and dedication to set aside time for yourself consistently each day to seek out silence and solitude to do the introspection necessary to encourage positive changes in your life.
The past few years for me has entailed a lot of self-discovery, battling internal demons, and enduring trials to bring me to where I am today. If you’re interested in hearing more about that, feel free to check out my post about My Undoing: Ruined for Redemption.
I am SO thankful for the “hard times” I’ve had to endure in my life.
Seriously – SO thankful. Now don’t get me wrong, while going through a very dark season and the challenges required to break through, my attitude has not always sounded like, “Yay, more trouble! This is great! Think of how much I am going to grow now!!” Uhhh, no. Are you kidding me? Challenge is hard: often unwanted, painful, and resisted. It often involved me kicking and screaming, putting up fierce resistance, and wailing for rescue – until I finally realized I needed a different approach in order to move forward.
A few years ago, I was faced with circumstances that forced me to stop running. I admitted that it was necessary to stop numbing, distracting, or wishing away my problems or current circumstances. It was only when I finally decided to challenge them head-on that I was able to finally start breaking through the layers of bondage that had held me captive for years.
It’s truly been through adversity wherein God has helped me meet my True Self. I have been reintroduced to the “Rachael” – the person God intended me to be. As I’ve grown in my faith, God has helped guide me to discover and step into my unique gifts and passions and believe in my true potential.
Instead of trying to “fake it ’til I make it” or trying to “clean up” my image in order to “become” or “appear” as the person others want me to be, I now embrace my True Self as she is and am able to see the beauty in her uniqueness.
God consistently shows me there is nothing I need to do or change in order to be more fully loved than I already am right now. He is teaching me to see myself as He sees me more and more. He not only makes me feel “whole” and completely surrounded in love and acceptance; but He also makes me excited about what He has planned for tomorrow. I’ve been destined for a specific plan and purpose – as has each of us. It’s a mission only I can carry out in accordance with the unique plan and purpose God intended for my life.
I no longer need to make forts to feel safe.
I now know that I am enough, am perfectly loved and embraced, and belong in this world just as I am. I am constantly surrounded by the most POWERFUL Source possible, so I have nothing to fear. The more I seek awareness, the more I am awakened to His inevitable Presence and destined purpose for my life. The more my eyes are unveiled to the fact that He is always with me: always has been and always will be.
Although – forts are fun…I may just need to recreate one for nostalgia’s sake (my dog Chloe would LOVE it)