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It All Started with a Prayer... (Part 2)
How a prayer for others led to my racial healing.
As you read from the title, this is a 2/2 article. So if you haven’t read part 1, click below to catch up. It will give you a bit of context for what I’m about to share. Go ahead. I’ve added a link there that will bring you right back when you’re done.
Ok. All caught up? Great!
So where was I? Oh, yeah. When I started praying, it was for others, not me. Then God flipped the script on me.
In my mind, I was finally in a good place. My marriage was great, the kids were happy and thriving, and I was finally able to look at my own reflection without a defeated sigh. I mean come on, that’s a win, right?
But God wanted so much more for me.
For me, the idea of liking myself went much deeper than being okay with my reflection. And to be quite honest, I’d accepted that would never happen many years ago.
“I want you to see yourself the way I see you.”
The invitation echoed over and over, as soft as a whisper, and as persistent as a drippy faucet. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t ignore it. And I desperately wanted to ignore it.
“God, we’ve been down this road before. I know how this ends and so do you. No one wants the whole me and I finally like the version I’ve perfected. So let’s just leave this alone,” I whispered back.
It hadn’t always been this way, me feeling like I had to hide pieces of myself away from the world.
When I was little, I was carefree and happy…until I was 10 years old. That year I switched schools and for the first time, discovered I didn’t fit in the right box. Funny. Until then, I didn’t know I needed to fit into a box at all. But I quickly learned my skin was too dark, hair too frizzy, mom too White, and dad too absent.
At first, these challenges seemed out of my control. But where there’s a will, there’s a way. And it didn’t take long for me to find mine. I stopped my favorite hobbies like swimming and riding bikes. I started covering my skin and staying inside so it would stay as light as possible. I learned to “control” my hair with heat and chemicals. I perfected the art of passing. I rejected anything about myself that sparked questions I couldn’t answer about a man I’d never met.
I’d finally found my box. I put that little girl inside and tucked her far away.
So far that it took 30 years before I let her out again.
While I knew I had a choice, it didn’t feel like it anymore. Fear paralyzed me. What if my husband rejects me? What if this confuses my kids? What if my friends walk away? What if I just become “Torrie, the brown girl” again? What if I lose everything I’ve worked so hard to build? Thirty years is a long time. This was the only version of myself anyone knew (except my mom, and that’s a story for another day).
Despite my fear, I knew it was time. I couldn’t keep living this lie,
and yet the truth held a terrifyingly uncertain future.
Sobs shook my body as I surrendered.
I wish I could say I looked at myself in the mirror and instantly loved every piece of myself, but life rarely works that way. And it didn’t work for me like that either.
God isn’t a fairy or genie who taps your head with His magic wand making all of your hard, messy, painful moments disappear in a glittery mist. He is a friend who sits with you in the mess. He is a restorer who brings beauty to ugly parts of our stories. He is a Father who recklessly loves us and longs for us to see ourselves through His eyes.
Sometimes people say if they’d known how hard the journey was going to be they would never have done it. I’m not one of them. I knew exactly how excruciating this was going to be - on me, my mom, and my family. So why put yourself through all of it if you were fine with how things were? Honestly, I wouldn’t have on my own. But God… Oh the stories that begin with “But God…” He had a purpose for it all - my pain, my passing, my Mix, my story - and it was time to heal so we could get to work. And so the journey towards my racial healing began…
Friend, what do you keep hidden about yourself? You know. It’s the thing you believe God didn’t get quick right when he made you. For me, it was my Mixed Race ethnicity, including my skin tone and curly hair. For you, it might be a physical feature, insecurity, limitation, or something so personal only you and God know.
Friend, we all have something about ourselves we try to change, hide, or ignore. But what if your “thing” is what God wants to use to help others? What if the thing you dislike about yourself the most is actually your purpose? I know it sounds crazy. But if you would have told me a few years ago, I would be sharing my Mixed Race experiences as a tool to help others who are struggling as I did, I would have said you were lying. Like I said before, God works in mysterious ways.
This week, I challenge you to pray for a new perspective. It might be messy, but it will lead you to beauty.
I’m cheering for you!
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Now it’s your turn. I’d love to hear your thoughts & questions.
A Little Something Extra…
Each week, I like to share a little something extra, something I’ve found fun or helpful. It might be a post, book, podcast, tv show, movie, song, Bible verse…or something else I think you’ll enjoy.
This week, I’m sharing one of my favorite Bible verses.
Growing up and even as an adult, this verse made me so angry at God. It says how we are fearfully (or meticulously) created. How wonderful God sees us. But I couldn’t see myself through His eyes. I only saw myself through the perspective of people - and they definitely didn’t have His vision.
Psalms 139:14 - I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful, I know that full well. (NIV)
I never saw myself as being wonderfully made. In fact, the concept made me even more angry. God had every cell and molecule at his disposal and this was the best He could come up with. Seriously! I saw myself as a misfit, a collection of unwanted parts. Remember the misfit toys from the holiday special? That’s where I thought I belonged.
After I began healing, I reread this verse and it began to take on a different meaning. Suddenly, I saw the first three words - I praise you… I had never praised God for choosing to make me the way He did. I found it’s really hard to be angry at God when you’re praising Him.
Friend, this verse is true for you too. YOU are wonderfully and purposefully made. When God looks at you He doesn’t see a mistake. He sees His masterpiece. And He longs for you to see yourself that way too.
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