This article is part of the #flamfaces series.
Here, Anna Van Stralen shares a snippet of her story.
I went through some difficult times as a little girl, with some family upheaval leaving me confused and feeling isolated.
I didn’t realise it had happened but during that time I accepted a lie deep into myself which would define who I was for many years; that if I ever needed help, I would get in trouble, that it meant that I had failed.
This permeated everything – anything that required planning or help was a burden – I even kept getting my period secret because I felt that somehow not knowing quite how to handle it was shameful.
I struggled with never having the things I needed because I had a deep misled opinion that I would not be helped. To cover my deficiencies as I saw them, I started telling lies – if everybody knew how flawed I was when I made mistakes I felt I would be rejected completely.
I had a strong faith that Jesus was real and I wanted to please him by fixing myself up to be good enough for him one day. But the lies got worse and I found myself alienated from my family and struggling in my friendships, convinced I was unloveable.
I had always loved art, writing and drawing but struggled to know what to do with my life because I had been told art was not a career but it was all I ever really wanted to do.
Fast forward to a very painful time when I lost my most treasured friends and quit my architecture degree. I fell ill with glandular fever and was toying with turning my back on Christianity because I was simply too BAD at it.
I met the mercy of Jesus for the first time.
I learned to come out into the light and be honest about my struggles and flaws and found that I felt accepted and loved by him. When I really, really knew he didn’t judge me I no longer felt the need to hide who I was behind a mask of who I thought people wanted me to be.
I began to pursue my real dreams and found that there was a way for me to use my abilities after all. I met a man who loved me flaws and all and we have a gorgeous little boy I adore.
God saved me from a very dark place and like the woman who poured perfume on the feet of Christ, I am so grateful for the true love and acceptance I found in him, just the messy way I was.
“I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed.”
– Roman’s 8:18
Photo credit: Think.