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  • Writer's pictureSue Vaartstra

Hearts of Larimar #1

Welcome to my blog!

It's a safe place for me to write out some of my thoughts and feelings and unpack life a little.

Why "Hearts of Larimar"?

Wikipedia says: "Larimar is a rare blue variety of the silicate mineralpectolite found only in the Dominican Republic, in the Caribbean. Its coloration varies from white, light-blue, green-blue to deep blue."

In other circles, it is believed to have properties that help you heal. "Larimar helps to heal and tone the throat. It promotes self-confidence and encourages us to express our deepest truths and fears..."

I don't ascribe to these beliefs as a way of life, but it's sure beautiful to have a visual.And as a musical artist, I love the imagery and heart behind it.

So with that, off I go...

So here it is. April 9, 2021. Just listened to Jackson Browne's "Running on Empty" on Spotify. This song came to my mind yesterday as I ran out of gas on the Anthony Henday on my way home.

The first thoughts I had were, "Dear God please don't let trucks behind me run into me!!" as my car lost all power and I tried to get to the shoulder of the highway from the center lane.

"How the heck did you run out of gas? Weren't you paying attention??"

The answer... is no, I was not. I haven't been paying attention for many, many years.

The parallel of my car running out of gas with my own life is uncanny. I was leaving the doctor's yesterday, and knew my tank was on empty. The little gas light was lit and everything. In fact, that gas light had been lit for a couple days, but I ignored it.

As I left the clinic and headed home, I saw the warning light again, but fully believed I would make it home.

Not only did my precious 2014 Ford Escape shut down, but without any acceleration ability, (and my car slowing down to a dangerously slow speed) I had to dodge vehicles going well over 100Km/hour. I really do believe the hand of God moved me 2 lanes over to the shoulder and to safety. I thought I might get hit. For real.

I have been running on empty for years.

My tank was well below the line before this horrible pandemic started last year and I have just been running.. running...

Running away from the person God made me to be. Doing and trying to be everything other than what He created me to be. Filling roles of my own devising or roles that weren't meant for me. It's exhausting to be someone you're not.

This comes down to an overwhelming rejection of myself.

This rejection started when I was around 15 or 16 years old. It became dangerous when I turned 17 and wanted to die. I loathed who I was. I hated everything about myself. I felt crazy, and unloved, and lost, and worthless. I felt that every thought I had was wrong. That my personality was wrong. That I was unlovable and barely tolerated by everyone. That the world would certainly be better off without me.

I practiced cutting my wrists with kitchen knives and razor blades, if I could find them. I was scared to kill myself even though I wanted to die, but I practiced. Praise God, it never went further than a few cuts and knife scratches on my wrists. I would also hit and punch myself out of hatred. I always had bruises on my legs.

My butterfly tattoo on my right wrist covers that part of my arm to remind me that I am a sacred and beloved daughter of the King of Kings, and that I may not cut myself anymore or take my own life.

There is so much that went on in the 20 or so years following age 17. The thoughts of suicide and self-loathing persisted well into my 30's.

I have been on a very intense journey of healing over the last 20 years in particular. Lots of therapy, medication, a very wise medical doctor and a very loving and understanding husband. The technical terms (or diagnosis) that I have range from General Anxiety Disorder, complex-PTSD, major depressive disorder. I am sure there are other things...

But what I know now, is that the deep self-loathing and self-hatred is not something you can think away. Talking helps, and I highly recommend therapy to work through trauma of any kind. It is incredibly beneficial and an essential part of the healing process. But this self loathing and desire to die had an origin. I wasn't born this way.

I'll be 49 in a few months... and from a life time of struggle, I can assure you that the only one who can save you from this is Jesus.

There have been many, many times when I came so utterly broken to the feet of Jesus. And every time, He never left me. He never cast me aside or dismissed me. He has taken hold of me in such a tender and life changing way that I owe Him my life.

I'm listening to a song on my playlist right now as I write called, "The Story I'll Tell" by Maverick City Music....

..."And I'll testify of the battles You've won; How You were my portion when there wasn't enough. And I'll testify of the season we've crossed; The waters You've parted, the waves that I've walked..

Singing - Oh - Oh - my God did not fail Oh - Oh - it's the story I'll tell..."

And it is the story I'm telling. And one I will continue to tell: how Jesus died for me, a sinner. Lost in my transgressions, in desperate need of a Saviour. Nothing in and of myself could solve this... but only through Jesus, who gave His life for me on the cross and rose again.

That is where my hope and trust are now. And for that reason... I will look to Him for who I am and where my identity rests.

The journey now is to walk in the ways He has prepared for me.

Ephesians 2:8-10 says:

"God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago."

So my journey forward is to rest in Him and who He says I am. Then walk in the plans He has for me.

to be continued...

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