Stepping stones . . . I’m a girl hopping across the sea, stepping gingerly on the backs of ancient sea turtles that emerge from the water one by one. Their shells are strong, broad, and warm against my bare feet. The sea is still and never ending. Fear snaps at my heels, but I stare down at it and make a face because I’m covered with God’s grace. From the top of my head to the tips of my toes, I’m soaked with His scent that is the sweetest smell, sweeter than any rose.
This girl is who I am. Free and alive, believing easily in the impossible, believing in a world where turtles come to the aid of a little girl. She remembers her past with hope now. The scars that were once disfigured and hidden have healed into drawings of living color, tattoos she bears proudly.
She remembers a time in the past when her body began to change without her permission. This girl began to hide inside a suit of adolescence that quickly became a suit of fear. When she cried for help, nobody batted an eye, for her cry was muffled by the growing thickness of this suit. It was a hairy suit, a gangly one that looked awkward and made people turn their faces away. What was most peculiar about the suit, was its face. It was riddled with bumps that swelled and glistened, rendering her unfamiliar and hideous. The very same people who had adored her and cooed at her beauty, avoided her and refused to see the confusion and sadness in her eyes. They were frightened by her appearance. Some made fun of her and laughed. Others gasped in surprise.
The girl who was once so full of outspoken love and joy became silent and withdrawn. She could be herself with family and friends because they knew her, but everywhere else she was careful and watchful. Careful and watchful. Careful and watchful.
When she met kindred spirits, her own spirit would soar and people would get a glimpse of her beauty. But the One she was waiting for appeared like the wind. He looked deep into her eyes past the bumps and hairiness and said, I know you my child, and I see you. In fact, I have known you, and I have seen you since the beginning of time. I watched you grow, and I cried when I saw your little heart break. I want to tell you something: My love for you is more powerful than the tallest mountain. My love for you can shake that mountain as if it were a leaf. It can bring life to your weary bones and living water to your soul. Do you believe me, He asked. With tears in her eyes and a deep ache in her heart, she nodded her head.
The more she saw Him, the thinner the suit became until it was so light it shed like the old skin of a rattlesnake. With every step across the sea, her step becomes lighter and more certain. She knows that the turtles will continue to come to her aid and if not turtles, then whales. And if not whales, then eagles. I am this girl who is known and loved by a God whose love heals broken hearts and brings the dead back to life.