When I look at you, I see an incredibly strong young woman. You’ve been hearing that a lot, though, haven’t you? You’re so strong. It’s as if “strong” has become a label that defines you, as if it’s something you now must live up to.
I even hear myself mentioning it. Just today, when we were talking about some of the younger Studio girls looking up to you, I said “especially after what you’ve been through,” as if somehow what you’ve been through now also defines you. As if the way you’ve responded to it is now who you are and who you always will be.
And yet I’m reminded of that verse that says “When I am weak, he is strong” and I think about how we were never meant to be always-strong. It’s not how we’re designed. We’re designed to need other people. We’re designed to fall apart every once in a while. And I guess I want you to know that that’s okay.
It’s okay to not be okay.
It’s okay if, in the dark moments when you’re by yourself you don’t feel strong. And it’s okay if, when you’re surrounded by so many people, you don’t feel strong. And it’s even okay to tell someone who looks up to you “hey, I’m not handling this day very well.”
Oddly, they might have a little strength to send your way. Young people are good at that.
Some days when I think about the last two months, I feel like a warrior. Other times I feel like a victim. I can only imagine how you feel, being the actual one with the battle scars. My emotions ebb and flow. They ride along the waves, sometimes gently, other times tumultuously.
Sometimes you seem to have bounced back like nothing ever happened. You’re the exact same person with a scar on your neck. And other times, I see you quietly struggling to hold it together. And I guess I want you to know, it’s okay not to hold it together. It’s okay to fall apart. It’s okay to lay in your bed for a couple of hours simply because you aren’t sure you can fake it for another second. It’s okay to refuse to fake it.
You don’t have to be always-strong. It’s important that you know that. You don’t have to talk about it or wrestle with it or rehash it or feel it all over again. But maybe you do. Maybe that’s how you really heal.
You’ve created this persona for yourself—this put together, got-it-all-figured-out persona that says “Outta my way. I’ve got this.” And you do. But it’s okay if you don’t. It’s okay to need other people. It’s okay to lean on other people. It’s okay to wish this wasn’t happening, that it wasn’t part of your story.
To ask God to please make something good come out of it.
And it’s even okay to be fired up mad that YOU are the person this happened to.
I believe with every single thing within me that God is in control, even of this. And while I want to know why–why us? why you? why this? I mostly know that’s going to get us nowhere. The asking of questions with no answers. So instead I will so “even in this…” and I will praise him for your healing and your wholeness and the purpose he’s designed for your life because there’s no way he’s not going to use you after all of this. If you let him, he can take your life and turn it in to a walking, living testimony. And maybe that doesn’t sound all that great right now…but someday, when you look back and see all the many people you’ve touched or inspired, you’ll get it.
It’ll make sense then, in hindsight.
And that’s the day I’m looking forward to…because I hope I’m the first face you see.
I am amazed by your strength and impressed by your vulnerability. I’m in awe of your perseverance and thankful for your spirit. You are a gift, Sophia, and in those moments you don’t feel strong, remember it’s okay. We’re going to get through this together.
You’re stuck with me, kid.