I’m Not Who I Was.

A whiff of perfume.

A taste of your Mom’s meatloaf.

A photograph.

There are many things in this life that can serve to transport you. to support you. to transform you.

Mine is music.

Music is an extension of me. It’s helped shape and define who I am, solve problems, and find solace and companionship in some of my darkest times. I’ve often heard God’s voice through my life’s soundtrack. It’s like He knows exactly what I need to hear, when I need to hear it, and more importantly, when I’m *ready* to hear it.

For years, I had an addiction. I was addicted to a message board that, for much of my time on there, was a toxic environment. I had seemingly constant conflict with active and respected members of the community, but that shouldn’t have mattered in the “big picture” of my life. But I kept going back. For six years.

December 18, 2008 (coincidentally, the day after I found out I was pregnant with Middle): I was hurt. I was hurt badly. Back then, I would have said “I wouldn’t have wished that on my worst enemy”, though I know it wasn’t really true. I wanted them to hurt too. I wanted them to know how it felt to have people hide behind a name and call a spade a spade in the least tactful way, and the most damaging way possible. I wanted revenge.

And so God pressed “play” on the soundtrack of The Debacle, and it would take a full two and half years for Him to finish the mix. It only has 3 songs on it, but each one speaks volumes (in my opinion) about where I was, who I wanted to be, and who I am today.

I felt pulled to these songs. They so aptly revealed how I was feeling, summing up what I could go on about for days, in 4 minutes or less. Each one, I believe, was specifically chosen for me at the perfect timing, almost like a creature comfort; something that I could hold on to, hear the message over and over, and feel dignified once more.

At first, I attacked. When I look back on the song that so perfectly put my situation to music, I realize I was only using someone else’s words to hurt back.

“How do you deal with the consequence,
now that we bear the weight of your arrogance?
I know you and your cons,
your petty little bombs,
but who will you blame your troubles on now?
We all pay in time,
so how will you clear your conscience when your lies unwind?”

I read them now with pain, not for the situation that ultimately made me stronger, but for the anger that I felt when I made this song my “tribute”. I hid behind the song. I stood on my own convictions that *I* was the victim and that *they* were the enemy. And I let that hate fester in my heart.

May 2009: I walked away. I walked away from the board. from the toxicity. from the pain. from the addiction.

Then came the start of my looking for peace. While running on the treadmill in my garage, I heard a song that so filled me with peace that separating myself from that toxicity was the best thing for my family, for my heart, for my life. There, on my treadmill, I was crying. I was pressing the back button over and over and over and over and over, until this song was engraved on my heart.

“But you’re neither friend nor foe though I can’t seem to let you go.
The one thing that I still know is that you’re keeping me down
You’re on to me, on to me, and all over…”

I realized I no longer ached for justice. I no longer wanted revenge. I wanted peace.

July 2011: I find out that a friend I have made at church is friends with one of the people who posted about me in 2008. I value the friendship and trust of the new friend, and felt a pull on my heart to tell her that we had a mutual acquaintance. There was too much past for me to feel like I was still staying true to myself while keeping that fact a secret.

As I was getting ready for church this Sunday, I was listening to KLove on my phone. I heard words that, again, perfectly summed up, and completed, my mix.

“I wish you could see me now
I wish I could show you how
I’m not who I was

Used to be mad at you
A little on the hurt side too
but im not who I was
I found my way around to forgiving you
sometime ago
But I never got to tell you… so”

For the first time since December 18, 2008, I wanted felt called to contact the person who I was the most affected by. I felt God had put her back in my life for a reason. I take it as a lesson in obedience to Him. I know that anything that should (or doesn’t) come from this is His Will, but I’ll know I’ve been faithful.

I surprise myself when I find myself praying for my enemies. I pray for their health. I pray for their families. I pray for their salvation. I pray that they may know change can happen.

I know it can, because it has.

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