Blanche is more than my sister, she's one of my best friends - a twin soul. We possess this weird & perfect sixth sense when it comes to the other person. We both write - and have been known to write about the exact same thing on the exact same day. We also love to dance. Give us a dance floor, some music and some free time and our hearts will be content. We've both made trips to Haiti and Kenya, and both experienced the breaking that occurs when you realize suddenly your faith is growing in ways you never anticipated - and it hurts.We've been there for each other's deepest failures. When I came up with the idea for this series, I immediately knew I wanted Blanche to share. Her story is one of brokenness and healing. These past few years haven't been easy on Blanche, and as a sister it's one of the toughest things to watch - but she survived, and she's even more beautiful after her moment in the Refiner's fire. Pain.
What does one think of when they hear that word? Is it a memory? An uneasy feeling? Does it trigger something inside that causes anger?
Mine was all three.
I remember sitting there, getting ready to work my last 10 hour day at Victoria’s Secret. It was after the holidays, after all the glitz and glamour of gifts- I was packing to go home. I was packing the majority of my stuff because I was still in denial I had to come back to this place. I went to my closet, grabbed a handful of dresses and there it was, the blue dress.
The memories invaded my thoughts - I couldn't drive them away this time. There was no one to distract me, there was nothing to revert my thinking. The memory of me at the dance hall and my ex-boyfriend asking me to dance to the song, Cowgirl Don’t Cry. It was all I needed. Two months after the breakup, on December 28th 2009, I found myself clutching this dress - crying, yelling, screaming...calling out his name. You might think it kind of pathetic, or you might be able to completely understand because you have been down the same road.
I was shattered.
Looking back I can’t think of a more beautiful moment.
Rewind a year earlier- December 2008- I just started talking to the same country boy. We talked for a while that fall semester and thought it wasn’t the right timing. Throughout the next year spiraled an out of control, dysfunctional, manipulative relationship with him. We would talk, and we would stop. Boys filled my life for physical pleasure and nothing more. Parties. Drinking. Boys. Parties. Drinking. Boys. That about summed up a lot of Spring 2009. This country boy and myself grew closer and talked about the girls he was interested in and the boys I pretended to be interested in. Falling more and more for him and justifying every single moment, I didn’t realize what was happening.
Fast forward to Fall 2009. We transferred to the same school - not because of each other, of course. And within the first two weeks of being in College Station, my life fell apart more than anyone, including myself, could comprehend.
I really don’t know how to write the next few lines, so bare with me.
I come from a Christian background, born and raised in the Bible belt. I didn’t go one Sunday without hearing the gospel, and I didn’t go one month without hearing about what thou shalt never do. You shall never drink, never party, never have sex with anyone but your Husband. Throughout high school I even stood up in front of 300+ people and preached to them how you should “wait for what’s great” - and in August of 2009 I became the biggest hypocrite anyone could imagine. That night was a blur but that morning sure wasn’t. Driving me back to my place I still remember him commenting on a girl running by, “She is pretty cute..” I couldn’t hold back my anger. And I was only angry because I was hurt.
I couldn’t register this pain I had gnawing in the back of my stomach.
Fast forward a month of manipulation. It was towards the end of October, in a parking lot. We just finished working out together. He broke up with me because of the same reasons he had the first and second time. Of course this time it was official though, because we were only “talking” the first two times.
You are too good for me Blanche, I can’t do this too you, You can’t handle my situation, I don’t want to bring you down....
It had been exactly a year. One year of heart ache, confusion, manipulation, frustration, fighting, giving, and taking.
Me giving him something so precious-- something he couldn’t handle or appreciate. Him taking my dignity, self-respect, and confidence.
After two months of detaching myself from reality, I couldn’t shake the feeling anymore.
I couldn’t ignore that bowling ball in the back of my stomach. I took the walls down and let the pain flood my existence. The pain from the one night stands, the drinking, the partying, the pain of losing my confidence, my pride and dignity. The pain from losing friendships, purity, and innocence. I let it fill my life. I cried, and yelled and screamed.
And then something beautiful happened.
In the midst of crying and yelling and screaming I heard this faint, faint whisper-
I am with you.
And the crying, yelling, and screaming still came, but I wasn’t crying because of the pain, I was crying because of the overwhelming sense of hope filling my soul. I wasn’t yelling some country boy's name, I was yelling the name of Jesus. I wasn’t screaming obscenities, I was screaming about how sweet his redemption is.
Some may say there is no need for pain. But I think it is necessary.
Now is it exactly a year after everything. To look back and think about it, it literally seems like a different lifetime ago. Sometimes I don’t like to think about it. What I like to think about is my amazing boyfriend I have right now. How he fights for me, loves me, and honors me. How blessed I am to have him in my life, and how different it is. But you have to remember it. You have to tell others. It’s the only way redemption can be. Without pain, there is no redemption. And what a beautiful, beautiful thing redemption is. After all my role model set the tone for this beautiful equation: when pain comes it will end in beauty and power. My role model had to die a physical death on a cross, die an emotional death when his father turned away from Him, and die a spiritual death when He carried the sin of the world on His back. He died. He had pain. My role model has scars. But the story doesn’t end there, and neither does yours. Out of ashes beauty will rise. And he did. He rose to tell the story. And with His help I rose so I could tell you mine. A story of redemption and grace.