My dear friend,
I want you to know that I am proud of you. I’m proud that you are thinking things through. That you are taking a good look at the things you were taught to believe and re-evaluating them. That you are searching for truth – searching for the true God. That you are determined to have your own relationship with Him with no intermediary except Jesus Christ. He is not the vindictive, always frowning and upset God that you were taught He was. He smiles at you with unconditional love and acceptance of who you are right now. He longs to comfort you. He can’t wait for the time when you discover His true character and know that He is compassionate and kind and merciful and full of grace. He is willing to win your trust; He won’t demand it.
I’m proud of you for taking on the responsibilities of an adult and refusing to be a perpetual child. This is not easy for someone raised like we were. It means a lot of risk taking, when we were taught that it was unwise to risk anything, ever. It means getting more education, finding a job, learning how to live in this culture instead of a in a fringe sub-culture. It may mean learning to drive or how to open a bank account and balance a checkbook, if you weren’t allowed to do those things before.
I’m proud of you for facing fear head on. We were taught to fear everything. I’m glad that you are willing to learn that many of those fears are unreasonable and invalid. You can drive yourself to the store and shop alone and be ok. You can wear normal clothes and not stand out like a sore thumb anymore. You can walk down the street and not fear that every man who sees you wants to harm you. The government is not out to get you; in fact, they may be able to help you at times.
I’m proud of you for seeking healthy relationships. For refusing to be a slave anymore. For learning what appropriate boundaries are and being firm in maintaining them with anyone who is determined to treat you like a child and a servant. There are good people in this world who will be good friends to you; I’m so glad you aren’t settling for any less. I’m sorry for the pain of broken relationships right now. Hopefully, those will someday be able to be mended, when they are finally willing to acknowledge you as an adult and an equal.
I’m proud of you for seeking good counsel, but retaining the right to the final decision. You are the only one who knows what you are really thinking and feeling. No one else “knows you better than yourself.” They can’t; they aren’t you. Yes, you will make some mistakes along the way. That’s ok. Failure is part of maturity. If you aren’t failing at something, you aren’t learning and maturing. (If a young child just learning to walk falls, do you yell at them for not succeeding the first time? No, you help them up and cheer them on. Same for a child learning to ride a bike or learn to read or whatever. Have the same grace for yourself as you learn new skills.) Hopefully, those mistakes or failures won’t be too painful or cause too much upheaval for you. It is good to take these steps toward independence slowly and gradually, but some of us don’t have that luxury. If you can possibly arrange to have a safety net, do so. Find wise, caring, grace-filled people that you can trust to help you work through things and who will cheer for you as you need them less and less. Things certainly will go a lot smoother that way. If you can’t find people, then find books that will point you in the right direction.
I’m proud of you for learning to accept help from others. So many of us had to be the strong one, the one who helped everyone else. Now we have to learn to accept love and grace and help and finances and emotional support and knowledge and whatever else we need. Learning to receive is a crucial step in emotional maturity. The next step is learning to understand our needs and ask appropriately for help in meeting them. Don’t worry, eventually you will be able to give to others again. But for now, just learn to receive and enjoy the love others are giving you. Experiencing it is the best way to learn how to give.
There is probably more I could say, but I don’t want to overwhelm you. For now, know that I care about you and there are many others who care about you too; you are not alone. You can make it through this. You are stronger and braver than you know.
Someone who has been there