"This is not the end of your story"
I was raised in the church with a full awareness of the presence of God but a sole reliance on the relationship my parents had with Him instead of a relationship of my own. I had a tight knit family and was never too far removed from the truth of how much I was loved. But as I grew older and started to develop friendships and relationships, all the affirmations I received from family didn’t seem to hold as much weight.
Due to a poor choice in friends, I found myself questioning my value and over time started to develop low self-esteem. In high school, this low self-esteem led to frequent thoughts of suicide as I seriously contemplated the belief that the world would be better off or at least indifferent without me. Of course I never shared the depth of these thoughts with anybody. But my mom could see a difference in my personality and whenever I felt at my lowest, she would always tell me “This is not the end of your story.”
Fast forward to college and while I no longer had thoughts of suicide, I still had not fully reclaimed my worth and value in the King. This was evident in the guys who were attracted to me. Prior to meeting my husband, I seemed to be a magnet for ones who weren’t ready to settle down but could see some sort of benefit to having me around. I remember telling one guy that I could see him being my husband and he laughed. That should have been the red flag, but out of disbelief that he could spend so much time with me and still not want to be with me I kept him in my company.
Then one day he called to ask me how he should ask another girl to go out with him. I realized then that I had been accepting all kinds of trash up until that moment and as I sat in the dark, in my room at my parents’ house that Christmas break, I declared to God that I was done feeling second rate. I wanted to find my value in Him because I knew His opinion was the most important and it stretched from everlasting to everlasting. I wanted to be someone’s first choice and I knew that I deserved to be.
Over the next six months, God worked on restoring me. He helped me see myself through His eyes and realize that I was a part of His family – that the fickleness of others should not so drastically impact my self-esteem because at the end of the day they were people just like me. He showed me that as long as I kept my mind stayed on Him – negative thoughts would lose their power to consume me. The semester following my restoration process is when my husband started to pursue me and I realized that prior to him I was attracting the wrong people because something was still broken within me. But once God mended it, I attracted people who were not like the person I had been but instead were people like which I aspired to be.
Though my time in high school and early years of college were tough spiritually, God has revealed to me that my story wasn’t just for me. I’ve been able to minister to young ladies in my church’s teen ministry and even got to write my first book called The Black Girl’s Guide to Living on Purpose.
My hope is that if I can connect girls to God earlier and depict the importance of knowing Him for themselves as soon as possible, then the rates of suicide and the amount of teens with low self-esteem can drastically decrease. Primarily because instead of looking around for their value, worth and purpose – they’ll look up.
If I could share one piece of encouragement – it would be the words from Philippians 4:8 Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable—if there is any moral excellence and if there is any praise—dwell on these things.
Brie Lightfoot Smith was born and raised in Texas. She loves helping girls discover their God given purpose. She is also the author of "The Black Girls Guide to Purpose" // For more information check out her website @ http://blackgirlswithpurpose.org