It’s always a little quirky and clever when you stumble into truth that turns depression into dancing and timidity into boldness. When the wisdom you passed off as cliché comes knocking at your door, barely two steps off the welcome mat, making itself at home.

I have walked through the last two years of my life holding the hand of shame, depression, anxiety. And while I self-preserved, I grew smaller, more shy, quiet. I didn’t recognize myself in the mirror.

But lately has felt like the culmination of a God on the move. Because it’s the same God who asks me to use my hurts and fears to feed his sheep. And I can’t help but wrinkle my freckled nose in a smile. For the last twenty-four years of my life, growing up in church, Sunday school, dresses, hymns and pews, I would have said I understood God’s love. Of course Jesus loves me, I would have quipped, the ever-answering, know-it-all in my Sunday school youth group.

But in the weeks since twenty-four, it’s like God has turned a spotlight on who he has been creating me to be this whole time. And so much of it has to do with the fact that I am finally, finally catching on to how deeply loved I am. And what I thought before pales in comparison. I don’t have to fix myself up for him and even in all my blaring humanity, he will still put food on the table, he will still feed me. I don’t have to keep asking if there’s a return policy, a re-do on this whole adoption thing. And that’s where I’m learning how to step into freedom: raw, honest and alive freedom.

It’s so Sunday School. But I’m staring his love right in the face, daring it to move, daring it to be something, anything other than the fiercest love I’ve ever imagined. But it doesn’t. His love doesn’t change. And I’m getting it. It’s catching my heart and flinging it wide open.

It’s changing the way I see myself. Purposed and called. Brave. The pressure I heap on myself is falling off and I’m getting to rest in the simple fact that I’m alive. I can put my hand on my chest, feel my heartbeat and know. It makes me giddy and glad. Only the wildest love would love me enough to create in me a poem. One whose words carry the weight of authority. One whose words breath authenticity. One whose words come from a place of raw, unflinching identity.

And it’s because of that, that I know who I am. It’s because of that, that I am loved and unafraid.