My Life Through Music Part One: On the Inside

An Essay By Damaris Ann // 1/10/2018

I may smile for the camera
I might fool my friends with laughter

When I was 15 I was a bubbly, outgoing girl. I spent as much time as possible with my friends, and was called a social butterfly by many.
But underneath the lies
You will find the truth that hides

One day, I came to the sudden realization that I did not know nor love the Lord, and that I was on the road to Hell. I knew I was a hypocrite, and hated the outward lifestyle I was living in. I was tired of looking and acting like a conservative young woman, and I was confused about why I looked and acted the way I did. It wasn't who I felt I was on the inside. Regardless of my confused identity, I continued to be that bubbly, smiling girl.
I try to hold it all together
Do I have to hold it in forever?
I'm not that strong
I can't do this on my own

I was terrified. All of my friends were Christians, as was my family, and I knew what an ordeal it would be to tell anyone what my struggle was. So I kept pressing forward, looking and acting the way I was expected to. Yet on the inside I felt like I was lost and dying. I didn't know what to do, and I felt like I had nobody to turn to. Even prayer was frightening because I could feel the wrath of God hovering over my head. I was petrified.
If you could understand
What's really happening on the inside
You'd see the pain that I try to hide

I started to examine myself; to see if any part of me desired to follow God. A part of me did, but I wasn't sure if it was due to a fear of suffering in Hell, or if it was an actual thirst for truth and a savior. I wracked my brain trying to understand my own feelings.
If you were in my head
Then maybe you could see who I really am
I'm broken on the inside

I longed (and yet feared) to have just one person who understood what I was going through. I had no peace, and no comfort. I felt like a stranger in my own neighborhood. Because of my loneliness, I finally turned to prayer. I asked God to show me my heart as He saw it. I was in a quandary because I knew that Jesus Christ was Lord; I just didn't know if I wanted Him to be Lord of my own life personally, and I didn't know if I wanted to follow Him. But I kept on praying. I wanted open eyes.
You should know your story doesn't end here
I know how you feel because I've been there
Doesn't have to be your fight
Don't you know He's on your side

Slowly, I began to understand what the Lord wanted from me. He wanted me to believe in Him, to follow Him, and to love Him. I believed in Him, yet I didn't know how to love Him, and I wasn't sure if I could truly follow Him. I remember crying myself to sleep many nights, praying "Lord, teach me to love You."
He knows all you've ever done
He loves you more than anyone
Whatever you're going through
He's reaching for you

I started to feel His hand in my life. I knew I wanted Him as my savior and Lord, but I still was struggling with the knowledge that I did not love Him, and still did not know how to love Him.
My child I understand
What's really happening on the inside
I see the pain that you try to hide
I know what's in your heart
And I can see you for who you really are
I'll fix what's broken on the inside

A few weeks after I turned 16 the Lord impressed it on my heart that He knew I was imperfect, but that He loved me anyway. He showed me through His word that He had imputed His righteousness to me, and that if I would commit to following Him and giving up my body (my worldly flesh) as a sweet-smelling sacrifice, He would teach me to love Him. With tears of joy I yielded my life to Christ.
Giving up the fight
Running to the light
You know He's there
He's right by your side
When you feel lost
Run to the cross
Look up and see

I clearly remember the day when I looked up and understood that Jesus was my Savior, and made the choice to try and follow Him for the rest of my life. I thank God for that day. I finally knew what it was to have a "peace that passes all understanding" in my heart (Philippians 4:7).

Comments

Thank you for sharing this;

Thank you for sharing this; it's beautiful and heartfelt, and I appreciate it a lot. I especially liked the song woven in between. But I liked hearing your testimony best!

Libby | Wed, 01/10/2018

“The gospel alone is the power of God unto salvation.
Therefore, suffer, yes. Be misunderstood, yes. Be shamed, yes. But do not be ashamed. For the joy set before you, take up your cross, follow Jesus, be shamed and despise the shame!" -- John Piper

Thank you so much, sweet

Thank you so much, sweet girl!

Damaris Ann | Wed, 01/10/2018

I don’t thrive off of chaos: chaos thrives off of me.

Oh, Damaris, thank God for

Oh, Damaris, thank God for you! I can relate a lot to what you say, and how it's so hard to imagine just how much Someone so large can love infinitely the sinning, tiny mess-ups we all are? I may not relate to my beliefs in music like you do so amazingly, but there is a quote from an early century martyr that I try to read as often as I feel conflicted about this:
"I look at the sky sometimes and I feel so small beneath those stars and God. Yet, if I look at the stars, created by You, along with the moon and the stars, what is man? Why do You think of them? Why do You care? Yet You have done so, as much as the angels, You have crowned man with glory and honor."

It's the wonderment of, "You did because You did, and I need know nothing else" that really makes me love God as much as I can.
Remain the most amazing, infinitely loved Daughter of God, heir to the Kingdom of your Father, Damaris! <3 <3

Madalyn Clare | Wed, 01/10/2018

"To live is to love with the passion of a thousand stars. To love is to live despite the pain of a thousand scars. Anything in between is a passing shadow." ~Michael Joseph Murano

Aww girl, thank you! You're

Aww girl, thank you! You're so sweet and encouraging.
What a lovely quote! It brought to my mind this passage:
“When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour.
O Lord our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!”
‭‭Psalms‬ ‭8:3-5,9‬

Thank you so much for your comment. It means a lot to me, dear. I am blessed.

Damaris Ann | Wed, 01/10/2018

I don’t thrive off of chaos: chaos thrives off of me.

This is beautiful! (And thank

This is beautiful! (And thank goodness someone else is trying personal essays; not just me.) The format could have felt cluttered but you interspersed the verses and reflections perfectly so that both felt like they were feeding off each other
... very unique and creative and well-done! What a cool idea and I can't wait to read more. I could also feel your tangible relief and joy at the end. Essays can involve self-exposure, but what better way to share your faith... thanks for your bravery! Lovely.

Sarah Bethany | Thu, 01/11/2018

Thank you, sweet Sarah! <3

Thank you, sweet Sarah! <3

Damaris Ann | Thu, 01/11/2018

I don’t thrive off of chaos: chaos thrives off of me.

Thanks for sharing your testimony

I like the idea of finishing prose paragraphs with short applicable rhyming phrases. Changing the rhythm -- summing up the heart of the matter. The song being in the present tense gives a sense of urgency.

Caleb | Tue, 01/16/2018

And he was just wondering, for he was a severe critic of his own work, whether that last line couldn't be polished up a bit...
~P.G. Wodehouse

:)

Thank you, Caleb. You are very kind.

Damaris Ann | Tue, 01/16/2018

I don’t thrive off of chaos: chaos thrives off of me.