You matter.

Sometimes I wonder if they were angels. It felt like they were.

I will forever be filled with gratitude towards two of my dearest friends for showing me that I matter. That I matter, not because of what I'm doing with my life, or my beliefs, or how I dress, but for me, for my story, in the midst of brokenness.

They saw me. And because of that, my life will never be the same. I mattered.

I had never really felt seen before. My opinions pushed aside, my voice unheard, like an attempt at whispering across a crowded room. I hid behind extreme shyness, (a facade for the terror of someone rejecting me or criticizing me if I spoke out of line.) I wore clothing that didn't match who I was, and pursued goals that made me feel like I had something to give. Insecurity was wrecking my life.

It all changed when I met them. The beautiful souls who loved me so deeply. "People live like this?" I pondered frequently. People love and support and encourage each other throughout a normal day? There doesn't have to be chaos to be heard? You actually want to listen to me? You respect my opinion? Really?

I was clueless. Absolutely clueless about what love is. Mutual respect for another person? That exists? It took me twenty seven years to see it. Love. The kind of love that sees people for who and where they are and loves them, cares for them, shows kindness and generosity and the courage to communicate through hard things.

"Take off the mask, you don't need to hide, we love you for you."

They gave me that beautiful message with their actions. They barely even knew me, but it was the first time I felt heard. Insecurity racked my mind for months, "why do they love me?" "I have nothing to offer them." "They'll reject me, I know it, I won't be enough." I was so scared of messing things up with them because I loved them so much, because I thought maybe no one else would care. It was so hard for me to believe that people actually loved each other like that.

They loved me into talking, into sharing my opinion, my story, my experiences of life. I hadn't ever truly been real or transparent with anyone until that year when they showed me how. When they showed me that it was safe and it was okay to talk and that they were still going to love me regardless.

For the first time in my life I can walk into a room full of people, and just be myself and not think about how others see me. It simply doesn't matter.  I'm filled with this unwavering confidence that I have worth as a human.. Through these dear friends I saw God in a whole new beautiful way, because of them this important reality took hold in my heart.

Your voice matters. Your story matters. You matter.

I was given the most beautiful, generous gift that anyone could ever give me.