I grew up as a misfit. I just didn’t fit in. It all started with that mop of curly hair God graced me with. How I cursed Him for giving me that unruly, untamable, wild hair that made it impossible to blend in during the 60s era of bone-straight hair that Cher so fearlessly led. The way God made me was far from Cher’s appearance. I stood out like a sore thumb. I was teased mercilessly. Kids stuck things in my hair and called me names.
But the comment that wounded me the most was from my mom. When I was 11 years old she told me my school pictures were ugly and that she wasn’t going to purchase them. All I heard was, “You’re ugly” coming from the person who was supposed to be my biggest nurturer.
Those words set the pattern for my life. It was the voice reel that played on repeat in my head day in and day out. I constantly was flooded with thoughts like:
“Karen, just stay in the background.”
“Karen, you’re not good enough.”
“Karen, you’ll never find a man.”
“Karen, everyone else is better than you.”
“Karen, you’re ugly.”
This pain permeated my life and manifested itself in many ways. It led to failed relationships, failed marriages, fear of stepping out of the shadows into the light, fear that someone would notice me and hurt me again. These lies held me captive for five decades.
A healing journey
My healing process began with a guided prayer process where I was led back to that memory standing in front of my mom and hearing those perceived words that I was ugly. I confessed the lies that I believed about myself and the lies I believed about God. I visualized taking those lies to Jesus and perceived him disposing of them. I prayed for forgiveness for my mom and the pain she caused me. I experienced Jesus in my memory and I saw him standing behind my mom watching me with tender love in his eyes. He shared the words with me, “You are my beautiful daughter. You are my masterpiece and I knew exactly what I was doing when I created you!” Those words were a major revelation to me. It was a pivotal moment—a point in time that began releasing the pain in my life on a journey of inner healing.
Jesus replaced the lies I was believing with His truth. He gave me a supernatural ability to see into the hurts that my mom lives with and how her pain has shaped her life. He gave me compassion for my mom and the ability to see her as broken and hurting herself.
I’ve learned in my healing journey that God’s original design for me was for my physical appearance to reflect my internal design. I was designed to embrace the wildness of my curly hair and live free with it. These scriptures are a constant reminder of God’s truth:
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10
“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” 2 Corinthians 3:17
I’m now free and I’m learning what it means to live with my “wild” side. I’ve been challenged to take some fun, crazy risks—like jumping out of a perfectly good airplane! I’m ready to live out my identity as God originally planned for me.
What about you? Are you a misfit? Is your pain still defining you? Are you living in a false identity? You too can find healing as I did. A good first start is joining me at the women’s SMASH retreat coming up May 18-20. It’s a weekend of safety, invitation and challenge. This year’s focus is on “Radiance,” exploring how we can shine from the inside out. We will lean into how we can make pain our platform and how we can find freedom in the person of Jesus. Register for Smash at www.kensingtonchurch.org/smash
-Karen Nicholas, Kensington Global Partners