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Longing for Normalcy

Longing for Normalcy


I sat cross-legged on the living room floor captivated by the streaks of sunlight like rainbows at my grandparents’ house. My hands were raised, attempting to catch them, when my mom walked in with the letter from my stepdad.

His handwriting was barely legible. Dark marks smudged across the wrinkled notebook paper. I imagined him sitting on the edge of his cot, lips moving as he sounded out each word, stumbling over spelling, and erasing over and over.

He had committed armed robbery and was arrested on the same day I lost my two front teeth. I placed each tooth under my pillow and listened as the adults in the other room discussed what he had done and how many years he would serve behind bars.

I hugged my tattered Cabbage Patch doll and thought of the time I watched him get into a fistfight with his friend in a parking lot, knocking out his friend’s tooth. I wondered if the tooth fairy had given his friend a pair of shiny quarters. Initial shock gave way to quiet resentment when I saw his mug shot on the evening news and realized other people saw it too.

Later that year, we moved to my grandparents’ home permanently.

My stepdad’s letters kept coming. I worried endlessly that my identity was now rooted in something bad, unable to receive love, seemingly unforgivable. Glaring imperfections stood amid the squeaky-clean image of our new suburban life. I wanted a normal dad like everyone around us: a dad who went to work, loved baseball, and was not in prison.

I questioned whether these desires made me a bad daughter.

I had to learn that comparison would not bring healing but would instead push me further into the void of shame. And Jesus did not want me there.

I was loved by Him, and my family was rooted in His goodness.

Even though my family was messy and broken, I wanted everyone to know we loved, laughed, played, fought, and made amends. The suffering we shared and worked through refined me, instructed me in the ways of mercy, and taught me how to love others with compassion. The work of healing meant toiling away at the most tender scars on my heart by asking the Lord for His reminder that I was seen and loved.

Maybe you hold the hurtful moments of your childhood in this way: enduring the tension of caring for people who are imperfect, struggling not to view them through the lens of their most “unlovable” moments, contending with the lies that Christ sees you through the lens of your own so-called “unlovable” moments.

Let us contemplate today’s scripture verse:

As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.Colossians 3:12

And as we pray, let our hearts focus on how we are chosen, holy, and beloved by God. Allow the love of God to fill you with peace. Set before Him your family and invite Him to pour out healing over the areas where their brokenness has hurt you and made you feel ashamed.

  • Sister, Christ alone has the authority to tell you who you are, and He says you are loved.

Maybe you feel the burden of the sins of your past, broken relationships, or times when you were overwhelmed and reacted in a way you deeply regret. As you reflect on being holy and beloved, I invite you to listen with your heart to the gentle voice of Our Lord who calls you forgiven and beloved.

No, we are not defined by our most broken moments. We are capable of forgiving and being forgiven, loving and being loved. We are rooted in our real identity as beloved daughters, never too wounded for the Savior of the world. He pours forgiveness from His own wounds to cover yours. God’s mercy cover every inch of your entire being held close to His heart and endlessly loved.


  • Have you felt defined by your most broken moments? Take this pain to Our Lord for comfort in prayer.
  • Is there someone in your life you judged or gossiped about because of what you learned about her family member or someone close to her? Take that to the person and take it to Jesus in the sacrament of confession.

Excerpted with permission from Made New by Nell O'Leary, Leana Bowler, Brittany Calavitta, Jenna Guizar, and Liz Kelly, copyright Blessed Is She, Inc.

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Your Turn 

You are loved. Through faith in our Savior, Jesus Christ, you are not covered in shame. You are covered by His blood, untainted, and completely forgiven from everything and anything you’ve ever done or will do! Come share your thoughts with us. We want to hear from you! ~ Devotionals Daily