“I can’t find it,” I said. I held my breath as I searched every compartment of my purse. Frustrated, I threw it across the room, and started to cry.

Have you ever lost something valuable? Something you couldn’t live without?

I have, but it’s not what you think.

I lost myself.

During my five and a half years of marriage to my first husband, my personality disappeared like air releasing from a slow leak of a damaged tire. His strong character took over mine, and I began to suppress the real Darlene without even realizing it.

When my husband said to me that I wasn’t the woman he married, in a way he was right. I wasn’t. I lost my true identity in the shadows of his. He wanted the limelight, and I let him have it.

Do I blame him? Not entirely. I allowed it to happen. I didn’t stick up for myself when I should have. There were times I felt like I couldn’t do anything right, so I let him take over almost every aspect of our lives. My self-esteem plummeted like a downhill skier over a fresh snow-packed mountain. Eventually, I took on a new persona. One that wasn’t mine.

Surprisingly, it wasn’t until after my husband left that I discovered my mistake of suppressing the real me. Through counselling and prayer, I started to work through the pain of my divorce. Slowly, when joy began to peek through the clouds in my life, my real personality re-emerged. Stronger.

Finally, the “real Darlene stood up” and people began to notice. They said to me, “you’re different,” but it was meant in a good way. One even said, “Darlene is back.”

I was happy again and my self-esteem began to climb back up that mountain. God showed me that I needed to love myself because He loved me…just the way I am.

I was lost, but now I’m found.

We must be careful in any type of relationship to be true to ourselves and not lose our personality. Take a stand. Be ourselves. We are special the way we are.

Remember, God doesn’t make junk.

Psalm 139:13-15 (Contemporary English Version)

You are the one who put me together inside my mother’s body,and I praise you because of the wonderful way you created me. Everything you do is marvelous! Of this I have no doubt. Nothing about me is hidden from you! I was secretly woven together deep in the earth below.

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