I look up and there’s a sort of magical sheen in the air. Maybe it’s the sun through the trees, accentuated by wind-blown dust. Maybe it’s the tears welling my eyes. Whatever the source, it’s filled with awe and wonder. With hope, anticipation, and JOY.

As that crown is placed upon my head, by two people I cherish more than words can say, I don’t feel the heaviness of it. Rather, I feel a weight being lifted.  The breaking chisel through a wall far too long erected, rescuing and releasing radiant beams of FREEDOM.

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The past six months have been that for me, I think—a gradual freeing from a lot of hard things (depression, self-doubt, embarrassment, and insecurity to name a few). And perhaps it’s been even longer than that. As a teenager, I remember friends and family trying desperately to speak truth into me, to free me from all those confining lies.

“Heather, you are going to do something GREAT one day.”

You’ll never be good enough.”

“Heather, you don’t need to worry about what you look like.”

“Don’t embarrass yourself, please.”

“Heather, you mean so much to me.”

“You’re not REALLY important to anyone.”

Despite my inability to believe their truths, they kept speaking them. Repeatedly kept resting them on my head. Faithfully. Waiting for me to let those truths sit a little longer, and a little longer still. Their hope was mine, when I had none…until their hope became mine.

These two women, placing this crown on my head have been with me the longest, at least as far as friends go. One, because we shared a womb together. And the other because we were simply destined to be sisters, even if not by blood.  They’ve stood by and poured freedom over my head more times than I can count. They’ve beared my ugliness and my beauty, all with a steadfast, immovable LOVE.

And it is primarily to them, through their openness to the Lord, through the way they live their lives and love me, that I get to experience this season of FREEDOM. That I get to enjoy acceptance and love for myself in ways that I never have before.  That I can come upon those tough moments in the day and know that there is hope and meaning in it, and hope and meaning in me. That I can walk through one of the most crowded places this time of year, wearing a gunne sax dress (trust me, you stand out) and seashell crown, without a single care of what anyone thinks of me.

These two beautiful women, and many others (you know who you are) have crowned me with freedom. With wild, wild, beautiful freedom.

It’s magical. It’s awe-filled. And it is wonderful.

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