The best thing about first going online? For me, it was finding people just like myself.
And ok, that sounds rather self-serving and prideful, but let me explain.
You should have seen me as a teenager. I was shy. I listened to my friends speak and then I'd be afraid to share my vastly-different feelings. I was so unlike my immediate family that, if I didn't greatly resemble my dad, I'd have insisted I was adopted. I read different books than my friends read, loved old black and white movies and classical music when they preferred new movies and new music and walked to school in my own dreamy-eyed world while humming 1950's show tunes.
I was one odd cookie.
But then I got married at 19 and perhaps because I was exhausted from trying to hold onto my uniqueness for years, I just gave-in. I became a lot like Tom and tried to be what our pastor and his wife told me I should be (at one point, they told me to stop writing kind notes and letters to people and just speak those things aloud). I tried to imitate the other young wives in our church so that I would fit in and no longer lose friends because of my different preferences.
And then I wondered why, for the next 16 years, I was often unhappy.
But then God began a work of recreating me, of remaking the fake Debra I had invented. And He showed me that all along He'd never aimed to turn me into some generic form of everybody else, but rather, He'd wanted to create something very unique. He desired to shine through me in unusual, even odd and different ways. He loved creativity. Invented it, even.
And how refreshing to just relax, be myself and stop apologizing for--or running from-- my uniqueness.
And then, five years later, God took me to the Land of Online and I was shocked, (yes shocked) to meet lots of other people so very like my real self! Here online, at 40, I found those people who I'd wished had gone to high school with me. If only I'd known all of you way back when, then I'd not have felt like such an odd character on the Stage of Life. I'd have felt comfortable in my own skin, as they say, if I'd been surrounded by such kindred spirits.
But you know? There's that 'all things work together for good' thing which God speaks of and--if my many mistakes helped carry me to this better, more confident place--well, that's not such a tragedy. Now I understand how other insecure people feel. I've felt their pain--and I can help guide them out of it. Or rather, God can, especially now that I am myself, no one else. He can more easily show His empathy through someone real, someone He recreated, from the basement upward, Himself.
"Before I formed you in the womb I knew [and] approved of you [as My chosen instrument], and before you were born I separated and set you apart..."
Truth will set you free. God can easily do miracles when He finds Himself where truth is rampant.