When I first chose to surrender everything to Christ, back when I was 20 years old, I didn’t have much hope in Him, let alone in this life. At the time, I was barely clinging to His promise that He would always be with me, that I wasn’t invisible Him, that my pain was something He make worth the aching and tears. A few dear friends who stood by me through the worst of the storms, promised hope and better things for the future. To put it bluntly– I didn’t believe them. Any of them. I recall more than a few arguing matches with people who cared about me. I remember walking away aching and still bleeding inside from wounds I’d known for years. Somehow there was belief in my heart. When it seemed as though my back was against the wall, like I was cornered and surrounded by wild animals— every single time, there He was, reaching out His hand and rescuing me. Time after time, I would find myself in another mess, another night full of tears and gut-wrenching loneliness and pain that gripped my heart and tore at my soul.
It would be about a year and a half after that decision that everything in my life was torn apart. Every doubting question, every bit of anger and fear and abandonment that I ever believed or felt— in that season, it all came bubbling to the surface and I broke. Shattered would be a more accurate term. Everything felt like deep death and pain, every waking moment and every sleepless night. I would search day and night for comfort, for the Voice that I knew, but there was more often silence than words. I would read scriptures that I had known since I was a little girl and the words would just be words. I stopped feeling, stopped caring.
Every now and again, something would happen out of nowhere and interrupt my cynicism violently. One such time was a Sunday morning when an incredible friend came to the back where I was hiding, softly grabbed my hand and led me to the front where people were receiving prayer and being set free. I cried freely that day and I knew things were only just beginning to open up. I had no idea that the future would hold freedoms I dared not dream of on my best days. If you would have told me I wouldn’t constantly feel shame over things that happened to me when I was barely a teenager, I would never have believed it. I was the queen of cynicism when it came to forgiveness and especially love. I had so many fears and it seemed like every time I turned around, I had opened up to trust someone and I was burned again, hurt again and it felt like the bleeding would never stop. Did no one really even care about me or my heart? Why was I constantly forced to face everything alone?
Then out of nowhere, He began whispering to my heart of healing. Events took place where I wasn’t afraid to be open and vulnerable. In the not too distant past, I was finally able to sit down with a close friend, take a deep breath and say, “I have been so so wrong and hurtful to you with ___, ___ and ___… can you forgive me?” And as tears fell from my eyes, and I finally had the courage to look up at her, I saw tears of love looking back at me. It was an outpouring of grace I wasn’t expecting to hit me so strongly and it came so quickly and suddenly I was overwhelmed. I was thankful for that day and the night we spent together in a room full of sweaty Christians. That night changed something in me that I had long given up hope for restoration and healing. I’ll never forget being on my knees, huddled on a dirty floor of a random church venue, sobbing to the point of hardly breathing as His hands reached into my heart and softly healed the parts of my spirit and soul that had been ripped by someone else’s hands. More than that, I believe pieces that were stolen have been replaced.
Just a couple weeks later, I found myself again in a crowded room, again at a concert and again I felt the pressing hand of God on my heart. “Far more can be mended than you know.” He reminded me and as tears of hope rolled down my face, I lifted my arms, opened up my hands and opened my heart to Him in such a full way it felt like I was getting born again– again!
That was an incredibly significant night for me, because I walked away from who I was…. once and for all.
As many who know me are aware, once upon a past life, I was severely depressed, broken beyond repair, very alone and in pain I couldn’t handle. I decided to make everything better on my own terms and taking my own life seemed like the only option I had left. To summarize a very painful and scary night, Jesus met me on a bridge and He took my hand and we walked away from that place on that night. For years I would go back to that bridge and re-live would could have been, how I could have been “free” on my own terms. But on this night, He brought up the bridge. He told me to walk away and let go of it forever. I made the choice to turn away and walk away and as I did, I began to be enveloped by a white light and everything around me wasn’t dark and scary and gray anymore, but everything was light and clean and new.
The following day He was speaking to me and whispering “there is more to come, this isn’t over” and even today He told me, “now is not the time to be afraid.” Because of how everything has unfolded, I have begun to believe that much like falling in love, healing comes slowly and then all at once. I know my Jesus is about the process He is taking me through and I am only just beginning to understand the valley of the shadow. I see now that I do not have to fear when facing the darkness, when facing the enemy because I am always fully surrounded and fully protected. The place He has me right now is the best possible place I could be for where He is taking me in the future.
“For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers,
nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth,
nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God
in Christ Jesus our Lord.” -Romans 8:38