I am sitting here just crying, trying to find the best words to share this overwhelming joy in my heart. For a few weeks, I have desired to take the time to write again. There never seems to be enough quiet time. Between my miserably teething 1 year old and my always energetic 4 year old, our house is a circus. Already I have been interrupted twice writing 4 sentences. I want to scream, but then I remember again how incredibly grateful I am for this noisy, messy life. All I have to do is recall where my mind and heart was 11 years ago.
Yes, I have shared my testimony before, but God continues to work on me and bring to light more and more ways He is Providence. I have doubted Him more times than I would like to admit in my life. Between my church families and my blood family, the groundwork was laid very early on. I am so GRATEFUL that I was taught throughout my childhood of God’s strength, refuge and ever present help in trouble. Due to this, it became instinct for me to turn to His Word and to prayer when life confused or hurt me. However, this groundwork did not prevent mistakes on my part. It did not keep away the shadows of doubt.
11 years ago at around this time, I thought I could not take any more. I could not see the good things God had done. My heart had been broken over and over and over again. Earnest prayers to God had seemed pointless. I felt like I had been praying the same prayer for almost 5 years, and it seemed like He did not care. I thought I had been patient. I thought that I had been living according to His will. I thought that no one else understood. It seemed like I was the only one who had ever been in that situation, and I felt so alone. Everything around me started to crumble. I got really sick, and I did not want to get better. I wanted to turn off the pain. I wanted to end the heartache. I did not know how to let go….I had been fighting for SO LONG. I was so tired of trying to explain it all. No one could understand. It came to the point where I thought, “I have been trying to be strong for so long, and I have prayed so fervently. For nothing. Nothing will ever change. I am worthless. Either I am worthless, or God doesn’t care about me, or God has not been here all this time. Whatever. What is the point?”
I shut my door, turned the lights out, and laid in bed for days. I took a lot of medicine without measuring. I just kept waiting for everything to end. No one cared.
Except that was a lie. So many people cared. Perhaps they did not really understand, but there were so many that cared. God cared, and He had not left me. Before I could put the nail in my own coffin, someone that cared stepped in. It took me a while to start really believing that I was loved, but God did not give up on me. Even though my heart was weary and my mind was dark, He carried me. I felt completely defeated and worthless, but Jesus whispered to me as He carried me, “I am the way. I am your worth. I am your victory. I am with you. I will never leave you. I will never forsake you. I am your advocate. I understand. I care.” Little by little He dissipated the lies. Little by little He pushed out the dark. Little by little He built me up and made me strong again. I was strong because He is strong. I was not worthless, but worth it-because He made me, and the Creator does not make junk (even if we do junk.)
My hopes and dreams were not pointless, they were delayed…and I was being refined (as I am yet today.) Pastor Michael Ross’s message Sunday reminded me again. “When He is slow in coming, there is something greater that is going to happen. I don’t know why Christ seems absent sometimes. The result is always greater. There is something to learn. A virtue to embrace. A truth to understand. A flaw to be removed, or a prayer to be prayed. But when you come out of the darkness, you will be more like Christ than you were before, and so you were blessed with His absence.”
There have been many difficulties since that breaking point 11 years ago. I have cried more tears than I thought I would again, and my heart has broken again and again and again in fresh ways since that day. Today I am not redeemed and joyful because God provided the man of my dreams and 2 beautiful children I never thought I would have. I am redeemed and joyful because God IS. I am grateful because God never leaves me. I praise Him because He makes a way for ALL of us. No one is too far gone. No one is hopeless. I rejoice because He sees deeper and truer than our hearts and minds can. I am alive because HE IS ALIVE! Hallelujah! And I give this testimony because I know there are many hurting, doubting, and lost. I pray that God moves them to read this, and that the truth of God’s existence and the power of His love inches its way into their hearts so that with absolute certainty they can proclaim “GOD IS MY REFUGE AND STRENGTH, AN EVER PRESENT HELP IN TROUBLE.”
Friends, family, those I do not know well or know at all, He is alive. He is present. He is able. He is more than your words can express. He see it all, knows it all, and goes before you. He will never leave you. He delights in YOU! He makes a way for you. He will not give up on you. He is perfect in all His ways. Yahweh is beginning and end. Yahweh IS. His ways will not be your own, but they are OH SO GOOD. He is Providence. Trust Him, and you will see the footprints beside you and underneath you from time to time….especially when you look back. Trust Him, and you will not regret it. Believe in Him. He is worthy. And you are worth it. He died and rose all for you. All this world was made for His glory, and you are made for His glory. Really, truly…..believe in Him, really believe that He is and is for you, and you will never be the same.