It took me back to those days of depression. The days of pretending I was perfect. The days I hid my pain in my academic performance and relationships. The days I started to find my escape in alcohol to numb my pain, yet make me come alive temporarily. The feeling of coming alive was fleeting. As one feeling fleeted I looked to another substance, subject or source to fill that void inside instead of looking to my savior.
In my letter I wrote “I wish I had strength, but I’ve failed everybody in my life.”
It broke my heart. I wish the Tiffany of today could have been there to comfort this lost, vulnerable girl. I wish I could have wrapped my loving arms around her and whisper in her ear, “It’s going to get worse before it gets better, but you can make a choice today and accept Jesus’ grace, but even if you don’t accept that grace. Even if you continue to avoid your mistakes. Even if you continue to sweep things under the rug because you want to maintain the illusion of control. Even if you isolate yourself because of shame and guilt. Even if you continue to pile pain on top of pain. One day you will receive and accept God’s mercy and grace. One day you will live by the verse Romans 8:28 ‘All things work for good for those who love the Lord and are called according to his purpose.’ No, this doesn’t mean only good things will happen to you, but when the bad comes – and it will come – God will work ALL these things for his ultimate glory. This might not even happen during your time on earth, but it is a promise.”
A promise I cling to now. A promise that has helped my persevere through my pain. A promise that led me to get passed my past. A promise that repositioned my perspective to pursue my Father with passion and purpose. I wish I could have told that fragile, terrified girl that Romans 8:37 says “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.” You are not a failure. You have not failed. You are a CONQUEROR. You are STRONG. To whoever is reading this, I want you to know these words apply to you too. You are a conqueror. You are strong. Even if you don’t feel it, trust me when I say you possess the power. Now, deciding to tap into that power is up to you. It’s a choice. But it’s waiting to be ignited, or for some reignited.
My sin was suffocating. I was drowning in despair. When I thought I had finally hit rock bottom, I was rescued. I was redeemed. I am here to tell you your destiny is not determined by the dead-end road you think you are on. It does not have to define you. Nothing you confess will make Him love you less. It’s a beautiful, undeserved gift – GRACE. It wasn’t that I couldn’t find help to heal my heart, but I didn’t even know if I could admit my agony. I couldn’t fathom living in the light and I allowed the darkness to direct my days. I allowed my sins to silence me.
I don’t know where you are today. Maybe you’ve never known suffering as of yet. Maybe you can’t imagine being honest about your mistakes. Maybe you’ve been the victim and can’t imagine being vulnerable again by accepting healing and love back into your heart. I’m here to tell you I had the same thoughts. I didn’t know how someone could even be JOYFUL. I craved joy, but most importantly I craved a relationship with God. I just didn’t know what that looked like or how to start. I didn’t feel worthy of any type of love, let alone the love of a perfect creator. But he was waiting for me. Ready to scoop me up, heal me, love me, and restore me. God doesn’t call the equipped. He equips the called. How thankful I am to share His story of redemption and grace in my life.
This verse spoke to me during my personal time with my Father and gave me hope during seemingly hopeless situations.
“And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” 1 Peter 5:10
Don’t give up. Talk to someone. Talk to me. I will listen. If you don’t feel like you can open up yet, I urge you to write down your thoughts. Say them out loud to God or to someone you trust. Let it go and let love in.
“Pour out your heart like water in the presence of the Lord.” Lamentations 2:19
Pour out your pain, fears, thankfulness, anxiety, sadness to the Lord. He desires to hear from you. I welcome the opportunity to hear from you too. Six years ago I felt like I was fighting a lonely battle. How devastating to feel completely isolated and defeated. I am thankful that now I lean into the Lord in those moments. I’ll never be alone again. I now understand the promise displayed in Deuteronomy 31:8 that says, “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Thank you, Lord that although I don’t know what tomorrow brings I know you are already there. I can rest in that.
Last night, as I began packing up my apartment, I ran across a folded up piece of paper tucked between two books – hidden yet wanting to be found. It contained thoughts that I wrote in high school and one particular sentence shook me to my core. “I am fighting a lonely battle and by looking back at history you’ll easily see wars aren’t won with one soldier.”