Oh to have to read the last chapter of this book! To have to write the last post for this book… I have been dragging my feet all week. I haven’t wanted to end either.
This past year has been one of such learning! Such growth! God has used this book by Lisa in an amazing way to help complete the healing in such a short time frame. I never expected that when I finished this book, that I would be also looking at my last counseling session coming up.
Recognizing who I am in Christ has been hard for me… especially in the past 3 years. As my depression got more and more pronounced, I just didn’t feel like I had any real truth about who I was to keep me steady and stayed on Him. I truly did feel, like Lisa said, that God dropped a stitch when He was knitting me together in my mother’s womb.
I thought I should be who my family wanted me to be, or like those I looked up to, and all it did was muddy the waters.
“It has been a beautiful thing in my life to let go of the ideas I have for me and ask God to develop in me those things He intends me to do and to be the person He intends me to be…. I am talking about saying to God, ‘Have your own way with me.’ Recognize that in the process of making you, God didn’t have an ‘oops!’ moment.”
This has been a big part of this past year for me. I’ve continually beat myself up for quitting my student teaching. For not managing to finish with a teaching degree. For not using my musical gifts in a “professional” area. For not being a good enough wife. For not being a good enough mother. For not being a good enough ___________. Fill in the blank: Christian, daughter, grand-daughter, friend, person… and then it led me to the thought that I shouldn’t be here, that I was just a mistake.
As I have finally learned to let go, and let God have His way with me, I have come into more and more freedom. He has awakened things in me I thought I had lost. The biggest was a thirst for Him that I haven’t experienced ever since I was a new Christian. Another one was the joy I got from writing and singing. I had lost writing, and almost lost my joy in music as well.
Admitting my mess-ups has been hard for me, because I clung to them as an identity. I had to let God clear up who I was in Him, and then not wade in the cesspool of condemnation. It was hard to admit I screwed up, and then LET GOD TAKE CARE OF IT!!
I love what Lisa said:
“God is quick not only to forgive us; He is quick also to restore us.”
Oh, how thankful I am for that! I’ve gotten some very visual reminders of how much He loves me, of the depths of His forgiveness, and what His redeeming and restoring work is in my life. I’m so grateful that my mistakes aren’t held against me, but that I can learn from them, and He helps me to walk away from them and not make more mistakes on top of them, and end up worse off that I was before.
The pain I’ve been in and through in my life, because of my choices or others, has been enough to cripple me this past year. If I hadn’t been given the strength to deal with the pain, and take a good hard look at it and allow God into it, I don’t know that I would be here right now.
All my life, I applied a soothing balm… of time, of distraction, or of attempting to move on with my life. It covered over the hurts, but never healed them. The worldly things I tried to anesthetize my soul didn’t work permanently.
Only God can apply the healing balm… of really looking into the pain, and touching it with His love, His forgiveness, His restoration, His TRUTH. That really heals. I may have scars left, but this year I’ve been healed by the Truth, my God.
Lisa is right when she said that all God desires is to take my brokenness and yours and set all of us free by the Truth that we were once so afraid to face.
That is truly what has happened this year in counseling. I was so afraid to see the Truth, to see God in the face of all I had done, and all that had been done to me. But, all my brokenness has been exposed to the light of day, and to the light of the Truth. All God has wanted is to set me free. That’s all He wants to do for you. Once we are free, the possibilities are endless. I know that now that I am free of so much pain that was shackling me, I can do whatever He leads me to.
More than that, I know that even if I don’t know right now specifics of what to “do,” He uses me. I have so much baggage, but God has freed me from it, and now can use it to help others. As Lisa said, being used by God is the one time that being “used” by someone felt good!
Today I can say that I have truly tasted the goodness of God, tasted the freedom, tasted the healing that I never thought I would.
Is my soul truly set free? Is the truth behind my eyes the same as what others see?
I think so. I hope so. I feel like I am set free, that my soul is. I think there are probably some things that I still have to work through, but who doesn’t have something?
I’ve struggled with the idea of needing to pray for someone who hurt me. Still am. Finding others to pray for specifically… or God is finding them for me.
I realized that I canceled my counseling appointment with Tricia this week, and I really didn’t feel stressed. I did schedule another appointment, in a couple of weeks. To know that I have one out there, my last one to talk a few things over with her, gives me freedom to see what it is like to get through a month without “needing” to talk to her about everything.
One other thing… to be truthful… (sigh)
I’ve realized just how much I am going to miss Tricia. I praise God for her. I’m so thankful for how He has used her to help me along this road of healing I have been on. I know that it is time to end our relationship as counselor/client. I’m OK with that. I’m just going to miss her. I’ll be praying for her. I know that if we never meet again on this side of heaven, I’ll be able to see her there, and hopefully then express to her how incredibly grateful I am that she has allowed God to use her as He has, not only in my life, but the lives of countless others she’s invested herself in.
However, my prayer is that someday, this side of heaven, when the right amount of time has passed, God will bring us back together and allow us to meet and develop a relationship on the equal footing of friendship. I don’t know that it will happen. But that is my prayer.
If it doesn’t get answered the way I would like, I won’t be disappointed, because God has the best for me and the best for her in His heart. He knows what will be best for both of us. I’m extremely blessed to have known her for this brief year. I’m forever grateful to God for bringing her into my life, me to her, when I so desperately needed someone to come alongside who cared and who could guide me ever closer to God.
In closing, (it is so hard to try to figure out how to sum this whole study, this whole book, this whole year up) our church has a Thanksgiving service this Sunday night. We do this annually where we open up the mic to whoever wants to come forward and share a praise. I couldn’t bring myself to go last year. Just out of the hospital 3 weeks, I couldn’t find anything praiseworthy.
This year, well, I really don’t know what to share or how to share it, because I could be up there ALL night! This year has been incredible. Looking back now, I can see God’s hand all over it. I look at all the struggles I had, and how I thought the darkness would never end… and now… oh words can’t express what I am feeling right now!
I can only pray that more and more what people see from me is truly what is going on inside of me. That my actions and words match with what is really going on inside. I don’t want to act the part anymore. If things are going bad, I don’t want to fake the perfect life. If things are going good, I want to share that with others. I want to be free to rejoice with, or cry with others as the need arises. I want to be approachable. I want to be used by God to bring healing to His people who are hurting. However that happens I don’t know. Yet.
I want to leave with two quotes from Lisa that caught me enough that they rated not only underlining, but also highlighting!
“He [God] wants us to realize the freedom - true freedom - that comes with letting go of the struggle, once and for all, over our past mistakes, major life interruptions, and wrongs that have been done to us. He desires to remove that which has incapacitated us and held us captive - unable to fly and soar and be the beautifully created person He has made us each to be. Jesus wants to fix everything in us that has ever been broken, not temporarily soothing it on the exterior, but healing it in places not able to be seen by the human eye….
His arms are a place of ultimate security and peaceful rest.”
There is nothing more powerful that to realize the Creator of the whole universe, is your Creator, that you are the apple of His eye, and that He searches after you with undivided attention until you are found by Him…. and then He holds you, oh so carefully, gently, and securely in His arms… and that He wants to HEAL EVERY HURT! He wants to heal you and me and everyone else, until we all realize who we are in Him, and are able to live from that Truth in our everyday life.
May God bless all of you. Thank you for joining in this journey with me: through this book, and for those of you who have been around longer, through this past year. I can’t tell you what your prayers and support have meant. Please don’t cease praying for me; I won’t cease praying for you. God has so much more to do in all of our lives.
Just because I see the end of a season for me doesn’t mean an end! It really means a new beginning. I never thought I would say this, but I have a new beginning!
So do we all!
Thank you Lelia for hosting this. I can’t tell you how God has used you in my life. You are the first person who ever contacted me, other than my family, on my blog… the first “bloggy friend” I made… and the first person I ever started praying for that I met through a blog. My husband thought I was nuts (still does, I think) :) But I know that God has been behind all of this. I praise God for you Lelia, and continue to pray for you. God bless you, and I love you!