So, it’s been a hard week.
Actually, hard doesn’t quite describe it.
I’ve been through some stuff. Years ago, I was a medicated wreck. I was broken. I was (in many ways) ALL FREAKING DONE. But God invaded my life 10 years ago. And he healed me.
In a severely powerful way.
I’ve not been the same since.
Over the past 5 years or so I’ve really seen that healing solidify. And have been amazed at how different I am.
But then this week happened…
I was confronted by a chapter of my life that I hadn’t looked at in a while. In a LONG WHILE. And , friends (we are friends aren’t we??) it gripped me.
In a billion different ways, my heart was paralyzed.
Unable to think. Everything was fuzzy. My brain raced a million different directions.
My heart ached.
The thing is, I know this ache. Really well. We are old familiar friends.
And because I recognized it, it terrified me.
Because I remember what it has the capability of doing to me. I’ve lived that story. And I don’t want to go back. EVER.
I was faced with two options:
Run and hide.
Or press into it.
To be honest with you, I’ve fluctuated between the two. But, I keep choosing to press back in.
And here’s why:
Although I know the pain very well in this place, I know HIM in this place.
I know what He can do with my pain.
I know that story.
I love that story.
I would give my life for that story.
So, as much as it killed me, I chose to press into every stinking layer of this thing and learn to breath in it with Him.
It’s been agonizing.
It’s been terrifying.
But, I trust Him.
Because, I know what is waiting for me on the other side. As much as this pains me, I know if I let him clean this area of my heart out, He will heal it. And on the other side is gold.
I have gold in so many other places of my heart. Priceless, valuable, cherishable gold. Gold that was once not. But now is.
I want gold here.
And I’m not stopping until He’s done.
I trust Him.
I choose Him.
Of course as luck (or God’s perfect design) would have it, I was scheduled to preach Sunday.
For those of you who know me, you know I always teach from a very transparent place. But, this was taking that vulnerability to an ENTIRELY NEW LEVEL.
All last week when I should have been preparing, I was on the floor in my office listening to worship music begging God to heal me.
Not even thinking about my sermon.
I walked the sanctuary when no one was there DECLARING HIS GOODNESS OVER ME. Because I couldn’t do anything else.
I had to stay in that place.
Or else I would sink.
And sometimes I did sink.
But, he was quick to grab my shaky hand and pull me onward. I knew the breakthrough would come. I knew it would. It just wasn’t there yet.
And, then came Sunday…
Mind you, I hadn’t slept much. I hadn’t eaten much. I was IN THE MIDDLE OF FREAKING HEART SURGERY WITH GOD.
And from my mud pit, I bled out of me what he was teaching me.
Here’s an excerpt of my message:
Again, I wasn’t walking in a healed place just yet. But, he was faithfully, steadily at work.
A friend of mine was processing with me and said, “you haven’t cried about this yet, have you?” Now, my husband and everyone who knows me will quickly tell you, Anna doesn’t cry much.
10 years ago I felt like all of my tears came out. There just haven’t been much since. But, as she said those words I felt the swell grow in the back of my throat.
I just couldn’t cry yet.
But, I knew I needed to.
Yesterday, I was driving in the car (kids were screaming, baby was throwing stuff, I had a million things I was trying to do – you get the picture) The ache resurfaced.
I felt the pain and was like, Sweet Jesus you have to do something. I can’t stay in this place!
I dropped the kids off at summer camp and immediately a song came on the radio I had never heard.
It was “Be my rescue“, by Nicole Nordeman and the first lines were:
Where I was baptized
This time dark skies
Leave me capsized
That did it.
The words couldn’t have been chosen more perfectly.
This is the same place I was “baptized” (figuratively speaking) 10 years ago.
And when I look back on that time, it’s now a sunlit shoreline. The pain isn’t there anymore. I’m healed. I’m free.
But, this time…it’s a new wound. A very old, deeply infected wound. And although I know these waters of pain with the Lord…the skies are dark.
And in every possible way, I felt capsized.
The next part said,
This is the river where I went under
This is the river where I come up new
As I was driving, ENDLESS TEARS were flowing out of me.
The ache was so deep. As I wiped my sunglasses from the sopping wet, I felt the relief starting to come.
I felt HIM taking the ache…
I was going under. Fully surrendering Him to take this and make something beautiful from it.
No matter my history. No matter how many times I’ve failed. No matter how much I’ve walked in fear. I surrendered.
The chorus went,
Oh, oh God, be my rescue
Oh, oh God, be my rescue
And save me from myself
Save me from myself
Oh, oh God be my rescue tonight
It became my heart’s cry.
I sat there weeping, literally clutching my chest with my hand. As if to remind my soul that it would be okay. That it would be healed. That it can trust Him here.
The Bible talks a lot about speaking to your soul. David did it often. I understand now why….I had to force my spirit to be louder than my soul.
Because my soul knows how to run and hide. It knows how to be alone. It knows how to wall off and shut everything out.
It’s darn good at it.
But, my spirit knows better. It understands there’s a better way. It knows the freedom that comes from letting him in and allowing him to press, to mold, to make new.
When the song ended, I literally found it on my phone on youtube (sorry data usage) and played it on repeat 4 times. I wept the entire way home.
When I got home, I parked and sat for a while.
I recognized this place too…
Instead of the ache, there was relief.
I knew this place.
It meant I had done it.
I had exchanged the pain for the beginning of his beauty.
The healing process isn’t complete yet, but we are making major strides. The last two nights I’ve slept great and the anxiety has been at bay.
THIS IS THE GOSPEL I KNOW.
IT’S THE ONE I WANT TO FOLLOW.
THE ONE I WOULD LAY MY LIFE DOWN FOR.
IT’S THAT GOOD.
In the words of Nicole Nordeman,
Watching the old me
Hope is rising up
I can feel the rush
I’m alive and I’m breathing