I used to live in a place of darkness. Scratch that, I used to exist in a place of darkness. What I was doing back then in my “BC life” certainly wasn’t what I would call living. Barely surviving maybe, but there was certainly no life there.
Starting from a young age I suffered a lot of “angst.” I was depressed, suicidal. I was a “cutter” and took many opportunities to hurt myself in multiple ways for multiple reasons. I have a small lighter scar on the back of my left hand from purposely burning myself. I kept to myself a lot, never really feeling accepted or loved. I had no friends, as I was a “nerd” who didn’t fit in. I started writing “novels” at the age of 10 as a way of escaping my then current reality. As I grew older it turned to poetry. I can still remember the title of my first poem… “Bullet.” It was about taking my life. The girls in school used to compare me to Sylvia Plath, which, at the time flattered me, because I admired her writing. Sylvia took her own life in her early 30’s by gassing herself in her oven while her two children slept in the next room. Thank God that was not my fate.
I initially left home at 16. One day just decided I wasn’t going home. I did return for a brief time when I graduated (from Catholic school, no less), but then at 17 I began to hang out with a different kind of crowd. My once preppy, high school look was quickly replaced. I cut my long red hair into a short bob and dyed it black. I exchanged my penny loafers for “Doc Martins.” My 80’s fun pop music turned into gothic, punk, industrial, techno and rave. I began to go clubbing 2-3 nights a week. It was my home away from home. I began developing a real chip on my shoulder, even roughing up guys who thought they could get fresh with me.
I became a bit of a transient, moving place to place, never really settling in one spot for too long. Wherever someone would have me, I would stay until I could stay no longer. I dated poorly, made self-destructive decisions out of damaged places, which only compounded my wounds, thus creating deeper, thicker scars around my heart and higher, thicker walls for me to build around myself. I had no real home, no sense of peace or stability in any part of my life. I never drank or did drugs, but I smoked, I swore so much I could make a sailor blush, I jumped from relationship to relationship looking for something that I never found. I was deeply desensitized to violence, I surrounded myself with darkness. Horror movies, games, books, anything “scary” or dark I was drawn to it. (I was so desensitized that I used to take naps to horror movies playing in the background). I went “ghost hunting,” messed around with tarot, psychics, crystals, meditation. I was also tormented with recurring nightmares; I woke up several times literally paralyzed with fear where I could not move for a long time.
I had no life in me. I was suffocating under the hand of death, drifting behind a curtain of failed hope and no expectation of anything better. Even after I got married and had my son, I suffered depression so badly at times that I could barely function and tried anti-depressants more than once, which only made things worse. I didn’t know how to love, how to receive love; I lived thoughtlessly out of self-defensive mechanisms formed out of decades of pain and hurt and humiliation thinking that was the best way to be to protect myself. What I didn’t realize was how wrong I really was.
Then God came along with His truth and began to slow, patiently, lovingly, graciously peel away these layers. He never pushed, He never gave up, He never pointed a finger, crossed His arms or shook His head at my stubbornness, my fear, my impatience, my temper tantrums or my mistakes (of which there have been many). He never refused me, never walked away from me, never gave me ultimatums. He just loved me and kept loving me and blessing me, speaking to me (sometimes repeatedly about the same thing over and over because He knows we need repetition). He gave me a home, my first HOME, a place of my own, a place of warmth and comfort and stability. He gave me a family that I thought I would never have. He gave me people who loved me unconditionally and spoke over me and into my life to build me up, to edify me. He gave in so many beautiful ways that I cannot even name them all.
But truthfully I was so impatient with the process because I wanted so badly for that “old man” in me to just die. I held so much shame and humiliation over my past, and I hated everything about it, including who and what it made me in the process. Like a lot of people, you just want Him to wave that wand and wah-lah, instant transformation. Super-shiny, loving, patient, perfect Christian! I was so caught up in the result that I wanted that I didn’t appreciate the process or the journey that we were on together, He and I.
I remember the first time He spoke to me in church. In the silence between songs, we sat there waiting to hear from Him, and so very clearly He said to me:
“You and I are going to love a lot of people together.” I literally inwardly laughed. My response to Him directly on the heels of that was “Do you even know who you are talking to?” Can you imagine saying that so boldly to the One who created you? Who knows the end from the beginning? Well, I did. I could not have imagined that statement to ever be true, because I knew me…but He knows me better. And do you know what? That truth has manifested; after all this time, He has brought me to a place where I finally know how to give love and to receive love, how to be a vessel for HIS love to be poured out through me! That was Him speaking prophetically over me about who I would become, about the person He knew already existed inside of me, the person that He was going to love into being.
There were many, many times when the enemy came to try and steal away this truth, and to be honest, there were many times where I felt like giving up. But something inside of me would not let that happen. Maybe it was His Spirit bearing witness within me to that truth that wouldn’t let me let it go. Maybe it’s the fight I know I have always had inside of me that God now uses for His glory, for His Kingdom. Maybe I am wearing my spiritual combat boots and instead of violence against myself or others it’s now violence towards the kingdom of darkness that tried to extinguish my life, my light, and now I want to fight against that for others, to show them, yes there is a better way, there is the BEST way, and you, too can be rescued, brought back to life, that yes, they too can LIVE.
People ask, how can you know God is real, is true? Because I am ALIVE! Because where there was once only darkness and death I now have light, I am light, I am a walking testimony of God’s truth and goodness. I have His Word etched upon my heart. The change in me in so dramatic that it can only be by His hand that I am who I am. There’s so much more to this story, but I only have so much time and space to tell it.
I am part of HIS-story, a masterpiece (poema) written by His hand, upon which my name is written. Yours is there, too. He’s just waiting for you to reach out.
With Him, NOTHING is impossible. Believe and see and then become.
Blessings and much love,