I’ve been planning this post for months. I have spent hours dreaming of the perfect examples and the perfect words to share. And I have been waiting with a very impatient heart for the moment that I can write and share this post.
And yet, now that the time has come that I can write this post, I need to delete all of the well thought lines, all the power-packed words I so carefully picked, and even the emotions behind the post that has been in the making. Reaching this point has changed my heart and my thoughts. And I have a new reason for sharing this.
No longer do I share this because I can shout “Finally! See what I made it through.” and look forward with excitement to the future. I share this now because what I have gone through has become a precious gift that I don’t ever want to leave behind.
Over the past eight months I was stripped of all I put my identity in. I was broken down to the point of not being able to continue. I failed in more ways than can be counted. I died.
I know, that sounds dramatic. Way overly and completely dramatic. But at the risk of causing you to really question my sanity, can I tell you, I am not exaggerating. If you had asked me who I was during the past months, when I was asked, all I could say was, “I’m not me.” “This is not who I am.” And then try not to let the tears in my eyes slip down my face for all the world to see.
I had nothing left in me. Nothing of me left in me, anyway. But I did have God and His Spirit in me, and He is all I had. Which meant that I was actually in a really great place for living out my life. Because, as I have learned over the past months, I don’t want it to be me living, but Christ living in me. It just happened to take a lot of hurt, pain, and breaking for me personally to see the blessing, joy, and life that comes through this, and for me to come to desire Christ living fully in me and choosing to live this out (although far from perfectly!).
So instead of sharing how thankful I am to be at this moment, and how excited I am to go back to how I was before, capable with a full identity rooted in myself, can I say instead how thankful I am for the past 8 months? They were by far the hardest in my life (not the biggest feat as I have only lived for 21 years😉) and I would really appreciate if I never have to reach those lowest bottoms ever again. But come what may because I don’t ever want this time and how I have been transformed to ever be lost.
The thing is, I need to be really careful in saying this because I am human, and I will slip back and turn away from what I hold so dear now. I can guarantee you and myself that I will be experiencing those lowest bottoms again, maybe in different ways, and maybe they’ll be even lower, but I will reach those points again if I want to live not as me but as Christ in me. I will have to continually be brought to the death of myself.
Knowing this, it is a little disconcerting to say “Come what may, this is what I want.” Especially when what I desire is not going to come from me. In fact, it is in complete opposition to my flesh. But the fear that was once in this statement has disappeared because of God. He is constant, and He is good and faithful. He is full of endless grace and perfect love and limitless patience. And it is poured out on us, His beloved children, even (more like especially) during the times of hurt, pain, and brokenness that we can’t say with certainty will actually end.
Easy for me to say, right? I’ve broken through the dark and am experiencing the warmth of light again. But what if I tell you I felt that warmth long before now. What if I tell you I felt it during some of my darkest days, and could say with just as much certainty in that time that my God is good and He is faithful and He loves me. It’s true, you know. I even have proof in my journal if you need it.😉 But I haven’t kept hidden from you that my hurt hit its deepest depths these past months, and I won’t keep from you now that there were days when I just could not say those things, when I was suffocated with the darkness. But I was never there for too long, and I only fell to that place when I chose to look at my circumstances through my feelings and the lack of “fairness” I felt entitled to. The moment I let go of myself, my feelings and supposed entitlements, God was more than willing, He was delighted to give me new eyes to see His light and a new heart and new mind that knows Him and His Truth.
Now please, let me emphasize. This all came from the Lord. I personally could not, am not able to let go of myself so completely by my own will. My faith in God and His goodness did not come from myself and my beliefs, but came from His eternal faithfulness that He shows me always. My love for God and thankfulness for His grace again did not come from myself and my beliefs, but came as a result of His perfect love and endless grace that He pours out on me each moment of the day. It is just like 1 John 4:19 says, “We love because He first loved us.” All I can do and say about God comes not from myself, but is in response to Him and His Spirit in me.
So I just shared a lot. Maybe a lot of uncomfortable things for some, maybe some hard things for others, and maybe an overly simplistic experience of something that you already know. But I wanted to share this because I want to give you just one more example of how GREAT our God is. And so that you and I both can always come back to this as a reminder of just how safe it is to say, “Come what may, this is what I want. I desire all of God.” That’s not easy to say. It will bring hurt, pain, and brokenness. It takes full commitment, it takes courage, it takes perseverance. But we ourselves don’t have to be able to give that. God is faithful and good and loves us and will provide everything we need. And we are never trapped in the darkness, because God, who is light, is always with us. We will find ourselves knowing and experiencing God more and more, just as we desire.
I challenge you to claim this beautiful and scary desire. I challenge you to walk right into the throes of the battle that will be waged as you live out this desire to know and experience God. I’ll be right there beside you. With the Holy Spirit in us, we can fight together, hurt together, cry together, laugh in freedom together, hold onto hope together, and grow in our knowledge of God and experience Him more and more together. Together, let’s give our lives to the Lord. It will no longer be us living, but He living in us, and what a blessed life that will be!