It feels good to breathe again.
I studied abroad in England back in Spring 2015, and it’s been about two years since then. Ever since then, I felt very uncomfortable being back in old environment and I found myself wrestling with what was truth, what I had believed in all this time. Wait, is God really good? How do I know that? Yeah he met me supernaturally four years ago, but what about now? Little did I know that God was taking me on a journey of deeper inner healing and mending me in parts I didn’t know I was broken…
Weeks and months and quite possibly a whole year and half… It’s easy to gloss over time like this but the in between days are the most excruciating periods when you’re filled with intense doubt and cynicism of the world, of people around you, of God himself and deep, deep hopelessness about who you are. There were mornings when I felt like I couldn’t get up to do anything. No exaggeration. Even eating and taking care of myself were chores, and although I knew this wasn’t how I wanted to live for the rest of my life, I honestly didn’t know what else to do.
And as I sat in my hopelessness, I started to demand answers for everything, from big to personal… How come the church doesn’t celebrate and embrace me like when I first came? Why is there so much hate in the world… you must not exist. How come there were so many times I felt misunderstood when I was young? Why do I still feel awkward with my dad, God? I thought you were for us! How come I was born with impaired vision on one of my eyes God! I thought you made me whole! Do you not love me enough to give me a full healthy body? How come you gave me no gifts or talent?! God, you’re unfair in the ways you create people… you’re unfair and not good to me. You were not thinking of me when you died!
Cynicism only gets you so far… because there’s a giving up and surrendering we have to do as humans. We don’t have that much strength as we think we do, and we can’t freakin fix ourselves even when we try with self- help books, or finding escape in hobbies and music. And my cynicism was my self- defense from confronting the things that really hurt and allowing God to inject more love in me as a daughter and person.
Giving up and surrendering isn’t a “Oh whatever!” giving up. It’s a victorious cry that shouts, I know you’re for me ANYWAY, I can love and forgive ANYWAY, you’re good to me God ANYWAY. And this ANYWAY is weighty, it’s one that’s felt the hurt and has come to terms with what is. It’s rooted in Jesus. Who HAS made everything whole, who gives hope NOW! Who has conquered every possible fear and doubt you could have because he is alive now and for you now!
And I wish that when I gave up these things that God would have mended me right then and there. But people are not robots and things take time. Especially fragile things like your history, your thinking patterns, your view of life and yourself. You have to understand your why’s and your reasoning in order to fully comprehend God’s incomprehensible love for you. You get me? It’s like knowing the full diagnosis in order for the full surgery. Someone special gave me a verse a year ago- Job 23:10. At the time, I didn’t believe her or what the verse promised. There was no gold I saw… just things that were undone and unfinished. But I can finally say for myself and not just take other people’ words as my truths… that there is really gold at the end. I can’t help but cry when I think of these past two years because they were so, so hard (and if you know me, I usually don’t complain about things when they’re “hard”- I think that’s for pansies. lol.)… but he has been committed to me when no one else was… He’s the source of who I am and the foundation on which I stand.
There’s a quote I read that spoke to me during the times I wanted to call it quits. But God is so good to us in the sense where you actually can’t quit; it’s called Grace and it has a hold on you whether you like it or not.
“Hopelessness is a thief, one that is often welcomed into Christian circles in the name of discernment. This deceptive influence must be marked and recognized as a tool of the enemy. If ever there was a season in all of history that the people of God need to believe we’ll see the glory of God, it is now. God’s people are to be known for their hope, regardless of circumstance, perhaps more than most any other virtue. As one of our own, Olivia Shupe once observed ‘The one with the most hope will always have the most influence.’ And we have good reason for it! God’s goodness wreaks havoc on despair, depression and hopelessness.” – Bill Johnson (God is Good, He’s Better Than You Think)
“But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold.” – Job 23:10
There’s hope and there’s gold…