Several years ago I was struck by a tragedy that forever changed my life. I was called home from work to be a full-time mommy after my, then 6-month old daughter, had suffered a traumatic brain injury. The damage done to her brain was life changing. However, after many years of therapy, prayer, and fighting, she has persevered, overcome great challenges, and is recovering daily!
It has been this very journey through tragedy, which God has used to show Himself faithful and trustworthy to me. And in the process allowed me to see the all-consuming saving power of His Son, Jesus Christ, His great love, and my true identity.
Enslaved by my fears, sadness, guilt, anger, perfectionism, and shame I was a mess! Living life, unaware, I did all I could to control my world. And in it, I struggled to be the mom I wanted to be, the mom my children needed, and the wife my husband deserved. My heart was a deep wounded pit.
Running a 100 miles an hour – in an attempt to escape all the hurt my heart was experiencing and desiring to prove myself along the way – I went after my dreams with no awareness of the effects my “running” was having on my family in need. I auditioned for American Idol, wrote a book, and chased my dream of owning a design business for 5 years, believing that in these things I would find life. Needless to say, not one of these things I was chasing thrived. They instead, caused separation, pain, and death.
BUT GOD IS FAITHFUL AND OH-SO-PATIENT AND KIND.
Chained down by my fears, and brokenness the Lord asked me one day, “Do you trust me?” My “Christianese” answer was, “Yes, Lord, of course I trust you.” After all I had been a Christian since the age of 9. It’s what I was “supposed” to say. My heart, however, said, “No way!” And, my life was a reflection of this lack of trust.
Little by little, however, – and with a lot of counseling – he began to pull the scabs off my heart. In doing so He revealed to me many gaping wounds. In having my eyes opened to the condition of my heart, He began to reveal the “Why?” behind my need for control, worldly success, and validation.
Living life, a very hurt and fearful girl, I was doing all I could to live in control. After all, I had suffered many offenses up to this point and was determined to not hurt anymore! Pile on top of this the reality that I was living life unsure of the person God created me to be and suddenly I became the perfect recipe for an identity crisis. Believing I was only seen for who I was on the outside, I learned to depend on those things to define me. When my talents were seen as successful, I was successful; When my outward appearance was just right, I was just right; When everything appeared good and in control, I was good and in control!But, when they weren’t – I was worthless and left without value – in my mind’s eye. Needless to say, I was living a life believing I had to keep it all together and the weight of it all was oh-so-heavy!
With my eyes now open to the raw and exposed wounds of my heart, I cried out for help. And it was here, that He met me and began doing what any Father who loves His child would do. He held me, bandaged the seeping sores, and began wiping away my tears. Fully aware that the sin of my heart stemmed from the hurt I had experienced throughout my life in this fallen world, He reminded me that it was for this very reason He sent His Son, Jesus, to the cross to bare the sting of death. He reminded me that I didn’t have to carry the burdens of this life because He had already walked the long, dirt-covered road to Damascus carrying the heavy weight of that wooden cross on His shoulders for me. He reminded me of His great and redeeming love and in the process cleansed my injured heart, took away the sins that were keeping me from knowing the fullness of His love, and covered me with His redeeming blood. And through it all, reminded me that I was His worthy, precious, redeemed, and perfectly presentable child whom He had created and chosen. In seeing Him, with my eyes wide open, I was able to see me and through it receive the healing that could only come from knowing, believing, and trusting Him.
“IN ALL THIS YOU GREATLY REJOICE, THOUGH NOW FOR A LITTLE WHILE YOU MAY HAVE HAD TO SUFFER GRIEF IN ALL KINDS OF TRIALS. THESE HAVE COME SO THAT THE PROVEN GENUINENESS OF YOUR FAITH—OF GREATER WORTH THAN GOLD, WHICH PERISHES EVEN THOUGH REFINED BY FIRE—MAY RESULT IN PRAISE, GLORY AND HONOR WHEN JESUS CHRIST IS REVEALED (1PETER 1:5-7).
Knowing and accepting His great love was step one. Letting go and giving Him control of my life, was step two – could I do this?
Running, along the coast of St. Thomas early one morning in a steaming hot 95 degrees, listening to Francesca Battistelli’s song “I’m Letting Go” I was covered in chills. As she sang the words,
I’m letting go, of the life I planned for me and my dreams, I’m losing control of my destiny It feels like I’m falling but that’s what it’s like to believe,
I knew what He was asking me to do. He wanted me to let go of my design business.
Struggling to understand, and unable to make heads or tails of His plan, I took the step of faith He asked me to take and I let go of the business, recognizing the foundation of it was built on my insecurities. The next several months were hard! So much sadness overcame me. More loss was experienced and I felt the depth of it and grieved it significantly.
WHAT WAS HE DOING? I DIDN’T UNDERSTAND.
The next year of my life would prove a struggle. Bouncing back and forth between the feelings of complete freedom – not bound by my need to be defined by anything – to feeling completely inadequate without these things that had always defined me. I was swallowed by confusion. Why would He give me these gifts and not want me to use them?
But then, something happened.
I truly believed.
And in doing so, I let go of the lie. The lie that, for years, had told me if I didn’t “do this” or “achieve that” then I’d be unimportant. I decided instead to believe that because I was a child of God’s created with all the right characteristics, traits, DNA, and gifts as He saw fit that I was an essential part of His Kingdom. I believed that in letting go of all my dreams, ideas and plans for me, that He Himself would redeem me.
And, He has. For, in letting go and trusting, I have found new life. And am filled with hope for the days that lay ahead of me.
“FOR WHOEVER WANTS TO SAVE THEIR LIFE WILL LOSE IT, BUT WHOEVER LOSES THEIR LIFE FOR ME WILL FIND IT.” MATTHEW 16:25