The Hard, Narrow, Rocky Road Where Jesus Carried Me...
As I sit, metaphorical pen to parchment, my fingers tremble. I struggle to share my story. I have had deep hurt, and to tell it, it has to be the whole, not the part…
I grew up in a comfortable middle class family. My grandparents lived next door. We celebrated birthdays & holidays with an air of magic. Church every Sunday morning/night & Wednesday’s too – for good measure.
What no one saw was the house was made of paper, flame caught, consumed in heat to ash, the underbelly surfaced.
I had a parent that fought with depression & addiction (still does). I had another parent that was there, but absent. There was little conversation about the shadows in our family. They were swept under the rug or locked in the closet – out of site out of mind. This was when I first learned to draw the shades over my heart; pulling deeper within myself & withdrawing from the pain. I still struggle, as Sara Groves says, “to keep my heart open like the surface of a lake”. I don’t know how to share my deep aches. I am a work in progress.
The Savior breathed new life into these dry bones at 13 years of age. From that moment I found something I was good at – being the good Christian girl. I crafted idols, Christian tap shoes if you will, that I used to dance about, desperate for attention, desperate for love (love that I had found but did not realize the weight of).
At 17…the beloved parent who’s worth, royal heritage through the precious blood of Christ, had been stripped by the lie attempted to take their life. My hands shook on the steering wheel, trying to be brave, as I drove to the ER…hurt, broken, overwhelmed, and shutting down. I put on a brave front. It was not a big deal - another lock on the closet door. (Even as I type this I want to delete it. I am learning that it is alright to admit weakness, but it is still hard. )
My beautiful breathtaking wonderfully amazing Mom has overcome many battles, but still struggles with her hurt; she still struggles to numb it all. She doesn’t see who God created. She doesn’t see the woman Jesus loves, but she is trying. She is trying & I love her. I love my Dad too…
At 19…the tables turned & depression took hold of me, its black roots burying deep into my dying heart. I desperately wanted to simply fade from this earth. I felt aimless & without purpose. I don’t recall a time I ever contemplated suicide, but I remember vividly praying to the Lord to take my life. I didn’t want to wake up. Someone mentioned to me the beautiful book “The Sacred Romance” by John Eldredge & Brent Curtis.
It was as if Christ physically reached down with His arms, scooped me up, & held me tight. Tears spilling from His eyes as He spoke tenderly to me, “Beloved, this is how I see you. You are captivating to me. I love you completely – scars & all. My love is healing. It can heal you too.” He sings over me (Zephaniah 3:17).
I wish I could write my entire life story from 19 to 33, but that would simply be too long. This journey has been delicious, hard, wrecking, healing, heart breaking, & restorative. There have been many desert moments with God (Hosea 2). I hope I act less like a petulant child when it comes to what Christ asks of me. I am learning to trust Him more. But, I still weight my heart down with idols. I still lose my focus. The beautiful mystery is that He never gives up on me. He continually draws me back to His heart. He continues to pursue me even when I have run reckless. He woos me down from the cleft of the rock & places His mantle of protection over me. He binds my wounds & tenderly & reverently shows me His. It is a communion deep, rich, & undeniable.
I have given Him my dreams & given them to Him again & again. I have been a Nanny to six special needs children for the past five years. I’m not “Mommy” but “Wissa”. It is the most profound, rich, overwhelming responsibility & great joy. I would never have planned it for myself. If I had had my way I would have been in film production. His guidance was right on the mark. I have learned more about God’s grace & love through these tiny hands than I ever could on a film set.
I am also a weekend manager at the American Cancer Society Hope Lodge. I have the great opportunity to minister to individuals who are fighting for their lives as well as those that care for them. In the end, they minister to me tenfold. I see Christ manifest in their weary eyes & hope-filled spirits. They are a force to be reckoned with…Jesus meets us there.
This is not the life I would have planned for myself. I even fought against it for a time. But, God helped me to find it…to find Him in it.
He has led me to another lovely book, “1,000 Gifts” by Ann Voskamp. In the words of this gracious quiet woman I found the hope of a warrior. Grace – abounding, rich, deep, sacred is not found merely in those happy joy-filled moments, but in the pain, hard to think about, heart wrenching, break-full moments.
I am weary, black & blue from the fighting, & as I lift my hands up – worshipping, for what else I can do - He meets me. And, I envision, like Aslan on the hillside with Susan & Lucy, Jesus & I running, playing, laughing with great delight even as the battle rages all around.
I see His grace with my name said on a child’s lips, the wondrous passionate feeling of placing pen to parchment, rain on a roof, a journal that feels like home, laughter: pure & clear, early morning light through stoic windows, the soft sounds of the world waking outside my window, a deep resonant voice filled with compassion, the communion of being fully known, answered prayers that usher me into the throne room, a crisp summer drive with music that tears the veil, tears that stream down one’s face purging of sorrow & selfishness, & a glorious date with the Savior.
(Thank you Sidewalk Prophets for this opportunity. Your music speaks of God’s truth & great love.)