God's work within me is graciously continual but this past October seemed to be a dramatic turning point. A beauty from ashes type of moment in which God's methods literally left me speechless---a mixed form of shock and awe.
I admitted myself to the hospital after a lengthy battle with "clinical depression". The sense of despair deepened in ways I'd never imagined, largely in part due to a pharmaceutical mistake that, thankfully, was remedied within a matter of days and I returned home. The time in the hospital was calming and and I felt God using that time to draw me closer to Him without my usual protective pretenses.
I was allowed to take an extended leave of absence from work and the months of November and December were spent in re-evaluating, redirecting, rejuvenation, and repentance. I clung to and cried out to Him and could almost tangibly feel the warmth of His grasp on my mind, heart, and soul. Once the toxic medication dissipated and I felt more physically rested than I had in the longest time, all seemed so clear and so hopeful.
On Christmas Eve, my dad's life ended. He had been diagnosed with terminal cancer yet the cancer was not the cause of his death. When I received the call regarding his death, my immediate reaction was anger and disgust. There is no doubt in my mind that the timing of his death was purposeful---the 'perfect ending' to a sociopath's narcissistic life. You could almost the voices of those who truly didn't know the man thinking "...poor, poor man died all alone on Christmas Eve; none of his children were even there..." Unbelievably nauseating, as was his memorial service on New Year's Eve and his burial a few weeks later.
My dad's death struck me in such an unexpected emotional way. I truly believed that I had already "grieved" his loss when our relationship ended almost 7 years ago. His death not only brought an end to his earthly life but an end to any hopes that I had, unknowingly, hung onto of the relationship ever being truly reconciled. I had allowed myself to think that if a reconciliation did occur that the relationships with my aunts, uncles, and cousins wouldn't be so terribly awkward.
I was able to spend an afternoon with my dad a few weeks before his death. That "visit" resulted in a certain amount of peace but was far from a reconciliation of any sort. As I left his burial site, I knew that I was not only saying 'goodbye' to the man who was my dad but I was also saying goodbye to any hopes of a better relationship with him and his family. An unexpected sense of loss and betrayal were deeply felt.
Looking back, these occurrences between late October to the beginning of January seemed to be the beginning of the process of removing layers of the filth and lies in which I had allowed Satan to shroud my heart.
For the sake of length, I'll close here and pick up next time with the continuation of layers being removed that have led to a sense of clarity and purpose that I have never experienced. I am so thankful for the words of Philippians 1: 6 (NLT):
And I am sure that God who began the good work within you, will continue His work until it is finally finished on that day when Christ Jesus comes back again.