Sunday, February 5, 2012
For the past few years, I have experienced what has been termed "intrusive memories" and "night-terrrors". On August 7th, I experienced one of those moments that hopefully will be as hard as these things ever get. For as long as I can remember, I have always desired a deeper relationship with God but hesitated in such because of always questioning deep within my heart where His so-called presence was during times of my past. On this evening in August, the 'memories' took my breath away and felt as if it could very easily squeeze the life out of me. A very uncomfortable, unpleasant, horrific few days. BUT there was a huge a-ha moment in that process. I realized that God had to have been there in my past. This realization sunk in hard and deep because I knew without a doubt that I couldn't survive the recalling of these memories without Him by my side much less having had survived the event in reality without Him. The awareness of that TRUTH was overpowering, overwhelming, and life-changing. Such clarity in the darkness amazed me.
The next couple of weeks were relatively calm and assuring and God continued to show me things that left me in a state of awe and amazement. I realized that for far too long, I had allowed myself to view the feelings/reactions of others to be of more importance than what God's views were on the matter. I turned to other believers far more frequently than I turned to God. That realization brought me to knees in repentance.
The last week of September was filled with 'intrusive memories', nightmares, and exhaustion which left my immune system wide-open to the routine illnesses involved with spending your days with 4-5 year old students. I missed work for close to a week due to the illness. Afterwards, I had an enjoyable weekend filled with rest and relaxation yet woke on Monday with fever and such and ended up missing a couple of more days of work. UGH!! The upside to the illness was that even though I didn't feel well, I was able to spend a lot of time in prayer, Bible Study, and simply being still before God. Tiresome ordeal for the 1st half of October but began to feel a physical reprieve near the middle of the month.
I had fallen way behind in paperwork with school and ended up spending some time in my classroom over the weekend. In trying to catch up, I attacked a long list of emails. One email was from a 'past friend' that I had, obviously, unsuccessfully attempted to close all communication with. I was beyond frustrated that this person had once again appeared in my 'inbox'. Part of my heart told me to simply press delete yet part of my heart wanted to respond in such a way that would successfully close this relational door once and for all. I didn't immediately open the email and asked 2 girl-friends who were aware of this issue to pray for me regarding the choice that lay before me.
In the midst of this personal conflict, professional conflict occurred which resulted in meeting with administration and all sorts of drama. Not a pleasant time but a time of clear communication, direct confrontations, and a strength that only could have come from God. In the process of dealing with the job conflict, God enabled me to clearly, assertively, and honestly communicate with my professional superiors which in turn, gave me the courage to tackle the relational issue.
When the issues at work had subsided, I realized that I had to once and for all put an end to the "past friendship" that I kept allowing to re-surface even though I knew it was ultimately dangerous, harmful and sinful. I realized that my own sinful desires allowed the opening of this evil but I, also, strongly felt that God was willing to enter it with me and give me the words needed to end this emotional game once and for all. In past attempts to end this damaging relationship, I always felt a sense of guilt because I felt that I owed this person. God enabled me to be direct enough in this communication so that nothing could be misconstrued or misunderstood in any way. ONLY through the strength of God and those whom he allowed to stand by me, I was FINALLY able to say what needed to be said without feeling any guilt, remorse, or fear. God clearly used this final chapter to strip away the lie(s) that I owed this man anything.
I remain in complete AWE of the Lord and His mercies because there hasn't been even one moment of regret, concern, sadness, guilt, etc. Allowing myself to accept God at His Word, I now feel and know that I have absolutely been set free from this evil stronghold that I had allowed this situation to have upon for close to 21 years
My husband was so supportive during this process and God allowed communication in my marriage that restored---actually made new--- the commitment that he and I had made to each other and to God nearly 15 years ago. God also made it abundantly clear for me to see that only because of Christ’s mercies, I was able to truly recognize that Christ's death did mean far more than I’d ever allowed it to mean.
My relationship with God has always seemed to be made up of a path that went up & down or back & forth. I have continually and repeatedly excused or rationalized my sinful responses and actions as a sort of step in a gradual process of growth. I now realize that my often self-inflicted return to the pit was lessening the power of what Christ has already done in my life. I finally realized, with certainty and more clarity than ever before that God wanted more for me and from me than my continual choice to wander back and forth between the Light and the Dark. The assurance sunk in that God wants me to be and to stay in the Light---so much so that He insured the permanence of that Light through Christ’s death and resurrection. God wasn’t turning the Light on and off to see what I would do. I was repeatedly leaving the Light to see if it would still be on when I returned. God wasn’t orchestrating miserable experiences to test my character. I was choosing and even creating the miseries to test His.
The “I GOT IT” moment was devastatingly horrifying and beautiful at the same time. Horrifying that I am, without doubt, a sinful, hurtful, person. Beautiful in that God has always known that to be true and He, alone, made a way to make me ‘beautiful’ in His eyes.
My relationship with Christ isn’t a process of my growth. My relationship with Christ has been completed. The relationship is done, complete, set, and unchanging because of what Christ did and nothing I do, say, etc. can add to or take away the Light that He, mercifully, provided.
I became deeply aware that I was allowing and/or attempting to make relationship with God transitional rather than allowing Him to make it transforming. The burdens I felt lifted at that very moment of awareness were amazing, overpowering and well, transformational.
Because of accepting that TRUTH, I was finally able to allow God to shut and seal that door in regards to several "things" that I had allowed to control me. "Set Free" has a new, profound, incredible meaning that makes me grateful for each and every moment God allows---regardless of how it feels at the time because I know that He is with me and will work all out for the good He has planned.
Almost immediately, Satan made it clear that he was not going to give up so easily after having had me in bondage for so many years---additional drama at work, a couple of more "blasts from the past" occurred that I never imagined, a car accident that could have very easily taken my life, and some necessary boundaries had to be established. Needless to say there have been some awkward and difficult moments yet God remained faithful and I have never felt at such peace.
Along with dealing with the past, some present relationships took a turn that I never saw coming. Some personal, some familial, and some professional. Some of the changes hurt far more than others.
My biggest fear in life has been to be totally open and known by a person and that person not finding me worthy. In some of the recent relational changes that fear became a reality. Yet God is still God and His mercies are truly new every morning. I have realized that fear has no part in my life. Fear does not come from God. In being forced to face "my biggest fear", I have been hurt but not devastated. I have been grief-stricken but not immobilized. I have been shaken but not shattered. God's Words are TRUTH---He has made me new and more than a conqueror.
Each new day brings about different joys and challenges and I am so thankful for each and every moment. God is good and that will always be the same. I absolutely love living within His presence, turning away from any and all fear, and eagerly anticipating what His plans for me hold.