In a conversation with my mom this afternoon I was telling her about the joy I am finding in blogging. You see a few years ago, I experienced tremendous, self-inflicted heart ache and troubles. There was a period of about four years that I desperately hated myself. I am sure I will get into more detail about all of that some other time, but for now, let’s just call it the worst few years of my life. But, many blessings came out of it as well. Looking back now, I can see just how much God allowed me to experience His mercy in my mess.
During this time, I survived a period of deep depression. My dad had passed about two years prior, and my mom, graciously, put her life on hold to come live with us while I weathered this storm. In the deepest, darkest part of this, I realized that even though I did not want to wake up the next morning, I had to for my children.
My three beautiful boys were 13, 11 and 4 and needed their mom to be present and to be healthy. My therapist recommended that I join a support group called Celebrate Recovery. I also joined a ladies bible study at my church and started attending services on Sunday on a regular basis. It was not long until I was in a full immersion crash course with Jesus.
It was gradual, but after a while I started to see things clearly for what might have been the first time in my life. I started to really get to know and have a relationship with Christ. I started to have faith that things were getting better. And while my life around me was in shambles, I started to feel better. I didn’t have to fake being ok quite so much as I had the days before, and I had started to smile real smiles again. I was starting to see how I was experiencing His mercy in my mess.
I remember talking to my mom one day and telling her that “God is in control of my whole mess, and if I will get right with Him, put all my trust and faith in Him, He will make everything else right.” Y’all, this was in the very middle of my mess. If my mom was not a believer in the Lord she would have thought that I was crazy.
The weeks went on and turned into months, and I continued to get better. It was very clear that I was still very broken. My heart ached in so many places for so many different reasons. I knew this recovery period would take a while, but this time I was on my journey under the direction of God and it was different.
My therapist had also encouraged me to volunteer somewhere. He said it would take my focus off of myself and my problems and helping others would be very good for me. So, I started volunteering once a week for a few hours at a men’s home for men who were in a bad place, but wanted to commit to having a relationship with the Lord.
I remember reading something about “What you’re supposed to do with your life,” or “What is your passion,” and it said if there is something that you can’t talk about without crying, that is your passion.
Anyway, one afternoon after volunteering, I was telling my mom that I felt like God wanted to use all of “this” to speak to other women. I felt like He did not want this experience to be in vain and just for me, but that I was supposed to share it and use it to encourage other women. I cried the whole time I was telling her this.
And of course, I had no idea what that could have possible meant or how God could use me. Did I need to go back to school to be a counselor? Did I need to work in a women’s ministry at church? Nothing happened soon, so I just kind of tucked that conversation away in the back of my mind. I kind of felt like it was a promise to me that He would use my experience if I would be faithful to Him. Then, this afternoon mom and I talked about it – that conversation we had several years ago. She remembered it too. I cried the whole time we were talking about it.
I cried because I am feeling like right now, this is where God wants to use me. He wants me to share my experiences with you. He wants me to show you that there is another side and that whatever your mess is, He will walk you through it just like He did me.
In John 16:33, Jesus says, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” And I am here to tell you that ALL of that verse is true. I know you know the part about “you will have trouble” is true. But sweet friend, the part that says “so that in Me you may have peace,” is just as true. And if you will let Him, he can overcome whatever is wrecking your world. Wrap your head around that! Wrap your heart around that! He has overcome this world!
I will leave you with Romans 12:12, “Be joyful in hope, patient in afflictions, and faithful in prayer.” Have faith that joy can come out of your mess. He showed me great Mercy in my mess, and He wants to show you the same.