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We Are Live Salted!
I was sitting in the bedroom I once shared with my baby sister that had become my office I was starting my small business out of. I hadn’t planned on living with my parents that long but freedom was a sacrifice I was willing to make in order to get where I wanted to go. But where I wanted to go, turned out way different then I had planned. But isn’t it like God to lead you in a direction for a whole different reason then you thought!
I was 28 years old and I had quit my corporate job to start my business. It was a leap of faith – something you can afford to do as a twenty something. It was exciting and new and all the things someone ignorant to the hardships of entrepreneurship would expect it to be. And it was a lot of those fun things, but it was also a lot of hard things too. Financially hard. Incredibly challenging. Pressure of supporting yourself completely on your own and taxes – they’re enough stress to make you want to quit.
I was not only trying to build something on my own in my professional life but God was leading me in a direction in my spiritual life that no one around me was going and although He was with me, I felt the sting of separation from those I loved most. We were physically together, but I felt emotionally alone. And although I knew I was found, there was a part of me in this season that felt lost. God was doing something in my heart that I felt no one around me understood and even though I had the comfort of God, it was an incredibly hard and lonely time in my life. It eventually proved too much and one day I found myself sitting in that office feeling completely and utterly alone in the world. I wasn’t, but in my spirit, I felt loneliness like I never had before, coupled with the OCD and anxiety I had already been battling my entire life and it was all together, just too much.
It felt like no one knew me. No one understood me. No one could relate to what was going on internally – both mentally and spiritually. It felt as though I was on this journey all alone. Going through life all alone. I knew it wasn’t true, but it felt as true as the certainty that the sun would rise tomorrow. Each day I thought I would wake up different. Wake up changed back to my old self. Like somehow it would magically disappear and I would feel normal again. Me again. But God had a plan for my life. I couldn’t see it then, but I know it now. While I just wanted to be normal, He wanted me to be changed! He wasn’t concerned with my comfort, He was concerned with my heart. But at the time, all I wanted was for it to be over. Everyday, I hoped that tomorrow would somehow be different, like I would wake up and it would be lifted. Gone. But it wasn’t. For a very long time. It wasn’t different. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9
For the next four months, I sobbed every single day. And when I say everyday, I mean Every. Single. Day. I didn’t even know why half of the time. This continued on and off (more on then off) for over a year. Lots of doctors visits. Lots of medication try-outs. On and off. Up and down. I was hospitalized twice for panic attacks followed by medication for anxiety and depression. Somewhere along this journey, I sensed the medication was just masking something God was trying to do in me or pull out of me and after much prayer and clear direction from Him, I got off the medication. I want to note that I’m not against medication, I know people who take it and whose lives are better and more balanced because of it! I believe this is an individual journey and that each person has to lean into what God is speaking to them personally. For me, I knew without a shadow of doubt the Holy Spirit was telling me to depend on God through this season and that medication wasn’t the answer for my personal journey.
For the next year, I crawled through this valley of despair for what felt like an eternity and I wondered daily why God would bring me to this place? Why would He have led me on this path? Did I hear Him wrong? Did He even tell me to quit my job or was it just what I wanted to do?
I wrestled with this everyday, wondering if I had made a mistake, wondering if I messed up God’s plan for me. This led me to doubt His voice, my purpose and eventually His Word, so I got out a sharpie and I wrote Romans 8:28 on my hand to remind myself every day and all day of God’s Truth – that in ALL things He works for the good of those who love Him and have been called according to His purpose. ALL things. Not some things, not most things, ALL THINGS! I knew I loved Him and I loved his Word, so even if I stepped right when He wanted me to step left, even if I heard Him wrong, He would work it out.
As long as we aren’t intentionally going against something written in the Word and we are doing our best to make decisions that honor God and be obedient to where we believe He is leading us, even if and even when we get it wrong, He will use it. This helped me to breathe in that season and realize I had possibly made an idol out of purpose. I wanted so badly to find my purpose and was so paralyzed by that fear I had gotten it wrong. And to be completely honest, I still don’t know if I heard Him correctly when I stepped out in faith.
I’m not even sure how much time had passed, but one day, in a little chapel of a church I used to call home, God met me in my pain and comforted me in a way I can only describe as supernatural. He gave me a peace that passes understanding and a joy that lived among the tears. Right there, after years of studying His word and months of pursuing Truth, in my loneliness, I knew that I knew that this was the God who created the Heavens and the earth, the One who saves. It was there in my little corner of the world, He held me close and surrounded me with His love. It was there, I knew God was the only One I would ever need and it was there, in my despair, I knew He was the only One who could make the worst thing that ever happened to me the best thing that ever happened to me. There, in my tears, I found that joy and sorrow could coexist with God (John 16:22). It was there in that valley that I knew Him like I hadn’t before and discovered He was enough – completely and fully enough. It was there that my faith went from belief in Him to knowing Him personally. And it was there in that little chapel that I came to a deeper faith than I ever would have without walking through that valley.
The interesting thing about some of the hardest seasons in our lives is that once they are over, part of us longs to go back to them as they are often the seasons that we are the closest to Jesus. It sounds crazy to someone on the outside looking in and honestly it even sounds a bit crazy to me. Because who would want to walk through the most painful season they ever went through again? Someone who met Jesus there, that’s who. That’s the difference He makes. We don’t have to wish for the pain of that season to wish we could be that close to Him again. I don’t wish for pain, but I appreciate what pain can often bring. I don’t want to go back to the painful time of that season, but I miss being there all the same because it’s the closest I’ve ever been with the Father. Only the one true living God can make you long to go back to the place you couldn’t wait to get out of. Only Jesus can make sweetness out of sorrow. Only Jesus can turn mourning into dancing and only Jesus can take the season causing you pain and use it to change your name. Only Him. And there’s only One (John 17:3)!
Looking back through the string of events that led me to that place, I see God’s hand so clearly. Meeting Him there shifted my life. He didn’t call me to start my business to make me into some successful business woman (although He could have done that and that’s what my plans were), He called me there because He knew that the journey would lead me to a place where I would long for Him. He knew what I didn’t know so He allowed me to go where I never would have gone. He allowed me to walk through the only valley He knew I would seek Him in and if I could change it, I wouldn’t. If a life void of these seasons is a life void of deep relationship with God, I don’t want it.
Knowing Him is worth every hard thing I’ve ever walked through. He is worth every tear. Every season. Everything – if it leads to Him. He is worthy. His Word is Truth. And He cares about our good seasons and our bad ones in our tiny little corners of the world. Because He is God and He is for you and He is for me. If we know that, we can walk in victory even when it’s hard.
There’s a lot we won’t ever know this side of eternity, but let’s know this: He is working even when you can’t see it and He is for you even when you don’t feel it. Let His Word be the Truth we believe when our feelings tell us the lie that He has left us. He has not. He does not and He will not. He didn’t die on the cross to leave us. He died on the cross to save us and sometimes that looks like a journey I would have rather not walked, but today, I’m sure glad I did. Because Jesus.
Artist, writer and encourager. I believe the simplest things in life are over looked and undervalued and that the biggest impact we will have in the world is right where are with the people God put in our lives. I am a creator, saved by the grace of God and I want to use all the gifts He’s given me to point people to the overwhelming never ending love of Jesus.
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I knew you had stuggled for awhile but I always knew you were seeking Jesus. I, personally, have been seeking him myself. I haven’t always known Jesus personally, but now I do and I hope to keep growing in that direction. Thank you for your openness about your faith. If you lead one person to Jesus Christ then you have done a great job!
I hope you have brighter days and know that all the stuff in this old world is just that….stuff. No one will remember us in the next couple generations to come but God will know we tried our damdest to make it to Him, as he promised, if we do His will. We can only do what we think He is telling us to do. Keep fishing for those who are lost. You are very good at that and at the end of the day, He will meet you and say “Good work my servant”.