I’d like to say a HUGE hello and welcome to those of you hopping over here for the first time from (in) This Season! Feel free to have a nose around and make yourself comfy.
For those of you who are regular readers…
I am part of an amazing online community group called (in) This Season, part of the Incourage women’s ministry. For the next 10 weeks or so I will be hosting a blog link-up on our community group theme for the week. Although this is aimed at the community group we’d love to have you join in too! So if you want to link-up write your post and add your link, alternatively if you don’t have a blog you could just write in the comments.
I’d like to lay down a few rules for this link-up:
1. Write for as long as you want. One person might write an essay, someone else might write a sentence. That’s fine.
2. Write how you want. One person might write a bible study, someone else a story – we want to hear whatever is on your heart to write.
3. Visit the person before you and go give them some comment love (and anyone else you want to). No ifs or buts. This one is a must. We are after all incouragers!
Ok, without further a-do let’s get started.
I sat on her sofa looking down at the floor, my thoughts too jumbled to say a word, my emotions too negative to express. I could feel her watching me, looking at me, trying to discern what to say. Finally the question was asked:
“What are you feeling?”
My answer came quickly and clearly, it was something I didn’t have to give a moments thought to:
My voice was small and shaky, tears slowly rolled down my cheek. I sat there 24 years behind me, yet sounding like a 4-year-old child waking their mother up after a bad nightmare. It was how I felt too, like I was stuck in a nightmare, and I desperately wanted someone to pull me out of it, to explain it to me, to stroke my hair and tell me it would all be ok, to hold my hand and tell me not to be afraid but to drift back into blissful sleep.
She couldn’t do all that. There was no simple explanation, there was no guarantee that it would all be ok, this was no nightmare I could wake from but a reality I had to walk through, and there was no way of drifting off into peaceful sleep to forget it all.
She asked another question:
“What are you scared of?”
Like a child my answer came again through the tears caught in my throat.
“I don’t know, I’m just scared all the time.”
I had no idea of the reason for the fear that gripped me so tightly, I was held so strong and pulled so close to the fear I couldn’t see clearly. She began to provide a possible explanation:
“It’s like you’re in a mine field, and everywhere you step mines just keep exploding in your face. Just when you think you’re safe you move and another one goes off, it doesn’t matter which direction you go or how carefully you tread. And you never know when the next one is going to explode.”
A smile crept across my face – I wondered if she saw the irony of it. I had just been evacuated from a war-zone full of physical mine fields, and somehow I had landed in a metaphorical mine field that was causing me far more fear than any real one ever did. I nodded because the words she spoke were as if she were speaking straight from my heart. She had the illustration I was too paralyzed by fear to give. She continued:
“You’ve got to stand still. You’ve got to stand and wait for the guide to show you the way out. You’ve got to wait for him to take your hand and show you the way out and to guide your path through the mine field.”
I looked up at her, I knew what she was saying but I needed to hear her spell it out.
“God is your guide, He will get you through this. Wait for Him, listen for Him, follow His lead He will guide you through.”
But how do you listen for a voice when your thoughts are all so jumbled, when there’s only two thoughts that fill your mind and they come from one voice. The thoughts that say ‘I don’t want to live anymore’ and ‘I’m scared to die’. The thought pair that paralyzes you into sitting on the sofa in a crumpled heap with tears endlessly running down your face and dripping of your chin.
I knew what I needed, I needed the truth, I needed to know, I needed to hear what was true. I sat wondering where I could find the truth, and I knew it had to be in one place only, the only place I knew was true for sure, the only words I knew I could count on for truth, in His Word. As I stumbled upon my answer I caught my breath realizing another truth I had lost sight of.
The only thing I could feel gripping me, the only arms around me that I could feel, were the arms of fear, and they gripped me so tightly. But then, in that moment, when such a beautiful answer came to me, I knew it, I knew that fear’s arms weren’t the only ones wrapping me. I knew that His arms were holding me too, I may not feel them, but they were there, holding me, not letting go, ready to steer me in the right direction, ready to nudge me through the grip of fear to the place where I would find Truth.
I knew that my Saviour’s arms were around me even though I did not feel them, and that truth carried me through many dark days that were still to come. I made a decision to listen to the truth, to find His voice calling out to me over the exploding mines in my life, to wait and listen for His voice calling out truth to me.
My mother began to daily read scripture to me, a task I was too weak to do myself. I listened and let the words sink to my heart, even if my brain could not process them. Friends would send me messages with verses in them and I would take them in like good medicine. I read blog posts that were full of truth and scripture and I let them water my soul. I listened to worship music and let the lyrics drift into my mind. I used the little will, the little strength, the little energy, the little fight I had to surround myself with truth. He is truth and in surrounding myself with truth I began to hear his voice, small short whispers, urging me to keep going, to keep fighting, to try again, to try to live.
Jesus said “…you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” [John 8:32]
I sought the truth, and I found the truth, and the truth did indeed set me free. Little by little, step by step, slowly so as not to break me – it set me free.
Ok, your turn. We’d love to hear your heart on “Truth”
I’m part of an amazing community group called (in) This Season, part of the (in)Courage family. As a part of the community each week we’ll be writing a blog post to share with each other. To find ut more about (in)Courage click on the button below.
I’ve spent my summer celebrating, relaxing, reconnecting with friends and family, being surrounded by joy. But in amongst all that there were griefs too. I watched as friends and mentors were buried, I said my own goodbyes and grieved alone as friends far away finished their race here. But mainly, mainly I have been surrounded by joy, and it has been good for my soul, it has been a much needed change.
One day, in amongst all this joy, I faced a difficult task. I had to watch as someone I knew made a choice which meant I would no longer be in their life the same way I had been. I may still be a part of it, but my part will be smaller, and our relationship will be weaker. I had to watch them walk out of my life and watch after their backs and they faded into the distance. I had promised myself I wouldn’t cry, but the tears came nonetheless. My heart ached, and I wanted to run after them, but I knew I must stay and watch them walk. In the midst of it I sat still, and I begged God to remain close, and He did. I asked him for an explanation, and I didn’t get one. Instead I got this:
“Feel how much this hurts Emilie? To have them walk away, after all you’ve done, after the way you’ve loved. To watch them walk out of your life, and to know they’ll be much distant from now? Feel how much that hurts? Now imagine how much it hurts when the person I was tortured for, the person I loved like no-one else had loved them, the person I bled and died for, walks away from me. Think about how much that hurts me.”
My tears changed, from one of self-pity, to ones of brokenness for the rejections my saviour faces day after day.
In that moment my heart was re-awakened with a passion to reach those who reject. For my lover, and my saviour, for he deserves more than to be rejected. He deserves love and praise and gratitude, if only they would see and understand what He did for them. Knowing too that if they stop rejecting the embrace of love and grace they will experience will be far greater than anything else in their lives.