I waffled on how to write this. I could stick by the strictly chronological method and fulfill the requirements to express the manner in which I came to salvation. That is done in a simple sentence: at seven years of age my mother explained salvation to me during prayers and something resonated and I knew I needed Jesus. I do not know that this is fully the description of my salvation, however. The working out of one’s faith is more in depth and a longer process, and truthfully, more painful. Chronologically speaking, Jesus became real to me, my lifeline, during my 14th year. This factual statement doesn’t allude to the previous years, the deaths and the confusion that filled it; the self-hurting and the despair and the rage at God over the pain that this broken world so indiscriminately doles out to its inhabitants. Truthfully, I’d just rather talk about God, because at the end of it all, He’s the only part that tuly mattered.
The thing is, now I am in my 30th year. And since then I’ve had one or two “14th years”. You know those seasons of life where you hit rock bottom and perhaps even question what you thought you knew about God and His character? Those times when you look around and life just doesn’t quite look like those felted Sunday school boards, and it isn’t simple and black and white, and it definitely is not what you had planned.
Chuck Swindoll once said, “When you accept the fact that sometimes seasons are dry and times are hard and that God is in control of both, you will discover a sense of divine refuge, because the hope then is in God and not in yourself.”
I’ve learned a few thing this year. This is another page in the working out of my salvation. It’s a lesson about refuge. The sort of refuged Mr. Swindoll refered to, I think. In this season of life, God is teaching me what it means for Jesus to be the lover of my soul. This is my life’s testamony.
The depth of my past misplaced lordship and love is one that still can bring me to my knees in sorrow. Maybe because it is one that I am still hashing out. I don’t feel fully healed. My clearest memories of pain from my most recent “14th year”, the ones that still have the ability to take my breath away like a line driver to the chest, are one’s of me looking around my life and the people in it and feeling like I was fully alone. Since then, He’s been teaching me to take solace and comfort in the aloneness. Something that was painful to me before is now so precious.
The thing is, we are actually always “alone” in a sense. There is a place in each of us and our lives where no other person can enter with you, though they may try. Where when we try to open it up for them, when we try to make people more to us than they are ever meant or able to be, is when we feel the aloneness most poignantly and we interpret it as rejection or loss. I spent so much trying to give it to another person. This place in us is a secret and sanctified one reserved for only God. This place is one that no one else truly has access to. It is an inmost part of me that is unenterable by others. My Holy of Holies. My soul. It is the part of me that is made in God’s image which longs and thirsts for a relationship that only He can satiate. It is a spiritual part of me that is incompatible with human and fleshly relationships. It is the place of true and genuine and selfless love. It is a place designed to be a safe place, a refuge, that is wholly devoted to God. Yet, it becomes a place utterly able to destroy me when given to those who were never meant for it. This is what satan fights for. It is the place of covenant. It is the place where Christ hides me. Where the pain and fulfillment of my earthly relationships and circumstances are unable to penetrate and therefore are unable to own me or take me from Him.
I am not one to freely publish my life, but we are called to offer what God has brought us through to one another to provide strength and empathy and instruction to point one another towards the Father. This is an act of obedience for me.
The heartbreak of removing the idols that I have set up in the sacred has been horrendous. The pain of taking back that place in my life for God that I had given over has been crushing and at times hard to breathe through. The times when I live in the darkness of lies I believe that it is because of love that this has been so hard. Its not because of love. It is because of sin. It is because of brokeness. I truthfully do not know how to finish the extraction from that innermost part of myself. In the times of light and truth and discernment I see and desperately want full healing and a total eviction. I want sole occupancy to return to God. I believe this is full healing. I believe that not only is it possible, but it is God’s will, and He is actively working in my life to bring it to fruition. I don’t know how long it will take. I don’t even know what it will take. I used to be afraid of that. I’m not afraid right now. I want it. I want it more than anything in this life.
This is freedom. This is setting the catives free. This is abundant life. This is fullness of life. This is true healing of the human condition. Restoration of sight. This is what is meant to be surrendered. This is what it means to be held, to be carried, to live victoriously, to be in the world but not of it. This is where we meet with the Most High. This is the mercy seat. Both the lap of the Father and the foot of the cross, where the blood splatters and we are covered. This is righteousness. This is salvation. This is the work of Jesus Christ in my life.