As the summer started I tried several different counselors, whom I believed to have the "right answers" for me. Every session I left with disappointment, discouraged that there was no "right answer" to solve the issues in my heart.
So I stopped going. I chose to tell a few close friends, but not many. I chose to keep living, keep dreaming, keep relying on my own ability to create a positive world.
I got married and my problems appeared smaller. I have an awesome friend who related to my hardship and one day we talked and discussed the deep, hard issues. Our conversation pried open the callouses of my heart and oozed out buried hurt, of which I had not seen in months. And I had absolutely no idea what to do with it.
I unintentionally ignored it. Maybe hoping to find someone with the exact, "problem solved" answer. Maybe hoping for a book to walk me through healing. Maybe hoping it would just go away on its own.
But I didn't find any of those things.
And there my calloused heart sat. Unattended to for months.
I tricked myself into believing that time heals everything. Turns out time can be the enemy if hurt sits unresolved.
A few short months later I experienced hardship for the second time. My response was anger. And lots of "Why?"s.
I tried my best to ask God for help, but I could not get over the overwhelming amount of hopelessness I felt. How will I ever prevent the hardship from returning?
My hopelessness engulfed my ability to hear God.
I lived in that state for 7 months. I uncounciously set up an organized system in my head. "If I do this, this, this, and this THEN I will be able to hear God again."
But I never lived up to the organized system I created. I never prayed enough, never read my bible enough, never encouraged others enough to reach my goal. And I hated that I couldn't get there.
Trent and I laid in bed one night in deep discussion. He asked how my relationship with God was going. I said not good. He said why. I said I can't hear God. He asked how long it's been since I heard Him? I paused.
Months upon months and I had not heard God.
I had shut Him up.
It really wasn't a big "A-ha!" moment. I think deep in my soul I knew the severity of my inability to hear Him all along.
But it was a moment when I recognized how far I had drifted. I wanted to hear Him, I just didn't know how. My organized system didn't work.
The months following I recall whispering in times of difficulty "Lord, I need you."
Other than these words deeming necessity, my actions didn't change much. I picked up my bible a little more often, but the schedule of my life stayed relatively the same.
As time went by I began to hear God speak. Not often. Not when I wanted it. But I heard Him.
And without warning, hardship hit a 3rd time.
Though my immediate response is panic, my emotions settle and I am left with one OVERWHELMING state of being:
Not because it hurt less. Not because I have finally accomplished my organized chart. Not because I've become immune to the hardship.
I was thankful because I had a direct opportunity to show the grace of Jesus.
It is in this moment I recognize how far the Lord has brought me. I am reminded that there is nothing good about me apart from Jesus. He has given me the empowerment to defeat hardship. What should have honestly been a response of anger and resentment was a response of love and forgiveness. Of thankfulness and mercy. An eventful trial made completely uneventful.
I don't feel capable of realizing those thoughts on my own. Only a God bigger than hardship could speak to a weak person like me and produce a testament of His grace.
I thank you God, for my foundation was not shaken.
I wish I could tell you that I am deserving of this. That I started to read intense amounts of scripture, got on my knees in prayer for hours a day and spoke kindly of anyone I encountered.
But I didn't do that.
I didn't climb my way out of the sticky mud of my hardship with my own two hands.
I simply admitted that I need Jesus.
He pulled me out of the mud without reason or cause. I am free from years of hardship and hurt. It wasn't my actions, but HOW HE CHANGED ME to understand my need for Him that saved me.
I am redeemed.
My sick, burdened heart, made completely clean.
It has taken lots of Jesus talks, self evaluation and conversations with my husband to be able to see even a glimpse of what the Lord has done in my life. He has been with me all this time, even when I am COMPLETELY unaware of His presence.
I believe I went through a lot of what I did in order to be a testament of His grace. I am a living, breathing example that God is real. His grace is sufficient. His burden is light.
No mud is too thick for Him to rescue you.
Thank you Jesus.
"For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control." 2 Timothy 1:7
If you cannot view the above video "Oceans" by Hillsong United, CLICK HERE.