The greatest lesson I learnt in 2011 is about grace;how it never runs out, how it is renewed with every sunrise, and most of all, how it never fails. Grace comes out of true love, the kind of love that sees the best and worst in a person and is still willing to love and forgive and give a second chance. I have been blessed to experience both.
June to August 2011 was one of the lowest moments of my life so far. This was a season that I haven’t wanted to talk about, much less write about. But as I prayed about what story to give, that is what God told me to write. It has been a huge struggle; first whether or not to write it, then to find the words to get my story across. So I decided to go about it with the same policy God has given me for my life; tell it as it is.
I’ve always been the confident girl; outgoing, chatty, always with a smile on my face. But inside, I’ve been struggling with deep-seated questions about who I really am and who God wants me to be. I’d always thought I was a good person; I got saved when I was 12, don’t smoke, drink, or fool around with guys, basically don’t do the stuff that “people in the world” do (no offence meant to anyone). So I thought I was righteous, and that became a source of pride for me. I totally forgot what Paul said in Romans 3:10,”There is no-one righteous, not even one.” That all changed when God put me in situations where my true character was revealed. He let me see myself through His eyes, and revealed issues I’d been struggling with; pride, selfishness, un-forgiveness, bitterness and low self esteem. It caused a major identity crisis. But rather than acknowledge these issues and ask Him to sort them out, I buried my head in the sand and downplayed them; tried to made them look smaller than they really were. Thank God for true friends; my best friend knew what was going on, and he was constantly on my case to sort these issues out. In return for his honesty, I became cold towards him. I didn’t want to talk about what was going on, and every time the topic came up, I shut him off. Naturally he became more and more frustrated as time went on, and this really threatened our friendship. If it wasn’t for God’s grace, our friendship wouldn’t have survived the onslaught.
Though I refused to face the issues I had with my identity in public, I couldn’t avoid them in the privacy of my room. These issues were slowly killing me inside; I’d gone from being sure of myself and what I wanted to second guessing myself at every turn. I was unsure of myself and insecure in every area of my life. Many were the nights I spent in tears, crying out to God for some relief from what I was feeling. I didn’t know or understand why I was feeling what I was feeling; I was angry, frustrated, in pain for reasons I didn’t know and confused. The confusion about who I was was a really big blow, because I’m the kind of person that likes order, and knowing exactly how things are going. This whole situation was really eating at me, and I wanted answers. But rather than just being honest with God, I would hide under the pretext that everything was fine, then go home and fall apart in my room. Eventually, I began to think that things would never change, that I’d never recover from the slump my life had hit; that I’d never be whole again. I bought into the lies that the enemy was feeding me, and thus began the lowest point of the year, and of my life. The pain was too much to handle, or so I thought. I hit rock bottom; I didn’t care what happened. I withdrew from my friends and my family, I didn’t talk to anyone about what was going on inside. Sure, I’d smile and act like everything was OK; but even that proved too much of an effort eventually. I lost interest in life as a whole; I was basically existing… no, breathing; not living. I didn’t give much attention to my studies, just did the bare minimum (God was truly faithful, I didn’t get a supplementary). I let myself go; I stopped caring about how I looked, as long as I had clothes on and I was presentable I wore whatever I found in the morning. My outfits fit my mood, depressing. I ate to find comfort, and in the process put on quite a bit of weight. Family members began noticing and asking questions; I’d downplay the issue, but it depressed me all the more. I stopped looking after myself; stopped eating healthy, exercising, didn’t care how my hair looked, let my room get all messy…. my life was basically a mess. It was like this for three months; I was down in the dumps with no hope of getting out. I wasn’t sleeping well; I’d sleep but wouldn’t feel rested. Most nights I’d stay up late because I didn’t want to sleep, I didn’t want to face the ugly thought lying in wait for the slightest opportunity to torment me. I cried myself to sleep more times than I care to count. It was the worst time of my life.
My best friend was there with me the whole time. Though he was frustrated at the lack of communication, he saw that I was suffering and he stuck it out with me. He put up with the silent treatment, the self-justification and the immaturity of my actions. He lost patience with me many times, but each time God replenished his patience and strength. Not that he was perfect, he had his moments. But he loved me enough to bear with me through this journey. He kept telling me that this wasn’t who I really was; it may be who I’d become but that wasn’t the end of my story. He encouraged me not to give up when I was at my wit’s end. He prayed with me and for me, and continually reminded me that this season would pass. I had trouble believing it, but it proved true.
My turning point eventually came. Sometime in September, God stirred up desperation for change in me. It started slow, but it got so strong that one night I cried out, “Father I’d rather die than remain this way! If this is how my life will be, let me come home right now!” Thankfully, God doesn’t respond to our impulsive requests. I eventually calmed down and from that point on, God began showing me what the problem had been all this time; rejection. It seemed so simple, but the lesson wasn’t over yet. It took me another month to ask for help from my mentor, who prescribed a book; “Excuse Me, Your Rejection Is Showing” by Dr. Noel and Phyl Gibson. I started to read it, but the issues brought out were so painful that I stopped reading it for a while (I restarted it last week). It took me till December to finally talk to my best friend about how I was feeling. God has helped us see the way forward in our friendship and is healing us of the wounds caused in this turbulent season.
The battle is far from over; I have a lot of issues to deal with, and my sense of self security is still shaky. But God hasn’t given up on me, He’s still working on me and He’s still pruning me. This story is proof of that. I still have a long way to go, but God is slowly reshaping my view of me and of life. He’s showing me the woman He wants me to be and is helping me get there one day at a time. There are moments I doubt and I fear; but He’s restoring my confidence in Him and in myself. And when I mess up, He helps me get up, dust myself off and try again. Above all, He’s teaching me that every day offers me a new beginning, a fresh chance at life. He’s made me realize that with each new day I have a choice; I can live in the shadow of yesterday’s mistakes or in the promise of today’s opportunities. I used to let my past determine my present; now I’m learning to let each day come as the Lord ordains it. But the greatest gifts He’s given me in this season are His amazing grace, and the love of a true friend. I have a long way to go, but He’s helping me get there. One day at a time.
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