“Before praying, I had been living so stuck… so numb… so screwed up and broken. I had a thousand minor problems, and everyone know it too. I wanted to be fixed & healed, and I read all the books and followed all the steps and quite honestly, I was more stuck and broken than before.” -Jennie
For years this was my story. I began following Jesus in high school after ending a longterm abusive relationship. I had hit my rock bottom. I was battered, bruised, heartbroken and didn’t seen much point to living any more. My whole life plan crumbled when I left that mean boy. I was in uncharted territory. During this season, a friend asked if I wanted to go to their old youth group with them. I heard it was like camp, and I really liked camp, so we went. That night I heard about a God that had a new plan for my life. A God who accepted the brokenness in me, and loved me anyway. That evening peaked my interest and I began following Jesus over the next few years. I didn’t really understand the concept of surrender f until years later when I was baptized and fully committed to Jesus. Even now, after reading Jennie’s book, I think I still have much to learn.
You see, so far in my walk with God I have heard from Him and then taken His words tightly into my hands, hung on for dear life, and ran in the opposite direction. And so far, this hasn’t worked out for me very well. I’ve now seen that every time I have done this, things have not gone the way I thought I heard God say they would. I was blindly obedient, but not surrendered.
This way of following Jesus caused me just as much stress as before I knew him. What was the plan? How’s it going to work? What about x, y, & z? I took my life into my own hands over and over again. After years of this stress, God finally got my attention- I burned out.
One morning I woke up and just wept…. I couldn’t find the energy to speak… my husband called into work for me and I spent the next three days starring at a wall between the tears. I was completely empty. I talked with my doctor and she said I was experiencing extreme adrenal exhaustion.
I dropped my university courses. I quit my job. I spent time with my husband in the woods. I rested. I cried out. I took supplements, changed some habits and moved away from some relational stressors.
These were good choices for the season I was in, but I was still trying to read all the books, do all the right steps, follow the right plans… and work myself into health & wholeness. Never in my life so far have I experienced such dark times. I was under attack and completely wrapped up in shame for my sickness. I wasn’t able to find a reason to live, to get out of bed, to feed the cat… I would cry for no reason and have anxiety attacks, sometimes three in one day. My husband was so patient with me and extended so much grace, but months of this flew by, and now even a year later, I’m still not better.
So what’s my anything? My anything is my whole life. Emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually – I surrender. I surrender all. I have been trying to live life based on what I can see. I’m learning again that God loves me and has great plans for me. I’m learning again that my life is just a note in the symphony of eternity. I’m learning that I have been created for so much more.
Last week I shared this renewed life in me with my husband and we discussed what we think God might be calling us to next. We left out previous home with a deep sense of completion, but not a sense of direction. We found a refuge for the transition, but where do we go from here?
We both feel drawn to beginning a Masters program, but we both never thought that would be a part of our plan. My husband is not academically minded, so the thought of more schooling seems stressful, but strangely enough, he has peace and even joy about the thought! Thankfully, with his Bible college, he is able to have a full scholarship to complete a Masters in Theology.
I am also drawn to a Masters program, but this school is not just down the street like my husbands’. I am looking at a program in Higher Education, in the US. There’s a few obstacles, I do not have the academic requirements to apply, and I am Canadian! I’ve taken a leap so far and contacted the school. We have met and now are considering applying anyway… and praying the finances show up. For both of us, it will take God’s orchestrating, but this calling feels different.
I think what makes this new story from any other is that for the first time I can truly say “And if not, it will be okay.”
So here I am sitting at my kitchen table, fully surrendered to my Lord. I raise my coffee mug to all of you who are along this journey of ANYTHING. A journey of small steps and big leaps of faith. A journey of walking through your season, and a journey of hope and healing.
Cheers to you.