I was a MESS (and had to preach a sermon)

brokenSo, it’s been a hard week.

Actually, hard doesn’t quite describe it.

I’ve been through some stuff. Years ago, I was a medicated wreck. I was broken. I was (in many ways) ALL FREAKING DONE. But God invaded my life 10 years ago. And he healed me.

In a severely powerful way.

I’ve not been the same since.

Like seriously.

I’M NEW.

Over the past 5 years or so I’ve really seen that healing solidify. And have been amazed at how different I am.

But then this week happened…

I was confronted by a chapter of my life that I hadn’t looked at in a while. In a LONG WHILE. And , friends (we are friends aren’t we??) it gripped me.

In a billion different ways, my heart was paralyzed.

Unable to think. Everything was fuzzy. My brain raced a million different directions.

My heart ached.

Deeply.

Intensely.

Ached.

The thing is, I know this ache. Really well. We are old familiar friends.

And because I recognized it, it terrified me.

Because I remember what it has the capability of doing to me. I’ve lived that story. And I don’t want to go back. EVER.

I was faced with two options:

Run and hide.

Or press into it.

To be honest with you, I’ve fluctuated between the two. But, I keep choosing to press back in.

And here’s why:

Although I know the pain very well in this place, I know HIM in this place.

I know what He can do with my pain.

I know that story.

I love that story.

I would give my life for that story.

So, as much as it killed me, I chose to press into every stinking layer of this thing and learn to breath in it with Him.

It’s been agonizing.

It’s been terrifying.

But, I trust Him.

Because, I know what is waiting for me on the other side. As much as this pains me, I know if I let him clean this area of my heart out, He will heal it. And on the other side is gold.

I have gold in so many other places of my heart. Priceless, valuable, cherishable gold. Gold that was once not. But now is.

I want gold here.

And I’m not stopping until He’s done.

I trust Him.

I choose Him.

Of course as luck (or God’s perfect design) would have it, I was scheduled to preach Sunday.

GAHHHH.

For those of you who know me, you know I always teach from a very transparent place. But, this was taking that vulnerability to an ENTIRELY NEW LEVEL.

All last week when I should have been preparing, I was on the floor in my office listening to worship music begging God to heal me.

Not even thinking about my sermon.

I walked the sanctuary when no one was there DECLARING HIS GOODNESS OVER ME. Because I couldn’t do anything else.

I had to stay in that place.

Or else I would sink.

And sometimes I did sink.

But, he was quick to grab my shaky hand and pull me onward. I knew the breakthrough would come. I knew it would. It just wasn’t there yet.

And, then came Sunday…

Mind you, I hadn’t slept much. I hadn’t eaten much. I was IN THE MIDDLE OF FREAKING HEART SURGERY WITH GOD.

And from my mud pit, I bled out of me what he was teaching me.

Here’s an excerpt of my message:

Again, I wasn’t walking in a healed place just yet. But, he was faithfully, steadily at work.

A friend of mine was processing with me and said, “you haven’t cried about this yet, have you?” Now, my husband and everyone who knows me will quickly tell you, Anna doesn’t cry much.

It’s true.

10 years ago I felt like all of my tears came out. There just haven’t been much since. But, as she said those words I felt the swell grow in the back of my throat.

I just couldn’t cry yet.

But, I knew I needed to.

Yesterday, I was driving in the car (kids were screaming, baby was throwing stuff, I had a million things I was trying to do – you get the picture) The ache resurfaced.

I felt the pain and was like, Sweet Jesus you have to do something. I can’t stay in this place!

I dropped the kids off at summer camp and immediately a song came on the radio I had never heard.

It was “Be my rescue“, by Nicole Nordeman and the first lines were:

Sunlit shoreline

Where I was baptized

This time dark skies

Leave me capsized

That did it.

The words couldn’t have been chosen more perfectly.

This is the same place I was “baptized” (figuratively speaking) 10 years ago.

And when I look back on that time, it’s now a sunlit shoreline. The pain isn’t there anymore. I’m healed. I’m free.

But, this time…it’s a new wound. A very old, deeply infected wound. And although I know these waters of pain with the Lord…the skies are dark.

And in every possible way, I felt capsized.

The next part said,

This is the river where I went under

This is the river where I come up new

As I was driving, ENDLESS TEARS were flowing out of me.

The ache was so deep. As I wiped my sunglasses from the sopping wet, I felt the relief starting to come.

I felt HIM taking the ache…

I was going under. Fully surrendering Him to take this and make something beautiful from it.

No matter my history. No matter how many times I’ve failed. No matter how much I’ve walked in fear. I surrendered.

The chorus went,

Oh, oh God, be my rescue

Oh, oh God, be my rescue

And save me from myself

Save me from myself

Oh, oh God be my rescue tonight

It became my heart’s cry.

I sat there weeping, literally clutching my chest with my hand. As if to remind my soul that it would be okay. That it would be healed. That it can trust Him here.

The Bible talks a lot about speaking to your soul. David did it often. I understand now why….I had to force my spirit to be louder than my soul.

Because my soul knows how to run and hide. It knows how to be alone. It knows how to wall off and shut everything out.

It’s darn good at it.

But, my spirit knows better. It understands there’s a better way. It knows the freedom that comes from letting him in and allowing him to press, to mold, to make new.

When the song ended, I literally found it on my phone on youtube (sorry data usage) and played it on repeat 4 times. I wept the entire way home.

When I got home, I parked and sat for a while.

I recognized this place too…

Instead of the ache, there was relief.

I knew this place.

It meant I had done it.

I had exchanged the pain for the beginning of his beauty.

The healing process isn’t complete yet, but we are making major strides. The last two nights I’ve slept great and the anxiety has been at bay.

Halleluja.

THIS IS THE GOSPEL I KNOW.

IT’S THE ONE I WANT TO FOLLOW.

THE ONE I WOULD LAY MY LIFE DOWN FOR.

IT’S THAT GOOD.

In the words of Nicole Nordeman,

Watching the old me

Slowly sinking

Hope is rising up

I can feel the rush

I’m alive and I’m breathing

Hugs,

Anna

12 thoughts on “I was a MESS (and had to preach a sermon)

  1. WOW! Thank you for sharing such raw emotions. I admit I have tears in my eyes. I feel like I’m that story above. Except my details are mine and your are yours. LOL God touches me so much through song. I take the lyrics and draw picture doodles with them. Very detailed. If he can hold the world he can hold this moment. God bless!

    Like

  2. I’m so moved by your testimony. I’m really very encouraged because right now I’m in a broken place myself and I’m learning to leave it all in God’s hands and trust Him for a positive outcome.

    My battle will provoke judgement and condemnation from people; but I’m comforted by the fact that God does not judge us when we fall again, especially when in the midst of it we are seeking His help. He wants to lift us up. That is the gospel I know; that is my testimony. That is who God is to me.

    Like

  3. Thank you Anna for your most recent blog that came to my email. The one about returning to that place of pain, with the dark skies. It was exactly what I needed to hear. I’ve never known what to do when that happens to me. I experienced a similar healing to yours a little over two years ago. Now I find myself sinking back into “that place” where I was a medicated mess. I panic. I don’t know what to do with it and worry that I worry that I’ve done something wrong to disconnect myself from His Grace again. Thank you for all the things you share with us. It truly give me hope every time I read one of your articles. God Bless you!

    Like

  4. I loved this! What a wonderful testimony. It can be so, so hard to run towards Him when we are in pain, but that is the best thing ever. The fastest way out of it is often right through it.

    Like

  5. Thank you so much for sharing. For years, I buried my feelings until I my heart was so hard I could no longer feel or cry. I’ve been in Celebrate Recovery for over a year now, and I’m crying again – but still just sometimes. I totally get your post, and when I’m alone, I’m going to have to look for Nicole’s song.

    Like

  6. thank you so much Anna. I was fighting a losing battle with God tonight, asking him to fix circumstances in my life that i don’t have control over, rather than trusting him to use them to change me. Letting God use circumstances to change us is better than asking him to change the circumstances. Its so hard to trust him when pain continues to pile on us and we cant breathe, but you reminded me of the love and truth that the Holy Spirit offers us, freely.

    Like

  7. Anna, I too know that dark place. I am familiar with having to lay it down again. The Lord has a way of shining His light in the corners, where we think we have gotten rid of all the muck. But sometimes there is still a tiny bit left. Be blessed! janie

    Like

  8. Anna,

    Thank you for sharing. Your story has hit home with me and the severe anxiety I have been struggling with. I continue to pray for strength and healing all the while, being the best wife and Mom I can be. Although I would never wish these feelings on anyone; it does help to know that I’m not alone! Thank you for being so intimate with your FRIENDS!

    Make it a great day, Jaime

    Sent from my iPad

    >

    Like

  9. Anna, your post reminded me of what I read back in April about Kintsugi pottery. It was on the City on a Hill blog (http://cityonahillstudio.com/blog/kintsugi-pottery-beautifully-broken). Kintsugi is a ceramic restoration process developed in Japan in the 1500’s – and so very reflective of what Jesus does with us. The cracks are more beautiful because of what He does in us. The pieces are back together – with gold. With Gold. I love that. The cracks aren’t hidden – they are highlighted – and add to our value. Only in Jesus. Bless you sister.

    Like

  10. Your transparency, here on WordPress, is amazing. Without displaying “dirty laundry”, you manage to be honest and very real.

    You had to come to a place to mourn. Mourning is actually a necessary process. Without it, we hold on to too much. God won’t against what we hold on to. But, He will begin to show us those things, which may include; pain, bitterness, envy, and unforgiveness (of others, ourselves or even God. Oh, yes, we sometimes need to forgive God). Once we let go – a task I am slow about – He can move. He will speak to us, encourage us and unconditionally love us, showing us that we need to let go. Once we do, well, wow. He swoops in and begins something new.

    Like

  11. Anna,
    Your posts – and the comments from your readers- have brought me so much hope– hope that one day I might experience the freedom and love that you have. It still eludes me and I wonder if I ever will but at least I still have hope. Thank you. Thank you for being real!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s