The Darkest Days
It was 1997. I remember driving around in the car as I often did, with no destination. I just felt the need to go somewhere. But I didn’t know where I was going. I would often cry during these drives. Even sob. I clearly remember driving up and down the hilly roads near my college, shouting, “What does it all mean?” I was speaking to someone or something. I believed in a higher being, or God as I had known growing up- yet I wasn’t really even sure who or what that was. But it was someone to ask. Or at that point, cry out to.
And here I was shouting out to this unknown god, asking what it all meant. Because right then, life seemed meaningless and hopeless, and not worth living.
Having come down from very tumultuous few years, and hitting what I felt was the bottom of a pit, I didn’t see where I was going. I didn’t see a future. I had dreamt of being a mom one day, having a loving husband, and that life most girls dream of. But that was so far off from the path I was on. It seemed like a future that would never be mine.
I had spiraled from teen years that included an eating disorder with hospitalizations, as well as some major family crises –to my college years, that began with an extremely abusive relationship that included unspeakable things, to making lots of poor choices, ending up in lots of wrong places, and now here I was, feeling helplessly and hopelessly alone. Driving in that car. Nowhere to go but wanting to go somewhere. It was the darkest night of my soul. I had no hope.
Hope Stepped In
One morning one of those car drives took me to the local church. I hadn’t been in a few years, but I felt drawn. I needed something to get me out of this dark pit.
That was just the beginning. Just the beginning of the most important journey of my life. My redemptive walk with Jesus. Understanding what it really means to have a relationship with Jesus and what it really means to have your sins washed away. Most importantly, the understanding that this life is not all there is, and an eternity is in my future.
It changed everything. There is nothing I can claim about it that was my own doing, but it was His doing. We woke me from the sleep I was, and gave me a new heart. And because of that new heart, my desires changed and my life became purposeful. I now want to live for Him alone. Not myself. His plans and His purposes for my life, became my plans and my purposes.
I am writing because I know what it is like in the pit and to now be on the other side. I’m not out there promoting some fluffy form of Jesus that’s shallow on the surface based on trends or feelings, or the latest hashtag or catch-phrase. This isn’t about a neat and buttoned up portrayal of grace, but true redemption that includes stuff I am not even ready to type yet. And at the core is a God who lifted me out of the muck and mire and set my feet on a rock.
I waited patiently for the Lord;
he turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.
He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear the Lord
and put their trust in him.
Blessed is the one
who trusts in the Lord,
who does not look to the proud,
to those who turn aside to false gods.
Many, Lord my God,
are the wonders you have done,
the things you planned for us.
None can compare with you;
were I to speak and tell of your deeds,
they would be too many to declare.
I know firsthand what He rescued me from. I know firsthand the goodness of our God. I know firsthand suffering…and redemption.
Most days I can’t get over the fact that this life is real and I am not just watching a movie of someone’s else’s life play out in front of me. Other days, I feel like the past I lived must have been a movie, because that doesn’t seem real anymore either. My life is so vastly different now.
Because driving around endlessly and aimlessly in those dark times, I would never have guessed my future would end up like this.
But there is no aimless driving now because He is the one at the wheel. And I am content as the passenger. Fully trusting. Those sobs of helplessness have turned to tears of joy.
Knowing Him has changed everything. Jesus is Enough.
Read about our 2018 Retreat here: Jesus is Enough