My prayer life opened up a few years back when I was able to grasp the end of “The Lord’s Prayer” which most do not quote: “For if you cannot forgive, how can you be forgiven?” (my shortened version). I lived a lot of years in a very dark place, very bitter and angry, with no hope. I experienced the hypocrisy of so-called Christians and naturally ended up turning away. I had been hurt more by Christians than non-Christians. I was lied to, lied about, and victimized. In my self-protection, I became the villain. As a teenager I lived on the wild side. I was always the life of the party…but full of bitterness and very self-destructive.
After spiraling down so far my very existence was nearly wiped out, God arranged a meeting for me with Jesus during Senior Church Camp. My presence in that camp alone was nothing but a miracle. But, deep down in that vacuum hole, I wanted freedom from the torment in my soul. I couldn’t comprehend God’s love at the time, but I sensed there was a God somewhere out there that was unlike the picture man had modeled before me.
After having my first baby, I spent the next several years trying to “work” my way to forgiveness… and acceptance. Eventually, I hated myself for being religious too. Then, in the late 90′s, while keeping up appearances on the outside, my soul fell into a deep dark hole. There was no way I was going to live. Of course, there was not going to be a suicide (for I could not have my kids live with that picture), but death is what I felt I deserved. I was self-destructive…again. Life was not worth living. I felt like a failure to everyone…especially my father. Through a series of events, the Lord broke through my bondage, and allowed me to see myself the way He sees me…not the ugly way I saw me…or the critical way the world saw me. The morning I was at the end, I scribbled these words…
My feet brush soft grass, stillness fills damp air.
Bones lie six feet under, no hope for a prayer.
The passion for love is lost in life’s yesterday.
The gravedigger rests as dreams and hope decay.
Existence disappears, waters rage in life’s sin.
Innocent dreams are dead. Wrongs are silent within.
That very afternoon, I literally saw the Lord’s hands reach out to me with his nail scarred piercings (this was before the movie, Passion of the Christ!). I realized He really did want to forgive me, and accepted me just as he did the woman at the well. But I had to forgive those who destroyed me. And, more important, I had to forgive me, and to accept His forgiveness for all my failings. The Lord was able to calm my heart and let me know we really are “fearfully and wonderfully made” . When no one else knew me, knew my dark secrets, the Lord saw me when I was yet unformed…and loved me. I don’t understand how, but when I released my hurt, bitterness, and anger, the Holy Spirit filled my empty soul with love and endless joy!
I wrote down my journey after God rescued me from that dark pit…
A tiny infant cries, for comfort from the womb.
Through pain and agony, innocence fills the room.
A child peacefully plays, her tender smile displayed.
Ignorance surrounds her, a carefree life portrayed.
She tastes the sin of those, who take for their own will.
Her chastity obscured; her innocence to kill.
Rejected and alone, the pain she tries to hide.
Embarrassment and shame, she buries deep inside.
Desperate to escape, destruction is her life.
Hope and love are lost to bitterness and strife.
Weeping for lost passion; tormented in her soul.
Severed from affection; still longing to be whole.
Two hands with nail-scarred stain wait gently for her call.
Longing to bring healing, if she would give her all.
Lost deep in dark despair, with sorrow for her sin.
She opens up her soul, and reaches out to him.
Quietly a small spark, burns deep inside her soul,
reminding her dead heart, Christ’s love makes one whole.
Forgiveness she has found, from one whose life He gave,
for those who least deserve, the grace He gives to save.
The life He gave for all, cleansed her pain and sin,
washing her white as snow, giving new life within.
A smile is in her heart. Christ’s love has healed her scars.
As joy delights her soul, new life shines bright as stars!!
Life after that day was not perfect nor without pain. I still ended up with a few shattered relationships, and live with the consequences of my past. But I know who I am in Christ. I finally have God’s perspective, purpose, and hope. Psalm 27:10 says though even my parents do not accept me, I have peace knowing that God accepts me, and makes me His own! He also said in Isaiah 54 that I was like a wife who married young, only to be rejected…and He brought me back with deep compassion! The Lord almighty is my redeemer and He is my husband. He really is a God of Restoration. In Isaiah 61, He bound up my broken heart, gave me freedom from captivity, released me from the darkness, gave me beauty for ashes, and restored my soul! There is NO pit too dark that His light cannot shine through!