Updated: May 19, 2018
I've been quiet, too quiet even for my own liking. I've wanted to write, to smile, to laugh, to breathe again. I've wanted to be here with you, really here, sharing in this journey with all of you...but I couldn't.
I couldn't because I didn't have the words to say, I couldn't speak life to another's heart when my own was so desperately broken. I took my eyes off of Christ, and I fell into the sea, like Peter did when he walked on the water. The second he took his gaze off of Jesus, he started to drown; and oh friends, was I drowning. Sinking deep, deep down into a place I never thought I would find myself in a million years; a place so very far away from the happy, faith-filled girl that I am. Without meaning to, I had ever-so-gently began to wander away from God. I began to doubt His goodness, His timing, His love. I found myself seeking fulfillment in everything around me, but not seeking Christ first. Ouch.
The guilt and the shame of doubting God made me run even further away from Him, but friends, that is a lie. The enemy has been prowling around me like a lion, in my weakest moments and he has taken full advantage of and done everything in his power to keep me there. But oh...if I could tell you this hope I have in my heart, a hope that God has placed deep inside of me. This hope, it flickered, it was so dim I could barely see, but God says NO! God has a plan for me. God isn't done with me. God promises hope and future for me, and it is a good one. In the wise words of Lisa TerKeurst "True desperation for God, leads to revelation from God" and that is exactly what He did.
I begged God and I pleaded with Him again, and again, and again. Take this depression away from me Lord, just get rid of it. Please God. Please. Why didn't He hear me? Why was He allowing this season, this struggle, this brokenness to last so long? Where was the healing future He promised me? Why would God allow these things to happen if He loved me?
God doesn't want to see me cry, or suffer, but He does want me to learn to trust in Him and only Him. Because it is in my weakness, my absolute, complete, broken weakness, that His power is made perfect. It is when I am weak and weary, that He says "Come to me, and I will give you rest for your souls". It is when I finally realize that God loves me SO much, that He refuses to let me settle for temporary sources of fulfillment or joy. God loves me so much that He desires much more than what I can accomplish in this world, He desires my soul. He wants a relationship with me, but in order for that to happen He needs me to trust in Him, and Him alone.
My shell-of-a-person opened my Bible, day in and day out, even when it felt empty or meaningless, I knew that somewhere in there, God would speak. Because He does. And He did:
"Come to me all you who are weak and weary, and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28)
"Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added to you" (Matthew 6:33)
"Delight yourself in the Lord, and He will give you the desires of your heart" (Psalm 37:4)
"Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But He said 'My grace is sufficient for you, My power is made perfect in your weakness'" (2 Corinthians 12: 8-9)
Seek first the kingdom of God...Had I been? Honestly, no. Ouch. I was seeking first the kingdom of Nicole. And y'all my "kingdom" is a hot mess. God doesn't just want us to need Him, He wants us to want Him. He loves us so much that He desires to know us personally and guilt and shame from my past, and from my mistakes, made me think for a moment, that God was done with me. That is also a lie. So I started bringing it all to Him, confessing my sins, my doubts, my fears. Telling Him my hurt, my anger, my frustrations. I started just saying "Here God, I give this to you" and then letting it go and have begun to thank Him instead. Thank Him and praise Him. Thank Him that He hears my prayers, that He goes before me, that He is sovereign in every single aspect of my life, and therefore I do not ever need to worry, or fear, or doubt- because He's got me.
I am still learning how to release things to Him fully, but knowing that all He wants is me, all of me, even the awful, broken, hot-mess pieces of me - overwhelms my heart. Perhaps that's why I run from Him sometimes, why I doubt His goodness and His love, because my human heart cannot fathom a love so reckless and unrelenting; and at the weakest moment I have known thus far, God revealed to me that that His love is enough.
Him. He is the answer I have been so desperately seeking everywhere else. I had stopped living in awe and wonder, stopped enjoying time in God's presence, stopped craving to know Him. I grew impatient, I grew bitter, I grew angry. But this was not the hope and the joy that God wants for me, no! And yet somewhere along the way, I ended up here. But the God, of endless grace and mercy, found me here, and reached out His hand to me once again, and called me child. " I am enough" He whispered.
He is the answer to true joy and satisfaction in my heart. It will not come from this world, because this world will always have brokenness and pain in it; but what He promises me is the peace of Christ, which surpasses all understanding. Hope for a future, not just in this life, but in eternity with Him in Heaven. He promises to be enough, to be all I need and all that I want, to take care of me, to be my strength when I am weak. He promises to restore what has been lost, and redeem what has been broken; to establish my steps, and to never leave my side no matter what I am facing. For nothing is impossible with God. (Luke 1:37)
And so I continue to move forward, even when it hurts, I press on to fight the good fight of faith, to stand against the schemes of the enemy in the full armor of God, that one day, by the grace of God, I may stand blameless before the throne.
Thank you will never be enough Lord, but let my life sing of gratefulness and praise to You!