(FreeImages.com/Sergio Roberto Bichara)
Yesterday while standing in my kitchen, I had that moment of unexpected revelation. It was regarding a season that started almost 14 years ago now.
The season I was recalling lasted for at least seven years, though it varied in intensity at times. It was a season of life that I would always call, “…a time of great pain and even darkness.”
There were times during that season that I felt I was suffocating — completely overwhelmed — though keeping a smile on my face at most times.
I remember the times though of feeling like I was screaming on the inside.
I remember asking God the question, “Where are you?” I felt abandoned and left to myself to fend for myself — to hold it all together. Yet, I knew that I was merely a thread away from losing it all together.
I remember the guilt too. Afterall, I was a Christian, and “Christians are supposed to have it all together, right?”
Without spending too much time rehashing the old pain, I have always referred to that time as a time of darkness and pain. Even the house in which I lived was dark and depressing in the winter and hot and suffocating in the summer.
Then entered the season that started seven years ago when God began to do a deep healing in my life (and continues to do so).
It took awhile to get there, but I remember when I finally had the courage to ask God where He was when I felt all alone.
I didn’t ask Him the question for awhile because I was too angry and even more so, too afraid of His answer.
I remember how when I finally asked, His answer came and began to heal so many splintered pieces of my heart. Immediately after asking Him the question, the verse came flooding into my heart, “As a mother comforts her child so I will comfort you.” He then showed me a picture of me sitting on a rocking chair holding my babies, but instead of it just being me and my babies, I saw that He was rocking us all.
Years passed, and I thought that I was completely healed from that painful season until yesterday…
Yesterday while standing in my kitchen, God suddenly spoke to my heart with such simplicity but profound clarity. He told me that I was still afraid of that dark and painful season.
I was afraid of being overwhelmed like the past — of sometime, somehow feeling that same terror: of feeling all alone and completely incapable. I was afraid of abandonment and failure. Fear. It was the biting jaws of fear still nipping at my heels that I feared.
The fear of the past indicated that there was still a string attached to my past and therefore, I could not completely walk free.
As soon as I recognized my fear, I cried out to God. His response was spoken with such gentle authority. He reminded me that I am not the same person.
Part of the pain of that season was because I did not know who I was. I did not truly know Who He is. Part of the pain was because of my wrong identities and the pressure I put on myself because of what I did not understand.
God then spoke healing words over me, letting me know that I will not go through that season again because I am not the same person.
This morning, God then opened my eyes to even more truth, which ushered in more healing.
I had been comforted by the picture and words that Jesus was with me, but I remember struggling with why there were not tangible proofs of His presence with me during that season.
This morning, the memories came rushing in, and suddenly I was confronted with the tangible reminders of how God had helped me. Because of those tangible ways, I never did lose it all together.
Suddenly this morning, my heart was flooded with gratefulness and even repentance for how I had been blinded to God’s provision.
I began to remember Miss Shirley who would find nice things in others trash and would wash and clean it up for my family: the brand-new coat and scarf that all my boys would wear, the brand-new shoes, the clothes for Jonathan and I, the household items and food…
I remembered Jean B. who bought two beautiful outfits for my third little boy. I remember the beautiful outfit she bought my oldest so that he matched even her own grandson. I remembered her love and acceptance and how she even watched our kids on occasion for doctor appointments.
I remembered Sean’s grandmother who bought Christmas gifts for our little boys.
I remembered Jessica who bought beautiful outfits for my second-born and who bought Christmas gifts for our boys at least one year.
I remembered Michelle who passed on clothes and shoes to me and who didn’t need to but exchanged babysitting with us so my husband and I could go on free dates. I remember her friendship during a lonely time.
I remembered Danielle who came straight to my house after long days of teaching to watch my kids for half an hour so I could fix our house and pack to move. She did this for several weeks even though she had three littles of her own. That half hour was my sanity hour, and I felt that someone cared.
I remembered Tracy who thought I was an amazing mother and how her belief in me somehow comforted me even though I felt unworthy of it.
I remembered my mom who helped as much as she could though we lived a distance from each other for a portion of that dark season.
My heart began to overflow as I suddenly saw how God had been there all along. The pain in my heart had allowed lies to enter, and as a result, I was blinded to the truth all along.
The truth is that I was a good mommy, though hurting and broken. The truth is that God had brought people all along to help — people who offered just the hand we needed at the moment we needed it to keep me from completely breaking.
The truth is my belief in God was not anchored in a fairy tale. The truth is my belief in God was right all along. He hadn’t let me down.
It was my fears and the lies that had let me down.
God then began to show me that even my precious children were a constant reminder of the truth. My oldest son’s name means protector. Every time, I looked into his face, I was to be reminded that God is my protector.
My child that came at a season when I felt weak and insufficient has a name that means “strength.” He was a reminder that God will send strength to me in my time of need.
My child that came in a season of great pain and darkness to me has a name that means “light-bringer and healer.” God was reminding me that He had sent light and healing into my darkness and pain.
My child that came towards the tail end of that dark season has a name that means peace, fellowship, and grace. God was telling me that the peace I craved, the fellowship that I was missing, and the grace that I didn’t understand because it was a mere theory to me was something that He was getting ready to explode within in my life.
A new season of healing was ushered into my life about the same time as the conception and then birth of my final child. His name means “Strong man of God.” He is named after the one who proclaimed that God had come as “Immanuel” — that God had come to dwell among us. It was that season where I finally understood the love of God and encountered His love personally in such a way that I am completely changed, even today.
God indeed is my God, and He indeed dwells with me in love and fellowship… in peace and grace… in strength… in light… with healing… and I am who I am because He is Who He is.