Have you ever been through something you were sure you wouldn’t survive? Something so dramatically tragic or traumatic that even if you were to survive, you had wished you didn’t? I have, and I know I am not the only one.
The night of my last drink was one of these moments. I have had a few, but this experience was, by far, the most traumatic and dramatic of them all. I remember thinking that I was going to die, and that was alright by me. I had no desire to continue going on as I had, and I knew it wasn’t even a possibility, so why try? Surely I had reached the end of my story and while I was not sure what was going to be next for me, at least I would be free from the wreckless and pointless existence I had been living.
I recall an eerie peace that had overcome me. I was not in a panic, though I was operating in the extremes of fight-or-flight mode, and everything around me was so chaotic yet I don’t recall truly hearing anything or being phased emotionally by all that was happening in my surroundings. As someone who is prone to anxiety and panic attacks, looking back I find this response extremely odd and concerning. I was so lost in the depths of my addiction and felt so apart from the world with an inability to relate or exist as I saw others existing, it was almost like I had lost the ability to even feel anymore. I may not have been physically dead, but I had been spiritually dead for some time. I was sure this would be the end.
Spoiler alert: that wasn’t the end.
Some call it sheer luck. Others call it cheating death and tempting fate. I know that the Lord was not done with me yet and had things for me to accomplish here on Earth before He would call me home. I knew this pretty quickly when returning to consciousness, and yet I was still so confused, so angry, and so devastated. Why couldn’t He just take me? What could I possibly do for Him or anyone else in the state I was in? What the heck did He even want me to do? How the heck was I going to do it?
It was in the midst of all my anger and confusion that He sent angels to me to give me a message that I would be alright. “He’s got you baby girl. You gon’ be alright. You gon’ be just fine.” I didn’t understand it at the time but it was enough to give me enough strength and tenacity to get through the next piece of my journey. When I needed more encouragement, He sent me more messages through people, the stars, my comforting pets… God sent me messages in ways that I could understand and feel, based on where I was at physically, emotionally and spiritually. He didn’t throw scripture and verses at me when I wouldn’t be able to understand. He didn’t lead me into places that I would become so overwhelmed I would surely lose hope. He steadily guided me in a gentle way that I needed so desperately, allowing me to come to understand Him more and grow into a deeper relationship with His Son.
He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.” (Mark 5:34)
At this time in my life, all I wanted was to be okay. I just wanted to know that I would be loved and taken care of, no matter what condition I was coming in. Jesus assured me that I could come as I am, no matter what, and I did not need to earn His love and grace. I still have trouble wrapping my head around this, so I don’t try to dissect it anymore. I know it is true because I have seen and felt it, so I have come to learn acceptance. Understanding is not a necessary element to gain acceptance. I simply had to let go and let God. He was not going to let me give up and die, so I might as well start trying something else.
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.
I am so grateful I listened and took each day one step at a time.
He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.
If you are suffering today, know that your story is not over, and it is not all for naught. He will use everything for the good of His kingdom, and our pain can be healed. There is and will always be redemption in Christ Jesus and it is freely given.
In His grace and mercy, may you find the freedom I have found and purpose to the life you have been given. It is a gift, and I pray one day you will look back and see your suffering as a gift that helped you get to where you are going.