The point of this blog is to bring hope and encouragement to you who feel like the darkness is too thick around you, to you who feel overwhelmed to the point of breaking, to you who are sitting at the bottom of the pit crying out for help, to you who feel hopeless and lost, to you who feel trapped in an unhealthy relationship, to you who feel like you’re completely alone, to you who feel like the prodigal-far from the Fathers house but want to come back. This blog is to bring you HOPE.
The last two years of my life have been kind of a whirlwind of heartbreak, sadness, depression, anger, unforgiveness, bitterness, loss, and a massive identity crisis. Through all this time I wandered away from the heart of God, content doing my own thing, not worrying about consequences or the fall out of my choices. I became very centered on my “feelings” and my “emotions” and allowed those very dangerous parts of me to guide me. Through all of this though I was very aware of the Holy Spirit. I couldn’t go a day without feeling Gods conviction in my heart for sleeping with my boyfriend, for harboring grudges against some of my closest friends, for making consistent bad choices that I KNEW were wrong, skipping Church and practically walking away from the call of God on my life to lead Worship and minister to people. I was very aware of the presence of God still pursuing me in my darkest time. I was very aware of that still,small voice that called to me when I lay in bed at night bawling my eyes out because I knew what I was doing was wrong yet wasn’t ready to give up this lifestyle. I was very aware of the Father heart of God that wanted to love me, to take me in His arms and redirect my path. I, however, was being stubborn. *Suprise*.
At the end of last summer I broke up with the guy I was dating because I was tired of living in sin and wanted to get my heart and life back on track with God amongst other issues. I was tired of running, tired of being the prodigal, tired of fighting with God and myself, tired of justifying sin and emotionally spent and bordering into depression. After our break up I hit full out depression, barely able to get out of bed, crying in all my spare time, watching an insane amount of Netflix, dealing with insomnia, anger at myself, anger at my ex, anger at God…I literally would just lay in bed and say, “Jesus, please just fix me” on repeat. I had hit rock bottom. Through the last year God has brought me on and walked with me through quite a rough year. I experienced a loss that hurtled me to my breaking point this winter, and have spent the last year or so “dealing”. It has sucked. Every day. But, God. Just…But, God. God speaks to me with songs and always puts a song in front of me that fits exactly what it going on in my life. For this season of my life it has been “Be Still” by Steffany Gretzinger, and “You Make Me Brave” by Amanda Cook. God brought me on such an amazing journey this year and I have been so grateful for my parents, Barb Gile, Brittany, Amanda, Sierra and Lauren for sticking with me through the tears, sadness, loss and dealing with me while I deal with me. I love you all so much.
We all know the story of the prodigal son in Luke 15. The son decides he wants to go out on his own and do his own thing out from under the safety and security of his fathers house. He asks for all his inheritance and leaves and proceeds to blow it all on “stuff”. After a while he ends up working for a farmer and ends up slopping pigs and eating what they eat. He then remembers how good he had it when he lived at his fathers house and decides to go back even if it means he has to be a servant in his fathers house- vs 17-20: “When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ So he got up and went to his father.” The son was willing to humble himself and seek forgiveness and go crawling back to his fathers house broke, hungry, desperate, starving, hopeless, and probably scared his father would cast him away. But, he went anyways. The part I love about this story is that in the other half of verse 20 it says that the father was out looking for his son every single day in hopes that he would return. I am almost in tears just thinking about this. God (the Father) loves us so much we cannot even begin to understand the depths of this adoration and love-even when we suck. While I was out doing my own thing and being ridiculous God was waiting, seeking, and pursuing me to come back to Him. The same is for you. Even now, while you feel hopeless and probably feel a lot like the prodigal son, the Father, God, is desperately wanting you to come back to Him-it is not too late, you are not too far gone. He wants to bring you into His love. In the story the father is just so happy his son has returned that he kills the best of his cows for dinner, throws a huge party and gives him the best clothes he could find. God wants to do the same for you. You are His son or daughter, the child He adores and loves. He has a plan and a future for you no matter where you are, no matter how hopeless you feel or your situation seems. God is waiting for you, He has not given up.
Hope found me. At my darkest point, at my lowest point- Hope found me.
Don’t ever give up. Keep fighting. There is ALWAYS something good that will come out of your “suck”. You are not too far gone.
Hope. Such a small word but carries a truth so great. While I was in the pit last year, barely able to function, God continued to speak this little word to my heart: HOPE. God gave me hope that this seemingly dark time of my life would be used for His glory. He gave me HOPE that I was still worth it. He gave me HOPE that the darkness would only last for a while but His JOY and LIFE were at my disposal.
I spent months last year telling myself I was Ok, that I was fine. I spent months walking around with a smile on my face in public and crying in private. I felt hopeless to the point of not even wanting to care anymore. Even through all of this I continued to feel the love of God pursuing me, drawing me back to Him. I had a solid group of people speaking truth, love and life to me consistently. While you are in this hopeless time don’t allow yourself to withdraw. Stay connected to the Body of Christ even when you would rather just lay in bed and cover your head. Stay Connected. It is so important. I was so blessed to have Brittany, Amanda, Sierra and Lauren constantly encouraging me and not letting me wallow when I wanted to.
Get a mentor. Find a mature man or woman of God who can mentor, love, support, speak harsh truth when needed, give you solid advice and encourage you. Barb Gile and Tanya Route have been 2 of my biggest supports during this last year and were able to speak harsh truth when needed but speak it in love. Sometimes it hurt and I would go home and be in tears but I knew they were speaking truth. Do not hide from the truth. Let people you trust speak truth to you and LISTEN to them.Don’t go defensive and passive or shut down because it’s hard to hear, truly listen and let them speak truth to you. There were many times I shut down but God has really been working on making me more teachable and correctable. It’s worth it in the end-take the correction and bring it to God.
God also showed me how much I rely on people for my security. When my break up happened my whole universe was thrown into a loop of chaos and self destruction because I had found my identity in my relationship for so long and had not established myself in Gods love and His identity for me through the lense of Christ’s death on the cross. You have value, no matter what anyone else has said to you. You are WORTH GODS TIME just as you are. You mean the world to Him. He loved YOU so much He sent His own Son to die a brutal death for you so that He could have you with HIM forever and ever and ever and ever….
Allow yourself time. Dealing with stuff is rarely an overnight thing. Allow yourself to feel and deal. Don’t put a time limit on your healing. It has been a year for me and I am finally starting to walk in freedom and allowing God to motivate my heart towards His and not away from His.
There is always hope. Believe that.
I know from my own personal experience how hard it is to believe that, how foreign the concept of “hope” seems. But, it doesn’t make it any less true. Hope can come out of nowhere. While dealing with depression and bitterness last fall there was one day where I was feeling extra hopeless and stuck. I had to get up at 7am and take my little brother and sister to school and get them breakfast and ready. Yeah, that was the last thing I wanted to do that morning. Fall is my absolute favorite time of year, the weather, the coziness, this season just does to me what Summer does to most people. So, I got up that morning and took them to school. On the way back home at 8:30 on October 2nd I had my first glimmer of hope. I was driving around and finally noticed the changing leaves and the beauty of the season that I loved so much. It was the first time in a month I had really been out of my house (except for Church and a conference with my dad). I saw the changing leaves, the beauty of Gods handiwork and snapped these photos on my phone:
To anyone else that was probably no big deal but God used my love of Fall to give me a little lesson. To everything there is a season. There is a time to grieve and a time to feel loss but that season has to end eventually. God used such a simple thing to encourage my heart that I wouldn’t be stuck like this forever and that He would be changing my season soon and in it would be an abundance of Life. My first glimmer of hope: The suck will end. Just like the seasons in the physical world we need them to produce different things. Summer grows a lot of stuff and Fall is the harvest of all those things. Winter sucks the life out of everything but Spring brings new life. God showed me that this season of “death” in a sense would not last forever but would be followed by a season of growth and maturity.
I look back on these last two years and cannot even believe the shell of a person I was. I was a walking, talking, barely alive human. But, God has used the worst 2 years of my life tremendously. This summer at Teen Camp my friend Brittany and I were counselors for a group of 8 teen girls. God gave us an opportunity to share out stories with these girls, our stories of heartbreak and loss and how God desires us and how much God values us. We spent 3 hours in a puddle on the floor of our cabin tangled in a mess of tears, brokenness and allowing God to use us to speak love and life over these teen girls who were dealing with so much “stuff”. We spent hours praying and speaking Gods truth over these girls and our testimonies were used for Gods glory to give HOPE to these girls. It was an absolutely life changing night. God used my experiences in depression and hopelessness to minister and bring hope and value to these girls. It was incredible.
God wants to use your story, you never know who will find hope in what was your mess. God can and WILL use it if you allow Him to. Don’t be afraid. It is embarrassing for me to admit that I had sex before marriage, it is humiliating to admit how dark of a place I was in, how lost I was. But, I am willing to be transparent because I know someone who reads this will find hope in my story. Someone will read this and realize how much value they have. Someone reading this is going through a dark time and will be encouraged. THAT is worth the embarrassment I feel right now.
You are not stuck. I promise you that there IS hope. There is value in your story. What you are going through now can be used to change someones life later. Don’t give up, continue to fight. Allow God to love you. Allow other people to come into your mess and love you through it. You are not a lost cause, you are not a failure and it is never too late to let God fix you. He wants to and He is so capable.
Find Hope. Ask God for Him to give that hope to you. It could come so discreetly or be a huge thing but either way it will come.
A year later I am finally in a good place. I am happy, I am motivated, I have a great job, I am leading Worship again, I am pursuing the call of God on my life, I am seeing doors open for me to minister out of my area, and God has knit me closer to His heart than ever before. Hope. All because God gave me a glimmer of hope a year ago and that glimmer motivated me to not give up.
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
Zephaniah 3:17 The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.
Recently, God brought to me a song off the new Bethel album called “It is Well”. This song has ministered to my heart so much over the past couple months and I encourage you to listen to it and let it soak in. Even in the darkest most painful or tragic seasons we can still say, “It is well with me”.