I was 23 years old when my husband of seven months left me. I had just begun my life, and yet it was over at the same time. The earth and everything I held dear crumbled beneath my feet. I was shattered. I was broken. I was alone, and I was lonely. I looked at my past and thought, “How did I ever end up here?” I looked at my ghastly circumstances and pondered, “What am I doing?” and then hopelessly wondered, “Where am I going?”
The truth is—I had accepted Jesus Christ into my heart and life when I was 18 years old, but I wasn’t living for Him. (I certainly thought I was at the time, but that’s the funny thing about time, you see things so differently in retrospect.) I prayed and asked for things, but I didn’t really believe they would happen. I went to church and enjoyed it. I went on mission trips and at times was on fire with passion, but my flames always smoldered. I overslept instead of reading my Bible. I overslept on spiritual growth. I ignored the things God wanted and instead replaced them with things I wanted—after all, this is my life. I built my life around the man I loved, and who loved me…or so I thought. He was my foundation. He was my rock. He was the center of my happiness.
He was also the chain around my neck that ultimately sunk me and anchored me to the dark and murky depths of depression, to which I was tethered for a grueling 12 months.
I was a house built on sand. When the storms came, I was beaten, ripped to pieces, my foundation creaked and moaned. My boards splintered, my beams broke. Every piece of me was washed away and destroyed. And there I stood, in the middle of the storm, completely exposed.
Sometimes God only needs to remodel you: add a little paint, maybe even strip off the last layer first, lay down new floors, and add some décor. But not me. My spirit was a house condemned. “Not fit to live in,” said the sign across the door of my heart. God knew the work that needed to be done. Not even my foundation could be salvaged.
So he ripped it down. All of it. He ripped it away. It was tragic, it was painful, it was horrible. And yet, it was freeing, it was beautiful, it was a relief. In the year that followed, I suffered through muddy depressions and struggled to figure out who I was. What do I like to do with my time? What kind of woman am I? Is this who I want to be?
Then God began to rebuild. He carefully chose a solid Rock foundation (Himself), and lovingly selected each beam, and he built me anew: a completely different design. I am a new woman. I have a renewed love and vigor for Jesus Christ and His ministry of love. My past is gone, and here I am, stronger than ever because of the nightmares that I have endured. God had to rip down everything I had built by my own selfish desires, and he had to rebuild me from the ground up, to be the woman he always planned for me to be.
And Dear Lord, oh how I am thankful; thankful for the searing pain, and for the healing. I know God is a God of compassion and that he truly does bind up the broken hearted. I know, for he has healed my broken heart.
As I reflected on the year 2012, I say goodbye to it with both exasperation and happiness. There was good, and there was very bad. There was pain, and there was joy. I had finally begun to live my life, and not only so, but I dared to even enjoy it too! I thought about my humble circumstances, how far I had come, and what lies ahead in the future.
The last year and a half have been a sojourn to say the least. I realized that over the years, I had somehow spun a web of fear in my mind so thick that I had convinced myself that there were invisible limits on my life. “I can’t do this!” I would say. “I cannot do that!” Echoed my mind. “I’m too scared!” “I might be hurt.” “I can’t do it alone.”
LIES. All of it. Satan’s whispers in my ears, deceiving me as if it were my own voice reasoning with myself. Convincing me of a long list of things I could not do. I couldn’t have fun. I couldn’t go out. I couldn’t be alone. I couldn’t do so many things.
Well I’m done with can’ts. I’m done with a life that is limited to the boring and safe. I am done being controlled by fear. I AM A NEW CREATION IN CHRIST (2 Corinthians 5:17) and I CAN DO ALL THINGS THROUGH CHRIST WHO GIVES ME STRENGTH! (Philippians 4:13) Obviously the long list of fears and “can’ts” that I had constructed over the years were a lie.
So I made a decision. I decided to live a life without fear. There is no more room for fear in my heart. There is no more room at all. Christ died so that I may have life, and not only that, but so I would enjoy it. Every day that speeds by will never come again. It is time to live this life that I have been blessed with. It is time to step out of the door…and go on a few of adventures.
So this is it, 2013: The Year of Adventures! I have made a list of things I have always been too afraid to do, or have somehow convinced myself that I could not do. I am going to check those things off my list. Cross them off with great satisfaction and joy. I am going to live this beautiful life that God gave me, with Him leading the way, and guiding me. I choose to walk in love and joy (even when sadness comes my way) and seek the adventure and fun in each opportunity.
Join me friends, in laying down your fears, taking up your crosses and living the purposeful lives that you were made for. You won’t regret it.
Adventure #1: January 6th, 2013 –Skydiving
I cry at the top of roller coasters. Yes. It’s true; I really am that much of a wimp. Or should I say used to be.
Today, my best friend of 16 years and I drove to NorCal Skydiving in Cloverdale, CA and took the plunge. I was ecstatic. There wasn’t one moment that I was afraid. I was overjoyed. I loved the plane ride up; I loved the jump, the freefall, the landing. I have never in my life felt so peaceful and serene as I was when freefalling and looking over the glorious beauty of the land.
It was a perfect adventure, and something I had convinced myself was far too dangerous and scary for the likes of me. As we floated down my instructor laughed as I told him how it was nothing like I had nightmares about. He said to me, “You are afraid of things you don’t know anything about! How can you be afraid of something you’ve never done?” And Jimmy was right. How can I fear something I have not done? For years I limited myself, and yet here I was careening down to the earth from 13,000 in the air, tears ripping from my eyes and the biggest smile on my face and my heart. I didn’t even scream.
Today was the best birthday ever.
Here’s to a life without fear.
Here’s to adventures!