I have a sense of accomplishment today as I finished the last page in another journal! I've lost count of my journals over the years, but as I finish each one, I love to go back to the beginning to see where I was when I started versus where I am when I finish. My current journal has lasted me two years and I started it in the midst of one of the most challenging seasons of my life so far.
It's no secret that I have wrestled with depression and suicide at different points in my life. Two years ago, I was forced to face deep-rooted issues in my heart that began when I experienced abuse at a young age. It's a long story and maybe I will share it with you over a cup of tea sometime, but the short of it is that even though I have been working towards healing from trauma for many years, there were STILL remnants left behind in me and I simply could not reconcile the fact that God is Who He Says He Is.
You see, I could believe that God possessed one or even some of the attributes I was taught about Him growing up. But to believe that he was ALL of them ALL of the time....?? I mean, how do you comprehend that God is good, just, and omnipresent when you remember trauma from when you were 5? I could believe that He was good- as long as I could also believe He was not present. OR I could believe that He was present, but not always good. OR maybe He was both, but lacked the power to actually intervene. Whatever the reason, I simply could NOT come to terms with it. And in total transparency- I almost walked away from Jesus. I had spent so much of my life trying to hold on and "earn" my place in Heaven, but I was just tired and decided that I would let go and if God was real...He would catch me. (Note: I'm not recommending this to people....just stating what my experience was! But hey, several of you can probably relate!)
And oh! How He held me! Never in my life have I experienced so much closeness with the Holy Spirit as I did in that season. I sought help. Went to therapy. And in one of my therapy sessions (I know this will sound crazy to some....especially my friends who do not share my faith)....but I felt Jesus in the room with me. Talking with me. Encouraging me. And in an instant- I felt my heart transform. There are no words to accurately describe what happened in that room. Can't even remember what the therapist said. I only know that I entered the room in a dark and confused place and after sitting with Jesus, I left feeling brand new and whole and just so full of joy and anticipation! It's been almost two years since that moment....and I still feel the same way today.
As I look through my journal documenting my journey over the last two years, I am simply overwhelmed at all that God has done!
I definitely do not want to minimize depression and how real it is and how serious it can get. But I DO want to glorify God for breaking harmful cycles in my life! There have been so many changes, events, and ups/downs in the last two years....especially in 2020! But I am SO grateful for the hope I have in Jesus Christ!
Some of you may be wondering if I found the solution for justifying all of God's attributes. To be honest, the answer is no, I still don't fully understand it. But then again, how could I? How does mankind try to make sense of their Creator? Especially when we broke our covenant with Him and sin entered the world....and yet He still loved us to the point of coming in human form, dying, and making a way for us to conquer death (which is our birthright!). If from the moment we are born, we are promised death (because that is the promise God made and kept with Adam and Eve), and then God cares enough about us to make a giant loophole to conquer death by taking our place! "To write the love of God above would drain the ocean dry. Nor could the scroll contain the whole, though stretched from sky to sky." I guess in a way, I have just come to peace with not understanding everything. And I can't explain what happened, but even though I don't understand, I still KNOW that God is good, just, kind, patient, righteous, merciful, fierce, and the list goes on!
So yeah. As I sit here in Nepal reflecting on the last two years, I am overjoyed at all God has done and look forward to seeing the beginning and end of the next journal unfold as well!
For the curious minds-Highlights of the last 2 years as I look through my journal:
-God gave me a new heart (and hasn't taken it back)
-Met one of my best friends who became my roommate and then became my cousin's wife, so we are forever family!
-Went to Disneyland for the first time
-Several back-and-forths between CA and NC before moving back to NC in January 2020
-Lots of babies born, including my sweet nephew, Liam!
-Finally took my first trip to Nepal, made a plan to move, and am currently typing this from Nepal!
-First time visiting Turkey....not a good experience for me. (Cue food poisoning and passing out in the airport security line!)
-Went to Northern Ireland for a friend's wedding (still the best wedding I've attended)
-Visited a dear sister in London finally!
-Someone special to me became addicted to meth and heroin
-Fell in love with a bunch of students at my new NC job working at a school
-Awesome road trips
-Randomly raised some ducks
-Failed at keeping a garden (but had some great target practice with the groudhog culprits!)
-Blessed to spend lots of time with family
-Spent months trying to get to Nepal (4th time was the charm!)
And so, as the saying goes, it is time to close this chapter and start a new one!