The Testimony… not a sermon but a story. My very own story. Through well executed pain, the Lord saved my soul. I’m not using the pain anymore… so I’ll share it with you.
Guard your heart above all else, for everything you do flows from it -Proverbs 4:23
Guard your heart. Setting the stage for y’all… at the ripe age of 16 my Dad died-suddenly; my mother, shortly after, went to rehab for alcohol (advised by an attorney) to hopefully terminate a trip to prison for felony DUI, ends up in jail anyway, and in the midst of that- the home that I grew up in burned to the ground, it and what was left of my father’s belongings. Having been a victim of rape at the early age of 10 years old, I was already a very angry child… and then there were all of these tragedies piled on one another in a span of six months. I had packed a lot of life into my 16 years.. I had also sacked up a lot of anger. What kind of God does this to a child? to anybody? I can tell you now, it’s one that knew exactly what He was doing. Those painful little pieces of me are growing big pieces for Him. Guard your heart to me used to mean guard your life. I’m an “independent, self sufficient, can’t check my own oil, scared to kill my own spiders, but I wont let you know it, you can’t help me or hurt me- invincible” kind of girl.
I thought nothing worse could happen; nothing could hurt me anymore. I controlled me, and I handled me well. I was so broken, so lost, and literally had no idea.
You’re heart is the seat of your life. The source of it all. “A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.” Luke 6:45 Really think about those words. I didn’t personally invite those tragedies into my life. But I did hold resentment towards Jesus, the man that orchestrated it all. That anger, that resentment- it kept showing back up… on my mouth, my circumstances, how I viewed my life, and ultimately how I lived it.
Finally, my “too strong and self-sufficient” broke. My entire life piled so heavily on top of me that I couldn’t find words; I could barely pull air. I didn’t pray the night my faith transitioned from a lost Sunday pew sitter to a real friend of Jesus. I guess my heart finally knew she was done, and my stack of defeated tears said the prayers for me. I’m honestly still not sure. I had poured to the bottom of my cup, I didn’t even have any more anger to fill it up, I had ran dry of everything but tears. Sitting in my bed, alone, feeling the literal weight of just everything on my shoulders.. as an ex-wife, a mother, a new wife, of just a person period and then I cried some more. Real, desperate tears. It was when I realized I couldn’t, physically, emotionally just could not do it anymore that He whispers to me “Choose me, I can.” It was so unequivocally blatant, as if He were right there. Then I could see some light, and I knew it felt like it because He was. My circumstances didn’t immediately change; I was surrounded by the same problems, but I was lighter. So. Much. Lighter. He’s bigger, better, best. Being weak is the advantage because it is our dependence on Christ that fills the cup. I stopped right then being Miss “I can” and traded her for the “I can’t, but He can.”
God knew my heart in that bed that night. He knew how I felt; I didn’t have to tell Him. Out of all the the pain my life has known- divorced parents, shelters, rape, addiction, death, and more divorce. He knew it was my time. My heart was empty, finally. He did in me what it took to empty it out and make room for something indescribable. He chipped away piece by piece and made room for Him. I’m thankful for every single pain. Each one taught me a little something different. My cup is empty, maybe even a little warped and lumpy, but my heart is full. Guard your heart… but what’s in there…is it worth protecting? After so many years of guarding something so hard and empty, now I have some real to protect.. and even better? What’s in there? He also protects me.
“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end” Ecclesiastes 3:11
He gave me life, a forever life. Protection for my heart. Traded my pain for beauty, but only in His time. He’s always been ready for me, but I wasn’t. I had to let go, surrender, receive. He saved my heart; He saved my life; He saved my soul.