According to good ol’ CR wisdom, helping others after you make it through the 12 steps yourself will be a good healing process. It will be added balm to your soul. Most of the time over the last couple months I have been in the “I am in way over my head/what am I doing?” mode. I know God has called me here, so I am confident about where I am. But it still has been overwhelming.
Today as I did a lot of research and emailed people and just poured into the things I love, I felt calm and at peace. There was a high price for this peace. It cost so much. I was initially thinking of the price I paid in abuse and tears processing the abuse, but my peace cost more than that. This morning I read a devotional for class by Dietrich Bonhoeffer about grace.
“Grace is costly because it calls us to follow, and it is grace because it calls us to follow Jesus Christ. It is costly because it costs a man (or woman) his/her life, and it is grace because it gives a man the only true life. It is costly because it condemns sin, and grace because it justifies the sinner. Above all, it is costly because it cost God the life of his Son: ‘ye were bought at a price,’ and what has cost God much cannot be cheap for us. Above all, it is grace because God did not reckon his Son too dear a price to pay for our life, but delivered him up for us. Costly grace is the Incarnation of God.”
Yeah, Jesus didn’t say “take up your cross, sell all that you have, give up your life, follow Me” for nothing. It cost a lot. About three years and two months ago, I decided to actually start following Christ. The halfway thing had me miserable. I would follow Him in blind faith wherever He might lead before I willingly compromised again. It cost me a lot. It cost me everything I thought I wanted. I gave Him all that and He replaced it with my heart’s desires: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. It was what I always wanted, but never knew it was possible for me to have.
I never really, really thought there was another side to this journey. Do I still struggle? Absolutely, but the struggle is different. The intensity is different. My focus is different. The short prayer, “God, I desire only You.” brings my focus quickly back to Him because it briefly reminds me of the intense pain of desiring anything else and reminds me of the abundant rewards I have received following Him.
I am still a broken vessel, but light is shining through me. There are way more than 10,000 reasons for my soul to sing. He is and there is none like Him. There is no one like my God. He changed my heart. I do not have to pretend anymore. I love now. I used to be a vile wretch. I had good reason to want to kill myself. He saved me. He saved me. My insides don’t scream anymore. They don’t feel twisted. Jesus untied the knot. I don’t have to run anymore.
Two years ago I had nothing to live for, nowhere to go, and I didn’t even care if I ever got there. But I went where He called, and He gave me something to live for. He gave me a family. He gave me hope. He gave me an assignment. Many of them actually. He gives me dreams with no limit. He has given me beauty for my ashes. When I finally gave my ashes to Him, He changed me. He changed me, people, He changed me.
Then Hannah prayed:
“My heart rejoices in the LORD! The LORD has made me strong.a Now I have an answer for my enemies; I rejoice because you rescued me. No one is holy like the LORD! There is no one besides you; there is no Rock like our God.” – I Samuel 2:1-2