To say 2015 was a difficult year is a huge understatement. There is a quote going around on social media that says “There are years that ask questions and years that answer.” (Zora Neale Hurston, American folklorist and author.) 2015 was a year that answered and the answers were very hard.
Most people don’t want to hear about stories like mine. Stories like mine are fodder for comedians, Christians, atheists and abusers alike to use against the truth. There is a reason for that, but I’ll save that for another post another time. I’ve learned the hard way that honestly seeking healing, freedom and truth makes one very unpopular. The truth makes people uncomfortable, angry and even antagonistic. Regardless of the reactions of others, I push forward.
The worst years of my life were early 1970’s to the early 1990’s. Those were the years I was taken down a rabbit hole and my childhood was spent on others’ horrific, satanic pursuit of forbidden knowledge and power. Rabbit holes are real as the real Alice knew far too well. My life was a distortion of multiple realities that were locked tight in my subconscious for many years. The truth remained locked down in the depths of my being but the effects ran through every aspect of my conscious life. The effects resulted in many unanswerable questions. No one could answer them; no pastor, no theologian, no therapist.
Though I could not consciously articulate what was happening during those years did not negate their hideous existence. 2015 is the year that began answering those questions and revealed a reality that took me to the edge of sanity and back again. I spent years of my life in a hell on earth and 2015 was the tour back through the devastating effects.
I have spent most of my life thinking what a screw up I was, wondering why I could never quite get stuff together, seemingly wasting every good opportunity. Society told me I was a victim, Christians told me I was bad and lazy and every other sin they could attach to what they could see, satan told me I was useless and a waste of space and I told myself I was pathetic…only God said something different.
2015 came with the crushing reality of the truth but the beauty in the ashes was that God took control and brought it back into His perspective. He graciously took control of the process so I wouldn’t be destroyed by it. He is lovingly revealing not just the reality of the hell but His Presence with me in that hell. There was nothing satan could dream up and attempt that God didn’t counter and command authority over. Over and over and over, God, the Almighty, the Sovereign One, the Most High God, has set the boundaries. As I came through this past year I realized it was a miracle I had done as well as I had over my life. I finally saw the truth: GOD SAVED ME! Day by day, He made a way for me. He was always Emmanuel, God with me.
Even in hell.
Psalm 139 says “Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend to heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in Sheol (the nether world, the place of the dead), behold, You are there.” It’s true. In the early years of my life, God accompanied a little girl into hell and stayed with her at all times until the fullness of time came and He could completely extricate every last bit of hell from her.
It only took 40-some years but He was vigorously working on it from day one. No human directly intervened that I know of though He many times attempted to draw attention to the matter. Sometimes I cooperated and sometimes I fought Him not understanding what was going on. But He did use many throughout my life to assist with the healing even though none of us knew the full weight of the matter.
My God never wavered, He never gave up ground and He never quit on me! For over 40 years! Praise His Name, He is good!
Having come through such a miraculous experience (and it is truly miraculous!), it would seem I would be looking forward to 2016 with joy. And I should. But the miracle has not been fun. It has been very, very hard. It has torn and cut and wrenched me to the core. So much so I keep hesitating, wondering, “Is there more? Am I really done?” The grace of God covers me and whispers, “Even if there were more, even if you weren’t done with this hell, I’m still with you.” And I cautiously move forward another step.
The Lord has given me the instruction to rest: to be renewed, renovated, restored. I don’t know what that looks like as I’ve never had that kind of rest in my life. It sounds easy enough but its proving to be harder than I thought! 40-some years of turmoil has left me with much to learn. I feel completely off balance, like when one is recovering from a major surgery. Everything has been rearranged, deep cuts were made and the body comes through healed but in shock. That’s a bit how my soul feels. I’m still wrestling through the recovery process.
I know 2016 actually holds promise, hope and new beginnings. It also holds the unknown and that is what trips me up every time. My prayer for this year is that God makes me comfortable with the unknown. That I will be content in the agonizing pregnant moments as I wait for the next thing. That I will really be ready for the next step. It’s a tall order, my prayer, but I know He’s up to it. And He will make me up to it too. We made it through 2015. After that I know I can make it through anything now. My nerves may argue with me but I know that I know. He is Emmanuel. Always.