Testimony (in the middle)

She stormed out, slamming the door without a word, no hint of where she was going or when she would be back.  There was no telling if we would be home alone for hours or days. Fighting with my mom and ending up in charge was way too familiar.  Furious and refusing to be scared, I clenched my jaw to hold back tears and went to her bedroom.  A few minutes later I emerged waving a booklet for my crying sisters to see, “She left the food stamps. We can walk to the store if we need anything. We’ll be fine.”  I was ten years old, the girls were eight and four.  I wish I could say that was the beginning or the end of terrible times in my childhood, but it wasn’t.  It was the middle. 

My dad left us when I was about five and things went pretty steadily downhill from there.  Neglect and abuse of all kinds combined with being the oldest made me an expert problem solver though.  Not being taken care of trained me to take care of myself.  As a child who needed to make it day to day and make sure her sisters made it as well in some pretty rough government projects with drug addicted, creepy adults around every corner, problem solving comes in handy.  As an adult, it shows up as self reliance and self sufficiency, at least in me it did.  As a child of God, it prevented me from leaning on Him and letting Him take complete control in my life. 

I’ve said a few times that last year a string of terrible things happened.  And though I’m not quite ready to write about any of those things specifically yet, I will say if you can think of something terrible, it probably happened to me last year.  It left me broken to say the least.  Honestly, it left me a shattered, scared, starving shell of a girl.  Thoughts of suicide filled my quiet moments.  I could hardly eat, developed a stutter and anxiety shook me to the core pretty consistently.  The good thing about that was, it shredded every illusion self reliance that I held.
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Not for a second have I thought that God caused those things to happen to me, but I do believe He used them to bring me closer to Him.  I have found freedom like never before in letting go of striving, controlling and problem solving.  I have found Love and grace like never before in trusting Him and turning myself over to Him completely, repeatedly. 

A couple of times recently I’ve said that I have the beginning and middle of a really great testimony.  I am a storyteller by nature and so eager to share, but part of me wants to see everything worked out completely.  Part of me wants to play my story out until all of the problems are solved, all the way to the happily-ever-after end before I can give a testimony.  And this is just the middle.

This middle is my life though.  This middle is my story.  This middle is my redemption.  God did not leave me a shattered, scared, starving shell of a girl.  He lifted my head, He gave me life.  He held my hand and put people in my life to do the same.  He sheltered me when I needed it, gave me friends to encourage and guide me.  He pointed me towards resources that Helped me.  He provided atmospheres of healing.  He showed me Love and took me to places where I could go to be immersed in it. 

I don’t need a happily-ever-after or the-end to my testimony.  I don’t want one.  I want to love this middle that I am living.  Of course I don’t want to be shattered again, but I do hope to continue to have stories of His love and faithfulness.  I hope to discover more freedom every day.  I hope this middle keeps changing me.  And for now my testimony is this- I am free and getting freer.  

That was not even a little bit true a few months ago.  If you were not around to see, I was pretty much a wreck.  Not that I was the most graceful person in the world before, but I walked like a newborn horse for a while, all shaky and unsteady.  My head stayed bowed most of the time, my eyes barely left the ground.  My size four jeans nearly swallowed my vanishing self.  My speech, almost constant for most of my life, escaped me completely for mumbles and stutters.  And twice I was talked out of picking up knives.  He did not leave me there though. 
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That is my favorite thing about Him, He never does leave.  When I say He lifted my head and gave me life, I mean it quite literally.  I am alive.  He brought me out of the prison of self reliance.  He helped me trade in the shackles of self sufficiency and yield to His full-of-grace will for my life.  I am free of addictions and disorders.  I no longer walk in shame.  I can sing and laugh and dance.  I can keep on growing, live this middle part and trust Him to work out the end.  And that is all the testimony I need for now.     

Mes

Love, love.

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One Comment to “Testimony (in the middle)”

  1. This made me weep. You are awesome, and I love you so much. So proud to call you my friend.

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