"Has the Lord redeemed you? Then speak out!
Tell others He has redeemed you from your enemies.”
Psalm 107:2, NLT
This time last year a battle was waging in the Heavens for my sanity. While I was answering God’s call to serve Him with my whole life in public ministry, a perfect but hidden storm of sorts continued to brew over me, in me, and around me, whipping up howling winds. I was doing everything I could to hold onto Jesus as my life-raft. But the pull toward deceptive thinking fought hard for the sanity of my mind. Nearly everything I believed was distorted. About me. About others. About God. I was in dire need of a mighty deliverance from my Savior and, all glory to Him, after much struggle, I finally got it over the span of five days in November.
The day I showed up to my mentor’s office, broken to sheer madness, was the day I saw how insanely entrenching the battle for my mind and life had become. Laid out on the floor, wailing in desperation and drowning in helplessness, was the day my chains began to break. The deceiver had deceived me into an emotional heap of ashes. Little did I know, while I was crying out for help as my two beloved mentors and mothers in the faith prayed over me, my Heavenly Father was rescuing me from a lifelong struggle associated with a very complex form of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, as well as a fierce addiction to the approval of others, years of ongoing distorted thinking in my head, and fears—if allowed to manifest fully—that had the propensity to sink my entire life into the deepest, darkest dungeon of rejection and loss, forever. I felt like the biggest fool that day, turned all inside out in public while God was at work. But, honestly, my old “victimized self” truly needed a fierce killing—even to her grotesque pride.
What I’ve learned from seeking the Lord and wise counsel through such a hard season is when someone lives in the midst of ongoing abusive childhood trauma for the entire duration of their childhood as I did, it completely handicaps them in all manner of ways. Especially our central nervous system, which can result in bouts of dealing with all manner of fear, anxiety, paranoia, and a severe propensity to be hyper-vigilant in relationship to the world around us and the people in it. Everyone becomes a threat—even our very selves. Then add four other gargantuan components to the mix:
1. A surgery from past abuses that surprisingly gave life to past pain.
2. A call from God to write a book that stirs up even more painful memories from the past within my mind like a category 5 hurricane circling around.
3. An onslaught of family devastation and great suffering.
4. The devil’s assaults aimed at seemingly every area of personal weaknesses.
Aren't you glad you didn’t know me at the time?
Talk about some serious D R A M A.
If I had the money to do so, I’d send everyone even remotely close to me at the time to counseling. I’m not even kidding. It was the most perplexing season for everyone. We’d think it was coming to a end, then, kaboom, the storm started raging again. For a while, I held on to certain loved ones until, in the end, the Lord tore them all from my hands. It somewhat reminds me of Job in the first couple chapters of his namesake book of the Bible, Job. My suffering in no way compares to Job’s. Still, the Lord gave Satan permission to come after everything concerning Job’s life, except the actual taking of his life. It was the worst season of devastation and loss. Job found himself hit again and again. His pain was unbearable. At times, he wanted to die. No one could truly help him but God.
What Job didn’t know, like many of us most of the time, is a war of cosmic proportions raged all about him. Satan believed Job only worshiped God for God’s continued blessings of protection in his life. But Satan would soon discover otherwise. Job would continue to worship his God but with a more sobered, pruned heart. That’s how I feel. Likewise, if my story resonates at all with you, I wonder if you do too? These days I’m humbled before God and others and most definitely pruned. It’s hard not to echo Job’s words in Chapter 40 verse 4 when he said, ““Behold, I am of small account… I lay my hand on my mouth.”
Sometimes transformation in Christ requires a cross before an empty tomb. It’s painful but true. The thing is, we can trust our God, who loved us enough to redeem us, to also love us enough to kill us, heal us, and to raise us back to life in Him. More whole and in love with Him than our former broken minds could have ever conceived. After we’ve died on Golgotha's hill, the God of the resurrection comes surging back to life in us and, by the pure mercy and grace of God alone, even through us.
Who would want to miss out on that?
I’ve decided I don’t.
Even if it took a killing.
To God be all praise.