“I first met this young lady when I was director of the ‘International Home for Children’ located in Indianapolis. She was a young girl then. last year, she flew out to see us. Here is what she has to say about that visit and the results of God’s great work in her life.” – Pastor Todd
“Ever since I was a young child I struggled with fear. When I was younger it manifested itself in fairly typical ways, scared of the dark, what if someone came into the house or there was a ‘bad person’ around.
As I got older this enemy of fear disguised itself better and better until I could not recognize it at all. I began experiencing a variety of harmful and sexual thoughts that I did not understand. I couldn’t figure out what I was doing that allowed these things in my mind. This lead to me being stressed, anxious and guilty almost all the time; the worst was when I was alone. I hated being with myself. To avoid this I would frequently listen to music, books on tape or watch TV shows or movies. I literally felt like I was being bombarded with these evil thoughts, like wades of paper or stones were being thrown at my head. The only way to escape was to occupy my mind with something else all the time.
The stress and guilt mounted until I fell into a phase of depression, the guilt consumed my mind and I was just sad. I remember one morning waking up and almost immediately a tear started rolling down my face because I was so sad (that was the most depressed I have ever been). Eventually I talked with my parents about some of the struggles I was experiencing and that brought tremendous freedom just knowing they still loved me in spite of my failings. One of the times that I have felt God touch my life in the realest way was at that time. I was emotionally and spiritually so exhausted. The night I was talking with my parents I couldn’t stop crying and just keep saying I’m so tired but it just won’t stop, it just won’t stop. My Dad prayed specifically that God would give me His rest. It was about two days later it dawned on me that I had been at peace. Jesus had allowed me a time of rest so my soul could just stop the race it had been running. I feel like that was the first step of my healing.
Deep down I still believed that I was the one to blame for this happening; I messed up every time Satan threw one of his lies toward me. This half- healed half- broken heart state remained. Now looking back I think it boiled down my view of Jesus.
My view of Jesus changed the summer after I graduated from high school (2011). I went to visit Todd and Rachel and we talked about so much stuff that week but one night I specifically just poured out my heart to Todd about what I had experienced, what I was still struggling with (similar to what I explained in the paragraph above) and how I felt. Todd listened and we talked for a long time that night. These are the things I walked away from that time (in my own words):
1. The struggle doesn’t end, but that’s not point. Jesus doesn’t ask us to stop struggling, He asks us to bring our struggles to Him. I remember picturing a person in deep pain, crying and sobbing reaching there hands up to Jesus holding their struggle, their thorn in the flesh, their sin; giving it to Him. Jesus doesn’t ask me to be perfect, just for me to give up my struggles to Him and allow Him to take them from me.
2. I believed lies about who God is. I had a huge fear of being rejected by God. I would at times pray just don’t leave me God, please just don’t leave me because I felt like I messed up so much. I think that Satan planted that lie about God rejecting me and that he sent these thoughts to consume me with fear that God couldn’t really love me and that He was fed up with me and was going to leave me. I felt like since I had these wrong thoughts I might “accidently” do something wrong and then God or other people would never forgive me. I feel like since that point I have been learning more and more about whom Jesus really is and how He really feels about me. The book of Hebrews has become very special to me and was very healing during this time. Some specific verses that I love are, Hebrews 4:14-16, chapter 5-6, 7:12; 24-28. Truly coming to see Jesus as my High Priest, ever loving and truly ever present.
3. I felt God’s love in a very tangible way through Todd and Rachel as they listened, talked and loved me again in spite of my failings. It makes a world of difference when you realize you are not alone in a struggle. Rachel sharing that she had similar experiences brought an amazing amount of relief, again just knowing I wasn’t the only one.
Another thing that Jesus has taught me is: talk totally openly with Him. I always knew in my head that He knew everything but now I have come to the place of actually naming my struggles out-loud to Him and asking Him to help me. (I don’t know why this makes a difference but for me, but it does. I think it might be because I have to face the reality of the struggle when I say it out loud, it is real that way. )
As I have walked though life the two years since, I really feel like God has filled me with an overflowing joy. I’m just so happy to be alive, to see what adventures He has planed for my life, where He will take me. I’m not perfect, I still struggle, I still fear, Satan tries to get burdened with guilt and shame at times but I’ve learned to run to Jesus at these times instead of trying to take care of it on my own. I feel like along with this new joy is an ever-deepening understanding of my need for Him, I’m not perfect and I need Jesus so much everyday, but in that lays the joy. I am small, He is great and He loves me perfectly.”