The moment my life changed…
It happened when I touched down in Haiti. My life changed completely; my perspective, a peace I’ve never known, and my heart feeling like it may explode…I was full. Full of joy that Christ blessed me to understand. Looking over that wing at the shanty village that peppered the whole landscape…my life changed.
I will never forget that moment. Before even getting off the plane, I began to cry. Prior to this trip, I felt like my life was useless. I was beaten down by depression, anxiety, and shear terror that I had no purpose and no direction. I was floundering. I had been married for almost two years, and was in another job position I knew wasn’t going to fit me for the long term. I couldn’t hear God, and felt like I was left alone. I was lost. I prayed incessantly for God’s will, God’s help, and God’s wisdom to know what to do with my life. I was extremely impatient, longing for a quick fix. A solution that would give me all the comfort I desired. I begged for an answer, “PLEASE ANSWER ME!” I would lament (usually during my routine prayer time in the car on my way to work). For two years before that trip, I asked daily for God to reveal to me what I needed to do. I didn’t even know what “to do” meant…I just wanted a path. As an obsessive planner and routine-monger…I needed a pathway! I wanted to leave my job, I wanted my work to contribute to God’s Word, and I wanted my education to be used. I needed answers.
Slowly, unbeknownst to me, God was working. God was working in His perfectly timed manner. Patiently pruning me to learn the virtue of patience (a HUGE feat). In the background, He had led Adam and I to a church where we grew closer to Christ, grew closer in our marriage, and developed a life-long loving friendship with a couple who are now two of our very best friends. I didn’t understand at the time, but my colleagues (actually friends) at work were helping my faith in Christ grow. They were strong faithful Christ-loving women that loved on me. We constantly prayed at work, went to bible studies, talked about God in our lives, and held each other up when going through difficult times. Reflecting now on that job, a time in which I couldn’t see the forest for the trees, I was truly strengthened in my walk with Christ. And now, I’m forever grateful for the opportunity to have worked in such an environment. Christ knew what He was doing, what a shocker ;).
When the opportunity came to go to Haiti through my church, God pricked my heart and I went without hesitation. (You can read more about what we did on the trip here.) When we landed, God told me “See, this is what I have planned”. And did He ever! The whole week was a time I experienced real peaceful joy. It was all consuming. I remember looking at my husband (who went on that trip also) the night before we left and saying “I feel complete here”. Once we returned home, my eyes were open. I had evidence that God WAS working in my life and I felt guilty because had I actually been focused on His promise, I should’ve understood…He NEVER left me. He heard all my prayers, knew my heart, and already had a plan in place.
Since that first trip, I’ve been two more times to Haiti with more in the works coming up. Through prayer and seeking Christ daily, doors opened (that perfect timing thing) the following year and I was able to leave that job. Now I have a career that fits me. It allows me the flexibility to go on mission trips, the chance to use all my education, and it makes me happy! God is faithful!
The hardest time in my life thus far was a very all consuming mental defeat. My life is still very far from “perfect”, but Christ prevails. I’ve been able to witness such faithfulness from my Father. He was always there, right beside me. When I felt like my life meant nothing, He was working on a plan. When I felt forgotten, He was timing out a perfect sequence of events. When I thought He didn’t hear me, He acted. I know that I will forever battle my mind. Depression and anxiety are inside of me, but they cannot control my life. Christ is my armor. Through a dark time in my life, God showed up (and showed out). I now know what “it” feels like, the peace that passes all understanding. It’s marvelous. When I can feel “the shift” (my name for returning to that place I don’t want to be), I bow my head and pray. For I know God is my strength. Mental struggle is consuming and steals the chance to see what good is happening in your life. It has the ability to devour your hope and joy. Stay present, don’t let the fear of the unknown future weigh you down. Kneel before God and ask for His help. He is there.
The greatest satisfaction in my life so far has been the gift Christ has provided me to work in Haiti to share The Gospel. The entire time Jesus was on Earth, He shared. He gave people love; He was a living example of God’s nature. As Jesus died for us so that we may live, your struggle can also be a testimony to God’s nature and can be shared to help others in their walk with Christ. Be encouraged. Christ is working through all things for the good of His people. It may quite literally take years. Remain faithful. Lean on Him for comfort through the struggle. He may not relieve you from the pain at that moment…but trust that He has a plan.