Hello guys! Since I've last posted, I've turned 24! And that means Spring is here. <3
This post comes from something heavy on my heart. I do hope that this brings hope to many.
For the past year I've been struggling with who I am and what I'm here for. Over the past year I was introduced to things I never thought I would fall into. Throughout my middle and high school years I never struggled with peer pressure and, thank God above, I was an outcast because it shielded me from some terrible things. I was also much closer to God then than I am now, but God has been wooing me to Himself.
Once my boyfriend and I broke up in February 2014, I started backsliding in my walk with God. By June 2014 I fell into the devil's backyard and even though I knew to take God's Hand to be pulled out, I chose to stay and play. In June 2014, I was well on my way to becoming an alcoholic. I prayed for God to provide a way out even though my flesh didn't want it. He did. I no longer drink. In August 2014, someone I was really close to decided to stop talking to me. This person was going through a rough time but I could not understand why they'd chosen to stop associating with me when all I'd done was be a good friend to them. I'm a person who loves deeply so when I get hurt, I hurt deeply. I was made that way. I know not everyone is but I still couldn't wrap my mind around why they'd ignore me. This person seemed to enjoy playing games with my emotions throughout the "friendship", saying we'd do this and that, then never keeping to their word. They would often come up with the same excuses to not get together whenever I would ask to go to lunch, etc. then would turn around and say they "loved" me yet did not prove to me the truth in it. I couldn't see the phileo love in not returning some texts I'd sent after not hearing from them in weeks, empty promises made, etc. Angry and bitter at what they'd done, I completely deleted them from my facebook, wiped their number from my phone, and pushed them out of my mind because I would rather have zero friends then fake ones who say they care but their actions show otherwise. I'm a loyal person and if I care about someone, I bend over backwards to please them, be there for them, and love them. If they needed someone to talk to, I'd always be there.
Sometimes those who have the same type of personality as I do, will get walked on and taken advantage of because they don't know when to say no. Finally, I'd had enough so I decided to drop them from my life and if they ever wanted to be back in it, they'd have to be the one to contact me.
Six months go by without hearing a word from this person and the longer it got the more I cared less about myself. The more whispered thoughts of lies were spoke to me: No one cares about you. If they did, they'd be texting you or doing things with you. You're all alone, Brooke. You can't go to your family because they don't understand and you have no friends because they don't care. Look at what they've done to you. Hate them. Despise them. Let your bitterness spread like wildfire, child.
So I let bitterness eat me alive again. I felt so alone. I moved out December 13, 2014, the day after I graduated college. This made the loneliness worse because I wasn't around family everyday anymore. I'd taken a three month reprieve from living in sin because different circumstances forced me to. I wasn't willing to give it up on my own yet. During the break, other heartbreaking things took place that made my heart feel shattered. I felt like I had nowhere to turn and, although I knew God was the answer, I pushed my arms out in resistance. I wanted to FEEL God, touch Him, hug Him. I wanted Him tangibly. I craved to literally feel LOVED.
When I could no longer take the lonely feeling and the emptiness, another door opened and I saw into the devil's backyard again. So I ventured in and he reminded me what I'd been missing for three months. Figuratively speaking, he placed it in my hands and encouraged me to go ahead, it would take away the pain. And it did, temporarily. It just wouldn't permanently fill the chasm I housed.
Then one pretty day in early February, I decided I would get my life back on track and get closer to God. I would give up the things I'd been doing I knew weren't right. The day after I made this decision, satan dangled a new carrot in my face and my heart leapt at the chance to feel whole. I longed for someone to care, someone to do things with. I felt so low and disheartened. I didn't feel like I had any worth and, in my mind, the absence of friends in my life proved it.
The "new carrot" was a married man in the midst of a divorce. I'd already known him and we'd lost contact for a while. He called me out of the blue to hang out the day after I'd decided to get myself back on the right path! Some may say it's not wrong to get involved with someone going through a divorce, that they're pretty much single, but it couldn't be further from the truth. If the divorce isn't finalized, they are STILL married. I knew this. I wasn't looking for a romantic relationship with this person, just a friend to do things with.
I knew that accepting an invitation to hang out was a bad idea because of how vulnerable I was and how much I longed for just someone, anyone, to show they gave a crap. One day of hanging out turned into a month and a half of spending every day after work with him.
This guy somehow knew how to get to me emotionally and kiss all my inner wounds with some words I'd never been told before: "You're worthy. You're worthy of love. You're amazing. You're beautiful. You're a gem, multifaceted. You're lovely. I love you. You're incredible. I think of you all the time. I miss you when you're not here."
I was like a bug to a bright light before the deadly shock. For a while I felt whole. I felt special. Wanted. Needed. Validated.
And I nearly gave myself away after keeping myself pure for 24 years. But God gave me the strength to resist. It amazes me that He loves me so much that even though I've shut Him out, pushed Him away, and tried filling the chasm only meant for God alone, He still gave me strength to say no.
He heard me crying from the inside and He came to my rescue.
God still kept wooing me. He sent many things my way that told me I needed to turn around. I kept dismissing them until one afternoon in early March when my grandmother called and said for the past two weeks or so she'd had a terrible feeling that something wasn't right with me.
I didn't feel like I could tell her anything at all, at least at that time, so I told her I was fine. This was the second to the last thing that broke the straw on the camel's back, so to speak. She'd told me no one had told her anything, so that meant God gave her the feeling to call me--something my great-grandmother did many times when she was still living. I realized that I would not be left alone until I decided to turn around and run to God. He wanted me back. My mind and my soul would not rest until I did.
The next day, I was distraught and felt torn. I knew what I needed to do, but did I really want to? Did I really want to leave a person who made me feel like I hung the moon? Did I really want to leave someone who treated me like a queen? The odd thing is...I'd only been hanging with him for a little over a month yet it felt like many months, that's how much he knew how to feed me emotionally. I took a little break at work, got in my car and, for the first time in I don't know how long, I poured my heart out to God. I didn't just pray a little, "God, please direct me on the right path" prayer but I cried and I talked to Him as if He was sitting in the passenger seat next to me. I prayed that He would give me peace on what I needed to do. I prayed that He would heal my heart and mend all my wounds and scars. I prayed that He would give me the strength, I didn't have, to get out of this situation. That I couldn't do this on my own and I needed Him to reach down and pull me from the pit I'd fallen into.
And He did just that. I prayed for peace, I stopped crying, and the spring-time air hit my face and all I could think about were all the fun times I'd had in high school on the tennis team. Spring-time in school meant tennis was back in session and that meant we would be practicing for district and state, competing in many tournaments until then.
For the first time in a long time, my heart genuinely smiled and I felt a huge weight lifted off my shoulders once I decided to leave behind what satan had offered me.
Fast forward to today, I'm still struggling but I'm stronger and I no longer have the desire to be with this man. I still struggle with loneliness, but God has provided me with people I'd lost touch with to do things with! I swallowed my pride to a friend who'd hurt me really bad and I asked if she'd like to hang out. I chose to forgive her because if I didn't, I'd be hurting myself. I reached out to another person I knew was a good influence and we just had lunch today! The lady I had lunch with was my math teacher in high school and she tutored me then and when I had a college math class. We'd just gradually lost contact due to busy lives and when she said happy birthday to me, it gave me the courage to reach out. Satan had me so scared of getting hurt again that I'd become a recluse, not wanting to get close to anyone else.
But I realized that I'm always going to get hurt. People aren't perfect. People are people. I'm not perfect, not by a long shot, so why should I expect everyone else to be? I also came to accept that it's okay for me to acknowledge all the times I'd gotten hurt by people's careless actions. It's okay to say that yes, it hurt. Yes, I was angry. I was bitter. That they were wrong. But it's not okay to stay there. It only keeps me sick emotionally, spiritually, and mentally. Sometimes physically! I've realized I'm poisoning myself when I hold onto all that junk.
When I came to this realization after my wonderful aunt talked to me about this, it also helped give me courage to recontact some people I hadn't talked to in a while. I know I've hurt people, unintentionally, and I'd hope they would extend mercy and grace to me as Jesus Christ did when He died for me.
I've known since the beginning of March that I was to sing on March 29th, 2015. I knew the song I would sing because it perfectly fit the situation I was in. The battles I was facing. I chose Hope In Front of Me by Danny Gokey.
Yesterday morning, I got up to get ready for church and I felt fine. I got to church early to practice my song a couple times and did well. Then I left to grab breakfast before the service started. Before I even took a bite of my food I got hit with an overwhelming urge to vomit. I was barely able to eat and keep it down. The nausea kept growing worse and worse the closer it came for me to sing. I KNEW it was satan trying to deter me from singing and possibly ministering to others through that song. I fought it. Even after I flushed my breakfast bye-bye, I fought. I prayed for God to take my nausea away. He even sent several people in the church to come pray for me! I couldn't sit still. If I did, the nausea felt worse. I felt overheated and had to keep fanning myself. This was different from nerves. At this point I wasn't nervous. I was SICK.
I took something to help with the nausea and even that didn't touch it. There were so many times I nearly went to tell the sound board I couldn't sing because I was sick. But I kept on, knowing that when I took those steps on the stage, the nausea would vanish because I was convinced it was spiritual warfare.
And what do you think happened when I got up there? Yup! The nausea left and I sang. My sister even went up there with me and read something I'd written because I didn't want to start crying. I could feel God's presence with me while I sang. I smiled and I wasn't nervous. I remember all the words.
God is SO good.
Am I still temped? Oh, yes. Every day. Have I messed up since then? Yes, but God knows my heart. He knows I'm trying and that I want to leave behind the things that have kept me bound. I no longer have the desire to be with the man that nearly cost me my virginity. God opened my eyes to what I was about to do. He opened my eyes to the validity of walking away and to the dire consequences that would come if I chose to stay with this man who was over twice my age. I've always had excellent discernment and been very wise for my age. It's two gifts the Holy Spirit has gifted me with. And even in the midst of this rough period, I knew what I was doing was wrong. I saw the red flags, I knew to stop but I chose not to until I came to a breaking point and, thank GOD, that breaking point wasn't "after I'd gotten pregnant or injured physically".
Up until now, I'd not believed in "once saved, always saved." Until I went through this storm, I didn't realize that if a person is truly saved, they will not tell God they want nothing more to do with Him. Their heart will not mean it.
Even when I was going through these struggles, I never once told God I wanted nothing more to do with Him. I never told Him to leave me alone. I still loved God but I wasn't making Him first in my life. I truly believed that if I kept messing with what I was messing with, He'd let me go and leave me like others in my life have. But He didn't. He was there. He was always there trying to bring me back.
I believe that if someone is a true believer and they backslide, they stray, God WILL bring them back to Him.
Isaiah 53:6 says, "All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him." This means that all of us at some point has strayed but because we, as believers, have been washed in Jesus' blood, our sins are paid for because they were nailed to the cross. All of our sins were put on Jesus Christ when He was crucified.
John 10: 9-18 says,There's Hope in front of you. Why don't you reach out and take it, Beloved?
Sorry the image is blurry but it's the message of the song that counts!