I have been ashamed of my story. Because I "knew better". But as God has delivered me from the ash heap, and I walk in more victory, more freedom, I know He wants me to tell it. Sometimes I fight against longing for those days back. A redo. But the closer I get to the Lord, the less it matters.
On the last and greatest day of the Feast, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, "If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him." By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive...
I found my life depleted that fall of 1999. It was the year I put Kayla in 4th grade in public school. I thought life would slow down, but it didn't. I had prayed diligently and received confirmation that it was God's will for her to go to school, but there were still gnawing anxieties about it. I continued to homeschool Ethan in his second grade year. We walked Kayla to school every morning and as I left her, I felt empty and insecure.
That same fall, my sister moved to our town. After deciding to have a weekend boutique in my home, she offered to help me craft. I thought it was an ideal plan. I could school Ethan in the morning, she could come and I could start her on projects, and I could join her when Ethan was finished with his work. Then we could pick up Kayla, do dinner, and family time in the evening. But it ended up being alot of pressure to keep things on the agenda for her to do.
Surmounting issues continued to arise in my life that fall. My husband was working on building the Excel Energy Center in St Paul, MN. They were on mandatory overtime and Saturdays, so his patience was very thin. We were experiencing strain on our relationship for the first time in our 16 years of marriage.
My best friend wrote me a letter telling me that she was done inviting me over for dinner because we always said "no". The reason I always had to say "no" was my husband was too depleted to go anywhere after work, and never wanted to leave the house. I had explained this to her, but looking back, I wonder if it was more of my busyness that was the issue. I don't know.
The last leg on the stool to fall was my mom and mentor had a very difficult issue arise at her church that sent her reeling, and depleted as well.
Eventually my well was dry. I remember quoting Phillipians 4:6,7 to myself...be anxious for nothing...and the peace...will guard your heart and mind...but. I didn't apply it. It was as if I couldn't, didn't know how.
"My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water."
I didn't realize I had forsaken the Lord. The truth was, I was walking in self-reliance, trusting Him with only a little piece of my heart. The following year would take me to a place of complete and utter brokeness. I would experience dark terror from the enemy haunting me with accusations of my inadequacies and lies that the Lord would never accept me back. I would finally come to the end of myself. Again.
I had lived in close relationship with the Lord for 10 years prior, I had once before been in a dark, dry place like this for a brief time, and been lifted out with the loving arms of Jesus. But I forgot the things He taught me in that valley.
2 Peter 1:12,13 So I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have. I think it is right to refresh your memory as long as I live in the tent of this body..
Aftter getting through the boutique in November, helping with Kayla's play at school before Christmas, and the holidays that year, I didn't have the extra work any longer. I kept thinking things would get better. I couldn't figure out why I was struggling so much. I sought help, but everywhere I turned for refreshment was a dry well. I called my pastor to pray. Dry. I went to a counselor. Dry. I was doing better that summer as I hosted a Bible study in my home with 3 other women, but when fall rolled around, they were too busy and once again...Dry.
My problem was unbelief. And a desperate need for Spirit filled people to come along beside me. I think everyone in my life was in a drought during that time. I longed for fellowship with people who were walking in the Spirit. I would get small amounts of refreshment at times, but mostly continued to trudge along in that desert.
My healing came from four significant things: First, daily mega-amounts of time sitting in the Presence of God, reading His word, and listening to Him. Second, an older woman inviting me to her house to pray once a week. And third, a woman's weekend confrence that I have continued to attend for seven years where there were workshops with Living Water flowing freely...and finally obedience. I kept doing what I knew God wanted me to do.
The Lord met me in those places and began to rebuild what he had allowed to be torn down. To "renew" the mind means to tear something down and then rebuild it. I was in process of restoration.
As in any restoration project, it takes time. But with diligence, effort, commitment, patience, and an Expert Builder. I arose from the wreckage; today I have a secure foundation.
His Truth has set me free. His Spirit is my source of everything. I no longer live, but it is Christ living in me. I walk by faith, not by sight. Not perfectly, but mostly...more victoriously. Daily. I hold His hand. He has made me to know His love experientially, what I only knew a small amount before I had been forgiven so much. I don't think I will ever forget again that without Him I am nothing. He is wise in allowing trials to purify His children. He knows what they produce...for His Glory...He is so good.
2 Corinthians 3:17 Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.