“You seem a little quiet lately,” I told him.
“You’re right. I’m just going through some things,” he responded.
How was I supposed to know this conversation would set my path for the next few months? I suppose I might have seen it coming, but then again, I didn’t realize I was in the wilderness until I was in the wilderness.
The above conversation happened in January, but really I think this all began almost a year ago, when I went on my first ministry trip outside of the US.
It was life changing, as those trips are, and of course I came back completely changed and ready to go to the next deeper level with Jesus. I cried so much the week leading up to my trip. Mind you I was only going to be gone for a week, but I knew something was going to change. I felt it in my spirit.
So many things changed in the next month when I came back. A new love interest and new job, a new cheer season started, and I was secure in ministry. I certainly had it all together. I was happy and secure. I was content.
Fast forward to a few weeks after that conversation when everything that was going right was going all wrong. He was quiet, my friends seemed to be slipping away, I had anxiety about the cheer team, I began to hate my job, and the worst of it all, I questioned my place in ministry. Just like that, in a matter of a few weeks, everything changed.
I cried to my mentors and leaders of the church and asked for prayer. I felt distant from everyone and everything. I was heavy-hearted and anxious. But it wasn’t till I was crying with one of my spiritual mamas that the Holy Spirit answered me. “It seems as though God is calling me to be away with Him,” I told her. It hit my spirit. Like Jesus when He went off to be alone, away from the disciples, to be with the Father.
Without a hint of doubt, I knew that’s what was happening. I reread a journal entry I wrote on December 31st that I completely forgot that I wrote (perhaps I forgot about it because I was distracted by my happiness and comfort?). In this entry I was writing my prayer for the year 2019, and it was simple:
This year, take it all and give me Jesus.
A river of tears flowed from my eyes. You asked for this and it’s happening.
Have you ever heard someone say, “be careful what you pray for because you just might get it?” Well, dear reader, I got it.
I sought the Lord with every part of me. I cried at His feet. I stayed away. I opened my ears to His voice and my heart to His Spirit. All the while, more and more things kept happening to me, but with every blow I ran to His holy table. Now I know what it means to sit at the Lord’s table.
We are called to crucify the flesh. We are called to lay down our lives daily and pick up the cross and follow Jesus. We are to die to self. Let me tell you this: dying hurts and I was dying to myself. Every time I sat with Him, He was revealing selfishness and pride I didn’t know I had. He was revealing things I had done to others and prompting me to ask for forgiveness. He was showing me my life from the outside looking in and I didn’t like what I was seeing.
He was peeling off layers of flesh and clothing me in righteousness.
He was making me like Jesus.
This lasted for months. The hardest months I’ve ever lived through. There were times that my heart was so heavy, it would physically hurt. I really felt like I was the Israelites trying to get to the milk and honey, but let me also tell you this: the land flowing with milk and honey will be glorious.
I’ve been a little quiet. I haven’t written in months aside from a couple surface-deep posts. I tried. I tried to write what I was feeling, but every time I sat down to do it, I was blocked. The words just wouldn’t come.
So as I write this, I know it means that I’ve crossed the Jordan and I am resting. I’m looking back on the last year, especially the last several months, and I can’t help but smile and say, believing with my whole heart, “Look what the Lord has done.”
I’ll tell you this to end: my heart doesn’t physically hurt anymore. Instead I have an unexplainable joy that’s not dependent on circumstance or emotion because its source is a never-ending fountain that flows from heaven.
He is faithful. He is good.
Don’t be afraid. Jesus will hold your hand and walk you through it. He loves you.
Love, Sarah Lynn