Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Prodigal Daughter

First of all, I apologize that everything has been out of sync the last few days.  My computer has been in and out of the shop, but I think I've finally got everything just about under control now. 

Day 6: What is the hardest thing you have ever experienced?

I had to think about this one for a long time.  I nearly wrote about the loss of one of my dear friends to suicide a few years back.  I've shared that story on this blog before.  Losing Gatlin was a very difficult time in my life.

However, I think the hardest thing I've experienced was when I turned away from the Lord as a young teenager.  I'd grown up in a Christian home.  Even though I had not fully shouldered my faith on my own, I grew up hearing the name of Jesus spoken and praised all around me.  I struggled with several things growing up, like depression and anxiety, but as soon as I made the decision to stop believing in God completely, everything crashed to the ground.

I'd been wrestling with my faith for several months as depression and suicidal thoughts weighed me down.  How could God truly love someone like me?  Why don't I hear Him?  Why are there starving children around the world?  And with each new thought, I began to distance myself further and further from Him.

One day, I was talking to a friend and sharing how frustrated I was with everything, how I felt completely abandoned by God.  And that's when I said it aloud for the first time.  "I don't think I'm a Christian anymore.  I don't even believe in God."  Once those words left my mouth, I felt completely lost.  But I hardened my heart.  I took each of those words and gave myself a new name, not a child of God, resigned to walk alone.  As if I could handle my crumbling life with my own feeble strength.

My heart emptied.  I felt forsaken by the Lord, even though I was the one who had run from Him.  I turned to things that broke my Father's heart, like self injury and a suicide attempt.  I wanted to die.

A few months before my fifteenth birthday, Christ reminded me of the power of His Gospel and the relentlessness of His love.  I was a prodigal daughter who had run away as far as I possibly could, and still He ran to me, embracing me into arms more loving than I ever co uld have deserved.  He breathed into me new life.  He spoke redemption and transformation over me.  He called me "beloved" when I should have been called "enemy."

And that's how the hardest thing I've ever experienced became a testament of the goodness and mercy of the Creator of the universe.

But while the daughter was still a long way off, the Father saw her and felt compassion on her and ran and embraced her and kissed her.  "Let us celebrate, for this child of mine was dead and she has come back to life.  She was lost and now she is found."  And they began to celebrate.

Two years ago: A Little Illiterate
Three years ago: How to Survive High School

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