Hidden, but not healed
One of the treasures of real deal friendship is living closely enough to another human that you get to marvel at God’s work in her. That’s not so if we keep our relationships splashing in the shallow end. Diving deeply in our own self-absorption until our lungs burn and there’s no air for others.
For most of my adult life I have preferred those friendships. They require little. Yield little. Which was fine by me.
But God had other plans when I met Lindsay seven years ago. She spent fewer words than most people I’d ever met. She glowed red if she contributed during home group and concealed a white-hot penchant for competition that made me know I always wanted her on my team.
A lot of life happens in seven years, and we’ve been privileged to do most of that life together. During our relationship, God has grown her into a force. He has given her a voice others are wise to give ear, and she is more committed to pushing herself, more committed to walking in the shoes God intends her to fill than anyone I’ve ever met. She’s committed to growth and honesty and obedience and grace.
We are friends.
We are ministry teammates.
And it is such a treat to have her sharing her story on the blog today…
Antidepressants and anxiety meds became a part of my daily routine at the tender age of 13.
Though there are parts of my childhood I remember only in a hazy fog, I do know that at some point a switch flipped inside of me. I transformed from a vivacious and fun-loving kid, to a withdrawn and fearful adolescent. I can still recall my mother taking me to the doctor to discuss the abnormality of my temperament.
I would spend the next 10 years keeping the darkness at bay with a pill every morning. I had no real friends. I avoided most people. I occasionally prayed to a God I claimed but did not really know. I had a great family, but I also had a secret shame.
One that was stuffed down so deep that I couldn’t have told you about it if I wanted to. Oh, to be sure it would resurface time and time again, only to be desperately shoved back into the depths of my mind. Forgotten in my head, but like an untreated wound it was left to fester in the deepest places of my heart. Hidden, but not healed.
Then one day my life changed. The far-away God I had known about my entire life finally became personal to me. Jesus. And, exactly as I was –burdened and broken– I began to follow Him. To love Him. To trust Him.
As I did that, ever so gradually, the darkness began to dissolve.
For someone who had lived in darkness for so long the light was both a beautiful and scary thing. I discovered the amazing joy and love found in the light. But I also discovered that hurts can’t stay hidden when there is no darkness to conceal them. No dark corner to bury the memories of my molestation when the shame threatened to overwhelm me. And that is when I finally came to understand…
Jesus didn’t want to hide it. He wanted to heal it.
Healing for me started with confession–a willingness to acknowledge my past instead of running from it. And oh, how beautifully Jesus orchestrated the relationships in my life through this season. Providing me with someone who loved Him and had openly shared similar experiences. Someone who could loan me strength and hope as mine began to fail.
Talking about it didn’t kill me as I felt certain it would. Much to my surprise it brought me freedom and peace. The shame of my past lost its grip on me. The open wound eventually became nothing more than a scar–part of my story to serve as evidence of Jesus’s love and faithfulness.
Our past hurts. Our past sins. Our burdens. Our stories. These become our ministry. These are all tools Jesus has equipped us with. To draw others to Him. To bring healing to the broken. To help others see beauty rise from their ashes.
How would anyone ever know how to get out of a pit without someone who had been in the pit before willing to tell them?
We never know who needs to hear our story. We never know who may need to borrow our strength. Jesus doesn’t want us to hide our pain. He wants to heal it. And then to use it to draw others to His love and grace.
Guest Post by Lindsay Haselden
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