About 13 years ago, I remember having a conversation with an elder in the church I was attending. She was rather upset with me because I had decided to leave that church and join another church where I felt my heart was being nurtured. I remember her saying these words, “remember where your roots are.” At that time, I know she wanted me to stay because I had already been a member of that church from when I was a young child, I grew up there, I took part in every celebration, class, course… you name it, I did it. But it was my time to move on, I knew it in my heart. ‘Remember where your roots are’. I will never forget those words.
Now I want to get back to today, to the present, to this world we find ourselves living in that seems to be so cruel. 2020 has been quite a year. As each week goes by, I find myself becoming harder and harder. I find myself detaching myself from loved ones and friends; from socialising with anyone. I’m not going to lie, this is hands down the hardest year I have ever had to endure. In my previous blog, I posted about all the difficulties this year has already thrown at not only me, but my little family too. I can now add to that list, since my last blog which I posted on the 28th of May. I just feel like everything is hitting me at once and making me more and more numb to this life and who I used to be.
It all starts off with one compromise here and another compromise there. An ugly thought here and another ugly thought there. A mean word here and another there. Before you know it, you’re staring at a stranger in the mirror. I feel like lockdown has brought the ugly out of many of us, mostly me though. I feel like lockdown has torn apart families. I feel like lockdown has separated friendships. I feel like no matter how hard we try to avoid these things, it just happens…one compromise after another, one mean word after another, one ugly thought after another.
Yesterday I found myself at a breaking point. Being pregnant, I tend to be so much more emotional than I used to be. Yesterday I wanted to give it all up. I had had enough of who I had become, I had had enough of not having support around me. I had had enough of not being able to just talk to someone. I had been bottling things up daily and yesterday, it all became too much. I was tired of being hurt and betrayed and let down. I desperately needed to talk to someone because I found myself looking for the national suicide hotline, I was also looking at pages on Facebook. After a while of browsing and being accepted into a suicide group, I started to scroll through the posts, surely there had to someone who is in the same boat as me? The posts were traumatising, I was so upset that I quickly left the group and sat down to figure out my next step. I realized that if you’re and alcoholic, you don’t go to another alcoholic for advice. It’s like the blind leading the blind. So I tried to find some online counselling. Do you know how hard it is to find someone to listen to your problems for free? I didn’t want to talk to someone I know because I don’t want people to judge me. So, I had to scrap that idea because I definitely cannot afford to pay someone to listen to my problems. My next step was to look for a Christian counselling group that would be able to just listen to my problems, I just wanted someone to listen to my problems, I needed to get it out! I finally came across a Christian counselling group right here in South Africa, I got a number that they provide for you to WhatsApp and I sent them a message asking if I could just please talk to someone, I don’t want anything else but to talk. It’s been over 20 hours and no one has replied to me. Hours after sending that message, I got some more bad news and I was just finished.
Out of nowhere, I got a message from my closest friend, asking how my day was going…I didn’t want to say because inside I’m a mess and I don’t want people I know to see that, so I just responded with a casual “you know how it is” message. I was then just bombarded with messages of encouragement and songs of encouragement and encouraging scripture. Please keep in mind, this friend has no idea about the dark demons I’m fighting. Thanks to this friend, I had hope to hold on for just a little longer. Later that evening, my husband got home and he immediately asked me what was wrong. He just knew. I had been surrounded by people the whole day and no one knew what was raging through my mind. He hugged me and we ate dinner. After dinner my hubby sat talking to me, he also had no clue as to what was happening in my head, but he just loved me and encouraged me with his own brokenness.
I sat and cried for hours last night and you want to know what was going through my head? “Remember where your roots are.” Now my roots are not in a church. I go to church, yes. But my roots are in Jesus. His love is rooted in me. This whole time, Jesus knew the demons I was fighting, Jesus knew the dark thoughts, Jesus saw each and every compromise. I was so angry yesterday, that I wanted to hurt those the same way they hurt me, I wanted to betray those the same way they betrayed me, I was ready to do exactly to them what they were doing to me. But Jesus said “Remember where your roots are…”, “Remember who you are…?” In that moment, I remembered my pastor saying “What’s down in the well comes up in the bucket.” I remember my pastor saying that we need to keep our hearts full, we need to keep our hearts pure, we need to keep our hearts peaceful, we need to keep our hearts soft and we need to keep our hearts grateful. I believe that Jesus gave that message to my pastor just for me.
I have no clue what hurt I still have to endure today, but its ok, I will remember my roots.
I have no clue how we are going to survive the next few months as a family, but its ok, I trust Jesus fully, He is my daily bread! Read and pray the Lord’s Prayer.
I have no clue how we are supposed to bring another child into 2020, I don’t know, but I have Hope, that God will provide our every need, all I have to do is trust Jesus.
I have no clue how I will respond to those who hurt me, but its ok, I’m putting it in Jesus’ hands, I know that if God is for me, who can be against me. I trust God fully. Read Romans 8 vs 31.
Here is where I want to encourage you.
I don’t know what hardships you have had to endure this year, this lockdown, this week or today alone. Just remember who you are, don’t become hard, love hard!
I don’t know what demons you’re fighting. Don’t give up…Jesus knows and He still loves you. Just remember who you are.
I don’t know what financial difficulties you are facing, but don’t let that change who you are as a person, don’t become hard and selfish, remember who you are. God will provide, just trust and pray and pray and trust!
I don’t know if you’re as broken and as messed up as me, but remember there is beauty in the broken. May your life be a testimony for the Kingdom of God.
I want to leave you with my favourite story of all.
As I faced my Maker at the last Judgment, I knelt before the Lord along with the other souls. Before each of us laid our lives, like the squares of a quilt, in many piles.
An Angel sat before each of us sewing our quilt squares together into a tapestry that was our life.
But as my Angel took each piece of cloth off the pile, I noticed how ragged and empty each of my squares were. They were filled with giant holes! Each square was labelled with a part of my life that had been difficult, the challenges and temptations I was faced with in everyday life. I saw hardships that I had endured, (which were the largest holes of all).
I glanced around me. Nobody else had such squares. Others had a tiny hole here and there, other tapestries were filled with rich colour and the bright hues of worldly fortune.
I gazed upon my own life and was disheartened. My Angel was sewing the ragged pieces of cloth together, threadbare and empty, like binding air. Finally, the time came when each life was to be displayed, held up to the light and the scrutiny of truth. The others rose each in turn, holding up their tapestries. So filled their lives had been.
My Angel looked upon me and nodded for me to rise. My gaze dropped to the ground in shame. I hadn’t had all the earthly fortunes. I had love in my life and laughter. But there had also been trials of illness, death, and false accusations that took from me my world as I knew it. I had to start over many times. I often struggled with the temptation to quit, only to somehow muster the strength to pick up and begin again. I had spent many nights on my knees in prayer, asking for help and guidance in my life. I had often been held up to ridicule, which I endured painfully; each time offering it up to the Father, in hopes that I would not melt within my skin beneath the judgmental gaze of those who unfairly judged me. And now, I had to face the truth. My life was what it was, and I had to accept it for what it had been.
I rose and slowly lifted the combined squares of my life to the light. An awe-filled gasp filled the air. I gazed around at the others who stared at me with eyes wide. Then, I looked upon the tapestry before me. Light flooded through the many holes, creating an image.
The face of Christ.
Then our Lord stood before me, with warmth and love in His eyes. He said,
“Every time you gave over your life to Me, it became My life, My hardships, and My struggles. Each point of light in your life is when you stepped aside and let Me shine through, until there was more of Me than there was of you…Welcome Home My Child”