I must be loved.
I want to tell a story, I think I've mentioned it before, about the time I returned to the Lord and some more events surrounding that time. I've always struggled with love, being loved, wanting love, not feeling loved, not giving love. Pretty much anything having to do with love confounds me. Kids are a game changer. For fear of damaging someone more innocent that I, relatively speaking, I find myself wanting to fix the hang up of not giving love freely. Jesus is the ultimate example of someone who gave love FREELY.
There are so many New Testament characters I can relate to, some might be surprised to know that I can relate to the demon possessed/oppressed. When I fell away from the Lord.....I fell far away. I remember kneeling one night, wanting to commit suicide, in front of the refrigerator (the side of it- I don't really know what I was doing), as if worshiping, except I was begging for mercy. Mercy from my oppressors, my tormentors. I had not returned to God, yet. I was wrapped up in drugs, and image and hardness, and bitterness, and at night these tormentors all surrounded me. They tore at my soul. They knew I wasn't theirs, but I was captive. Some would say I wasn't saved. I'm not really going to argue that. I know I was.
When I did want to return, I knew where to go, back to the One I had left. The true God, my Lord, Jesus. There I knelt with my Christian neighbors, on the floor of my room, under my idols, under my tattered image, under my vain aspirations. I didn't know, that unlike those who are released for the first time and start to grow, my return to the Lord would be a little tougher, a little harder, take a little longer. I had lessons to learn.
Demon oppression? yep. Had one "visit" our room in college (visited the Pastor over that one). I had doubt, fear, I was not sure I could be saved. After all I had gone SO far away. What kind of person experiences these dark things (more than once) in their Christian walk with the Lord? I thought that was just for the ungodly. Constantly..."I must be too bad to be loved, to be forgiven."
I was so withdrawn from the common things that everyone else seemed to swim in. I had seen the end. I had tasted death. I realized just how short and futile this life was....in a real way. The reality of all these things tormented me and made friendships awkward. I was disconnected, isolated again, alone again, unloved. One day I was barely able to take one step in front of the other....I cried out for help, to the stone hard wind. I hadn't heard anything from God, I wasn't even sure I was looking in the right places. All I heard was my racing heartbeat and my scattered thoughts that carried reproach every time I cornered them.
I was more desperate to hear of hope than I had ever been. Then I heard it from someone's lips. The words reached me, far away in my deserted place. Through the thick, damp clouds of confusion, over the unstable tides, like Jesus' confident words to the wind. The words "Our Pastor said he really has a burden for you." Those words floated through the air and set themselves lightly on my heart. Evidence that God was for me and moving for me, I realized that what my longing spirit heard was, "Sara, Jesus really does love you."