i am currently in a women's group at church, entitled, "believing God". this group has been a Godsend for me, literally. let me lay down some background...
this past fall, i had to say goodbye to my best friend of almost 13 years; my dog jake. what a sad, terribly depressing time for me. i was then enrolled in a different women's group, "the power of a praying wife". great class, great teacher; i met a lot of great women in that group. well, this all occurred while attending this class. i ended up missing several weeks, not only because of losing jake, but also because of the weather and partly due to kylee and her behavior. we put jake down on october 26th...hardest decision of my life, and even now i am typing amidst tears...*i miss you my friend*
during this time at church we were also reading through "the story" which basically is the Bible, condensed and put into story form. we were going through it as a whole, all the congregation. because i missed several sundays, i fell behind in this and my group studies. well, let me tell you. satan sure had a stronghold on me then. i fell into a massive depression where i didn't leave my couch for two weeks. losing jake had been devastating and soul crushing. with him gone, there was a huge, empty space in my home. and in my heart. there still is. upon going to bed at night i would bury my face into a stuffed bear i had, because right before i left the vet's office, i grabbed jake's face, buried my face in his, and said, "promise me, when i get to heaven, that you won't bite me for leaving you and say hello to Jesus for me." i left. i couldn't even watch or hold my dog as he left this life. what kind of pet owner was i? even now i still feel the guilt.
slowly, i was getting better. i remember the first night, i had made it 24 hours after losing him. i called a friend because i really needed to talk to someone as my husband was at work...she couldn't talk due to family time. i understood, but i needed her and she abandoned me. that's how i felt. well, that took it's toll on me as well. i withdrew from the church even more. what's worse is she felt bad too, later telling me that she could tell i was slipping away, and as my friend she should have done something. i got angry inside because she didn't but then i realized, it wasn't her fault. none of it was. i had to get stronger on my own because if i never did it myself, i would never make it out alive.
satan really hurt me...we had five major staff members that ended up leaving our church, the most recent being our senior pastor, pastor john. that was my straw that broke the camel's back. here i was, already feeling unloved, unwanted, invisible...and he just kept taking his shots at me, and i kept letting him.
one night i remember praying, "God, please put someone in my path that can help me get back on track. i need to be where i belong." after trying a different church and still missing more services at my own, i finally got to the point where i was alone. down and out. i made a trip to arrowhead, looking for something; anything. i thought maybe i'd find a joyce meyer book-nah, i have enough of them. same went for chip ingram, i needed something new that was going to help put me where i belonged: back at my church with my family. then, as i was getting ready to check out, it hit me. "i wonder..."
so i left the checkout and wandered back to the women's section again. aha! i found it! the same woman we just got finished studying in women's group had a different book that caught my eye. "the power of a praying woman." i immediately snatched up the last copy they had and raced to the front, completing my purchase. i was so excited to jump into it; i couldn't wait. i opened it in the car and started reading. it was shortly after that, when i made it home that i had purchased the study guide, not the book...oops! so i ran to barnes and noble and got it there, and started right into the study immediately upon returning home.
what an eye opener! that book gave me just exactly what i needed at that exact time! well, fast forward a few weeks, things are a lot better...i joined a new study at church, the one i mentioned in the beginning. i was at the tail end of the "praying woman" book, with just a few chapters left. as i was working on the chapter about delivering me from my past, "stronger" by mandisa came on. "the pain ain't gonna last forever, hold on and things will get better, believe me, this is gonna make you stronger."
Praise God, i bawled right then and there! never had a message been so profound to me! the next chapter, "using your gifts" was incredible! the chapter discussed taking your gifts God has blessed you with and spreading your light. at that moment, "take your candle, go light your world" came on. MORE tears! Glory!
i was texting erin through this whole saga, unbelieving my ears...i think i had her crying too!
finally, i come to the last chapter of the study..."you are a new creation in Christ". just then, on the radio, came "you've been remade". holy moly i got goosebumps at that moment! i just KNEW that Christ was speaking to me, slapping me upside the head saying, "duh girl! how many times do i need to show you?" i about fell out of my chair i was trembling so much! Praise God!
since then, we have been doing our new group study and it has been phenomenal to say the absolute least. God has shown Himself to me in so many ways this past year. i just need to take up my cross and follow Him....
it is time...