Have you ever stared across the room and wondered why you couldn’t be more like “those people”? Sometimes we get inside our own head and stir up emotions that we cannot seem to shake. I say this with raw honesty. Just over 11 years ago, I was at the lowest, darkest point in my life. I still remember it like it was yesterday.
I can remember feeling like it was impossible to be ‘normal’. There was a time in my life when I was so broken, so lost, so empty…all I could do was breathe from second to second. I was so filled with shame, remorse, sadness, and emptiness, that I wanted it all to go away. My mind would not shut off. I contemplated ending my life. I used alcohol to numb the deep emotional brokenness. I turned away from God, my family, from everyone and everything. I reclused into a shell and buried every emotion so deeply within, that even I could not make sense of it all. The enemy had control.
Then, I made a decision one day. I made a choice. I bowed my head and made a raw, honest plea. I simply said out loud, “Jesus, help me.”
I had tried saying this before. I had tried reading my Bible. I had tried looking at the self-help books people had given me. I had tried so many things. None of those had helped me break past the barrier the enemy had over me. There was something different this time. I meant it. I had nowhere else to turn. Alcohol had been my controller, and depression had been driving my mind. When I spoke the words out loud, “Jesus, help me.” I gave power to the situation. I allowed Jesus to enter in. I cannot tell you that there was a monumental life-changing occurrence at that moment. But I can tell you that things began to change.
It took work on my end. Just because I cried out to Jesus, didn’t mean I sat complacent waiting on the magic fairy dust to do the work for me. No. It meant I was able to hear and feel the nudgings of Jesus. I was able to pick up my Bible and allow the words to be read with meaning. I was able to put one foot in front of the other and step past fear. It was a long process of recovery. I faced the monster of alcohol and began a lifetime recovery program. I was able to find counseling, which in turn guided me into the proper mental health treatment for PTSD, from past rape and abuse.
The more I became honest, the more I healed. The more I leaned into Jesus, the more peace I experienced. I surrendered my entire life, breath, and soul to God.
Life will always have difficult times. It is simply part of the human existence. These difficulties can be faced and worked through when we allow God to guide our heart. Christmas Eve of 2013 I faced the most difficult pain possible. At 23 years old, my oldest daughter went to Heaven. There are no words to describe child loss. It is a daily journey. However, I am able to face this reality with Jesus by my side. My faith has only grown stronger, and I have a determination to turn what the enemy meant for destruction, into a purpose for God’s glory.
Today, my perspective and purpose are clear. I wake up daily and pray that my testimony, life experiences, and wisdom can be used to help others. I look at “those people” and see their needs. I see the pain, the struggle, the brokenness in so many people. I see this and I desire with all that I am…to help people see the hope. God is hope. God is love. Jesus is our Savior, who gives us the opportunity and complete forgiveness with new life. You are not alone, and the non-profit, Light of Hope, that God allowed me to form from these life experiences, is here to help you. www.lightofhopeinc.org
I pray that anyone who looks out into the world and wishes they were more like “those people”, would reach out to Jesus. Simply ask for Jesus to help you, and mean it. Then, allow the people who want to help you…help you. Stop pushing people away, and allow God to use those people to walk you through the difficulty. Find a support system, and step past the fear of the unknown. God is with us in all that we do. We must allow God to show us the way. We must take the first step, and in doing so…you will find a peace that surpasses all understanding. Allow yourself to experience the gift of change, of hope, and of new life.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your path. PROVERBS 3:5-6
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. PHILIPPIANS 4:6-7
God is with us.
© Layla Freeman 2020
Author of HOPE IN THE STRUGGLE and Layla’s Light
All Rights Reserved
P.O. Box 669 Claremore, OK 74018
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Layla’s Devotional Book available for purchase at the following:
Light of Hope
Main Offices: 403 West 1st Street Claremore, OK 74017 / Food Pantry: 400 N. J. M. Davis Blvd. Claremore, OK 74017
918-373-4560 / www.lightofhopeinc.org