It had been a terrible, no good, very bad day.
Circumstances stacked on top of each other, and my heart weighed like a ton of bricks in my chest. If I were honest, it was shaping up to be a very horrendous couple of months. My inner realm was stormy, a tornado of emotion wreaking havoc on my soul. I was tired, hurt, confused, and just wanted to run away.
The winds and rain within were indecipherable; I had no clue why “all of a sudden” I was feeling so vulnerable, so overwhelmed. It was driving home from a coffee shop where I had fled to escape life, that the Lord kindly parted the clouds of confusion in my mind. Then, the realization of betrayal, rejection, and pain came crashing down.
Some people will paint a picture of the hurt coming in like waves; powerful enough to knock you down, but will then ease back, only to come in again with the same force until it finally subsides. This time, it felt like I was deep under the surface of it, the weight of the water crushing my lungs and making it difficult to breathe.
I wish I could say the tears waited to come until I got in my door, but they were flowing down my face on their own. With my woe clearly staining my face, I had to walk past tourists on the street to safely close myself into my home. Once I was inside, safe away from the world, I had to make a decision: stuff it, or let it out.
For most of my life, I would have a negative emotion, look at it bewildered, and shove it into a dusty pocket of my heart, never to be pulled out again. I’d smooth back my hair, plaster a fake smile onto my face, and continue functioning. As I have moved forward in my relationship with God and into inner healing, I have learned that this way of living is not how He intended me to exist.
No one was home. I did not turn on a light. Grabbing a roll of toilet paper, I locked my bedroom door, slipped underneath my covers, put Pieces by Steffany Gretzinger on repeat, and unleashed all of my agony into my pillow. Months and months of pain, confusion, and rejection came spilling onto my sheets, along with questions I had for God. Why, God? What was wrong with me? What did I do? Why do I feel so alone?
In that moment, I felt the words from the song press into my bleeding, smashed heart. Your love’s not broken, it’s not insecure. Your love’s not selfish, Your love is pure.
With my eyes shut tightly, I pressed into Love and let all my hatred, all my anger, all my pain out. I grabbed fiercely onto Him and let my body shake with grief. If only fourteen year old Candace could see herself at twenty, she would be shocked and embarrassed of the visible weakness in the moment.
Here, in this weakness, I felt Jesus’s strong arms envelope me. I felt His grief alongside mine, and His comfort in the midst of my heartbreak. My heart had held onto all of these emotions for such a long time, and for two hours, I allowed my sorrow to wash through every nook and every cranny. When I resurfaced, I can tell you that my body felt physically different. I felt lighter, cleaner than I did before.
Steffany’s voice was still ringing in the quiet of my room. You don’t give Your heart in pieces. You don’t hide Yourself to tease us.
When I needed Him, when my heart felt like it was shattering inside, He was there. He did not hide, and He did not give me a piece to taste. He was there, at my side, holding me. For so long, I would lock away the pain I had so I wouldn’t have to look at it, wouldn’t have to deal. I didn’t want anyone to see my shame. But Jesus, He didn’t shy away from the gravity of my pain. It was pretty heavy, but He did not look at me like a basket-case. When I said “Jesus, come and be with me in this mess”, He did not hesitate. He let me sob out my sorrow, and was there the entire time.
This was the first step into my healing from this rejection that resembled so many others. The rejection that would make me question my worth, my value. For years, my inner self had been a mess, shattered pieces of my heart stuffed hazardously into drawers and swept under rugs, all to give the appearance of order. Instead of this time being like the ones before, I invited Him in. I opened the door and had Him come in, and I didn’t try to hide my pain like a child who “cleans” by shoving everything under the bed. No, I left everything out for Him to see, looked Him in the eyes and said “I need you. I can’t do this alone.”
If the voice of the Lord created the heavens and the earth, surely He can recreate your inner world. -Jonathan David Helser
When you let Jesus into your pain, He loves you into wholeness. He is the Healer, the Almighty, and He’s not scared. He doesn’t look at you and wonder what to do. No, He knows exactly how to kiss your wounds, dress them, and walk with you on your way to healing.
I’m sure I’ve got much to learn, but one of the lessons I am most grateful for in 2016 was how to let Him in and let Him work in me.
Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of – throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself. -C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity.
God has knocked down walls and added on rooms, and He continues to build something beautiful in me. He has taken my broken pieces, and is making me whole. I’m positive, that if you let Him, He’ll do the same for you.