This morning I woke up with a feeling so unfamiliar to me that I was shocked that I was able to recognize what it was.
Yes, this morning I woke up with a heavy feeling of guilt laying on my chest - and if I am being honest I can't remember the last time I felt guilty. 1 year? 2 years? Perhaps its even been 3? More? Now the absence of this emotion is not due to the fact that I have been living a sinless life - because I haven't been. If am being honest, I have been sinning left and right every single day. Yet I did not feel guilt. The reason for this is not because I trusted God so much that I knew God would forgive me endlessly right until the time I takes me home. Not at all.
The truth is, I have been through emotional trauma. Now, I almost feel guilty (except that I don't) typing this because my eyes have opened to the horrors of the world - and I know about the horrors that orphans go through - the struggles they face in their lives. None the less the trauma I have experienced is there - and its real as ever.
Just over three years I was diagnosed with a condition called Chiari I Malformation - and I just couldn't comprehend why God would allow me to have it. I was SO ANGRY. No, I was furious. I spent a lot of time in tears. In my mind I had been so open to God, been so willing to give my entire body and soul to Him that I was convinced he would protect me from everything. I couldn't understand why He would let this happen to me - as I was so dedicated and in love with Him.
Over the next few months I spent a lot of time arguing with God - yelling, screaming, pleading - trying to find some semblance of understanding. I remember chapel one week at school, we were having communion. We did communion differently that day - the person leading communion asked us to go up with a friend, and serve communion to each other. I sat on the floor, my knees gathered to my body which my face buried in my arms as I tried not to let the tears fall. One of the other students, Sienna, came over to me and asked me to go do communion with her. I shook me head - trying to get her to go away. Finally I struggled to say through the tears that I didn't want to. She nodded and let me be. As we left chapel that day I ran after her and just completely broke down. I was crying so hard that couldn't talk when she asked me what was wrong. I tried to tell her - but I'm not sure she understood. We stood in the middle of the street, as she held onto my while I cried. We never talked about it again - I'm sure she would have if I had approached her but I didn't.
That winter was probably the most difficult I have ever experienced. Despite being at school for a couple months I was still struggling to make friends - which has always been a struggle in my life. My best friend had completely abandoned me (also ignored) - and every time I went out of my room I got the pleasure of seeing him with my room mate. He kind of rubbed it into my face. I sunk deep into depression and couldn't find a way out of it. One of the biggest things I needed was a friend - but I felt I had none. Suicidal thoughts began to fly, so I began walking up and down the one and only street in town, in fear that if I didn't I would hurt myself. I was also hopeful that someone would walk by and invite my to do something with them. Many people walked by - but no one invited. In one of my classes we did a soul project - I still wonder what my classmates thought of my project. It was full of anger, depression and raw pain - with a mild hint of hope. I surprised myself when I broke down in tears as I explained that all I wanted was for Jesus to be my best friend again.
Things got a little worse before they got better the second semester - two of my three room mates moved out (except the one who was now in the beginnings of a relationship with my "best friend" - so the only human interaction I got was seeing them giggle with each other) so I was alone all the time. Into February things got a bit better though - my friend Cassia moved in. To this day she has no idea how much her presence helped me that year. I tried to tell her by doing little things for her like dishes, or leaving notes of appreciation. I had received a guitar for Christmas and Cassia helped to teach me to play it - despite not being very good I began writing song after song after song. It certainly helped me get through a lot.
I also remember another chapel second chapel distinctly. I had decided before had that I was going to ask people to pray for me - because I was finding myself unable to pray at this time. This particular day we were split into small groups - and the moment it was announced that we were going to be split into groups I knew that I would be put with one Morris Ertman. Morris, is the big head honcho at the theatre that runs the school I was attending. He's the artistic director, and also the director of many of the plays. I contemplated backing out of what I had decided I was going to say - but I didn't. And Im glad. I asked the people in my group to pray for me because I was experiencing a lot of anger towards God, and I couldn't stop arguing with Him. Morris turned to me and said in his very Morris like wisdom "That's a good thing - you are still communicating with God. It's much better to yell and scream at Him than stop talking to Him completely." Then he told me I should go and watch the movie the apostle. I haven't done that yet. But his words were such an encouragement - I had never thought of it like that. Yes, it was good that I was still talking to God. Very good.
Despite this - nothing really got better regarding our relationship. That spring my heart was burdened for children forced into the sex trade, which in turn led me to discover the horrors that children with disabilities go through in countries like Ukraine, Russia and other countries in Eastern Europe. I came across one little boy (who has just recently been adopted, which I should have been estratic about but I've become so numb at this point that I didn't care all that much - I have posted about him before) who had Chiari I Malformation. JUST. LIKE. ME. Once again I was angry. I didn't like the fact that any children would be send to a mental institution, but it didn't pang my heart like this boy did. I COULD NOT believe that a child would be sent away for having Chiari I Malformation. It enraged me. Chiari I Malformation is in no way a fun condition - but it should not render a child drugged and wasted away in a mental institution.
That Summer I headed into rehearsals for the Canadian Badlands Passion Play (an annual outdoor theatre production which portrays the story of Christ.) and I was hopeful that there I would mend my relationship with God. I had done the play for the four years prior, and each any every year I experienced God in amazing ways. In some ways I did and I didn't that year. I didn't begin to trust Him again, nor did I begin to commit myself to Him again. Yes, I saw God that summer there is no doubt about that. I remember lying in the field with my friend Carrissa (Just a quick note - I want to let you all know that the cast of the play all have a private little campsite together, buried in mountains of green trees. It's beautiful.The field is part of this campsite) as we talked about God - I don't remember exactly what we talked about but I know one thing that came up was how we talked to God. I told her I talked out loud, and sometimes looked for his messages in the stars and the skies - God has spoken to me many times through images in the clouds and stars. He has told me things I needed to know. Written out the word "love" in puffy white clouds, shown an arrow in the direction I need to go. Moved the clouds when I asked Him to so that I could see the stars. Yes I did ask Him to do that - and he gladly obliged. That night as Carissa and I were laying in the field we noticed a face in the clouds. It was not a happy face - I could feel evil coming from it - someone was obviously trying to scare us. I looked away to the other side of the sky, only to be caught breathless.
"Look," I said pointing up (I'm pretty sure she was still looking at the face.) "There's a hand up there. See, God's got his hand on us."
Another experience I had of God that year was a very interesting one. People in this group at the Passion Play are amazing - they love God in amazing spectacular ways. It is a place where we are open about all things God. Prophecy, seeing spirits, speaking in tongues, healing. Anyways, so one Sunday morning after our church service our resident healers offered to pray over those who felt they needed healing - or just prayer. Hesitantly I stepped up and told them. I wanted God to take it away so badly - but only if it was His will (perhaps I added that part in so that if he didn't I would just have an excuse as to why it was still there.). As people gathered around me, I felt their prayers and the power of God overcome me. I don't know how long we stood there but I wish I had never left - I felt so safe and secure there. To this day I swear that as they prayed for me, the Lord God reached down and stroked the top of my head gently, oh so lovingly. My soul gasped at the feel of him so close by. To this day I can tell you exactly where he touched. We all left that day feeling that God had granted this healing....
To Be Continued....