Often times in my right mind, I want to tell myself that certainty in God seems impossible. In fact, following Christ is probably the least logical thing I ever chose to do. However, my story isn’t about my right mind. It’s about the voice that made me certain that I was not my own. Allow me to tell you about the first time I heard that voice.
I was in a verbally (and twice physically) abusive relationship during my senior year of high school. It is easy to hear stories of people in these situations and think, “Who puts up with that?” but this was someone with whom I had entrusted much my innocence; someone who I had in the beginning seen as a best friend. Because I had invested so much, I kept waiting for the storm to pass, but it only got worse. He would tell me I was stupid or fat or worthless, and I soon believed it. I would study harder, eat less, and try to place my worth in my accomplishments. Without God, I had harbored so much misplaced hope.
I mention this, because the horrible situation he put me in is what led me to Christ.
He told me to go die.
It came down to those words: I didn’t deserve life. Those words just made sense. I know he said it in a fit of rage, but I felt so helpless and small at that point. I had not directly let on to friends or family how bad things were, although they had noticed my decrease in joy, as well apparent anorexia. When they expressed concern, I would just smile and say I was stressed about leaving for college. All of that denial led me to believe there was truth in those words; I should die. Just to flirt with the idea, I wrote a farewell letter, left it on my pillow, and went for a drive. I wanted to drive off of Six Span Bridge into the mighty St. Joseph River.
I realize how crazy that sounds.
But when you are at your wit’s end, it’s not difficult to rationalize the outrageous. So here I was, hysterically crying, considering ending my own life. Yet as I turned on to the bridge, I experienced the contrast between my life’s darkest moment and its brightest instance…I heard a voice so clearly that it gave me chills. It wasn’t booming, and there weren’t angels or doves; it was firm and gentle as it said, “Do you know how loved you are?” With those words-those spinning, wonderful, hopeful words- I pulled over and wept. Without fail, I recognized whose voice that was; I recognized whose I was. That small, spoken declaration of love for me proved enough, and I somehow knew in an instant that it was Christ. I drove over the bridge; I went home; and for the first time since I was a child, I prayed. I said something along the lines of, “Hey God, thanks for my life, sorry it’s been awhile, and show me what it means to be loved by you.”
That was five and a half years ago. I had one terribly dark moment. The very next moment, I was entrusted with the gift of light. And with that light, then, comes the choice to walk into it. It reminds me of a great passage from Ezekiel 37:4-6:
“Then he said to me, ‘Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’”
Coming into the light for the first time was like waking up when I never knew I’d been sleeping. Having life breathed into me by God was like witnessing the sun greet a dark valley; it was like flesh covering my own dry bones. I could suddenly feel my heart steady and my breath grow calm. On that night, by the grace of Christ himself, I was finally awakened to the fact He is real, and furthermore, that I am loved.
The beginning of my relationship with Christ is not a pretty one. Yet I do not share this story to show you who I am, but rather in hopes that the complete grace, mercy, and redemption of Jesus Christ jumps off of these words and into your own heart…words that are not my own, but words that are His:
“Do you know how loved you are?”
Instagram: @drews_barrymore // Twitter: @erinlizdrews
Hi I’m Erin! I graduated from Hope College with a B.A. in Art History with minors in Communications and Studio Art. I live in Holland, MI, and am currently involved at two different art organizations, and a member at my church. My time is spent working, creating, reading, writing, yoga-ing, and spending time in with community with others. I’m a lover of nature, and all things chocolate. Plain and simple, I love Jesus and I love words. In this stage of post-collegiate life, I often feel unsure of myself, or where to go next. Yet with all of the uncertainty, I become increasingly more assured of my identity in Christ and His never-ending faithfulness. My prayer for being involved with #writewithdelight is that The Lord be revealed in anything I write. Furthermore, I pray that the words with which He inspires me might reach the hearts for which they are intended. Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to walk with you in this way!