Wednesday, August 26, 2015

When You Look Back On the Future

When she recounted the moments of her past year, the past three-hundred-and-sixty-five days, she saw answers to questions hidden in plain view. Her eyes saw them now, but they had been invisible back when she was living at that exact moment. She couldn't see it then, but now it was as clear as the cerulean sky above her head. 
What caused her former self to be shrouded from understanding the things she now knew? When does a soul ripen, transforming from a naive acorn into a discerning oak? 
She still didn't know the answer to that one. The wisdom she craved and the spirit of understanding which she desired so immensely were always things of mystery. Far more valuable than any physical object, and rightly so. 
But now it all made sense. 
She was now living in the future - the future her former self didn't yet know. A year ago, she was a different soul. A little less seasoned. A little less knowledged. A little less wise.
A soul who allowed herself to be deceived into thinking she knew what love was.
He hadn't been her first choice, no. But she was willing to give him a chance just in case God had plans for them. She liked him, and for a time she even thought that she was in love.
Alas, no. That wasn't true love.
It wasn't meant to be.
When God revealed this to her, she changed. She realized the truth.
When she learned a secret she hoped she'd never have to know, everything came apart. The afternoon she learned something far more saddening than she ever wanted to imagine, was the afternoon that changed her life forever.
But it was the hardest month of her life.
She dissolved into an ocean of solitude and misery, a swath of confusion and protest. She tried not to let anger and bitterness take root in her soul. Only God could count the number of tears she wept in confusion and pain.
But when her world was turned upside down, she felt the embrace of Christ himself.
In that time of perceived tribulation, she lost a bit of herself and gained something even more grand.
She gained experience. A jewel of wisdom. She experienced a tiny taste of the fires of God's refining.
And she learned to cherish those flames.


It's a beautiful thing to look back on the past, and see how the Lord's mercies work together like pieces in a giant, universal puzzle. To think that, I, just a small fragment of that grand puzzle could even be allowed a place in the picture at all is gloriously humbling!
When I look back on what was, at one time, the future to my past self, I see things that weren't possible to understand then. It's as if I were driving down a pitch-black highway at night, with only my dim-lights on so that I can merely see about forty feet ahead in the darkness.

Of course, on one hand, isn't that what faith is? Walking by TRUST, HOPE, and BELIEF, not by sight. You have NO idea what's yet to come but you know it will all make sense at some point!

Even thinking about what I considered tribulation, earlier this year, is interesting. The truth is? I have no clue what a real trial or tribulation is like. I may have experienced pain, and my soul may feel awful raw and cut-on. But that doesn't mean I've truly suffered. By Jove, gracious, no! Have I been persecuted for my following Jesus? Have I been tortured or my family arrested because of our faiths? No! Am I still alive, thriving and breathing? Yes!

I'm going to be totally honest with y'all. This isn't pretty, but it has to be said.
There were months when I wanted to die.
You might find that hard to believe, coming from a girl with high self-esteem and an incredible amount of drive in life.
*sigh* But it's true. As many days as I've had where my emotions soared and I felt I was truly amazingggg (see, I definitely have tendency to struggle with pride!), I've had just as many where I cursed myself as being a horrible excuse of human, never good enough and always failing and disappointing the ones I loved dearest. It crushed me more than any physical burden could.
When the voices screaming in my head wouldn't be silent and I wanted to end it so I wouldn't hear them, or have to be stuck with my shell of a monstrosity. I hated myself so, in the times when I hit extreme emotional lows that sunk to levels of depression.
I was a mess, I was worried for other people's safety when I was out in public. I never knew when my next meltdown would be. I had a few panic attacks out of nowhere. I couldn't focus, and I was crying every day for no reason other than nothing made sense and I was so sick of myself.
I heard voices saying I was an alien, a monster, and that nobody could understand my condition of being. I was an anomaly. A girl whose emotions were off the charts. Bipolar. Out of control.
The voices wouldn't shut up. I couldn't find peace in my cranium no matter how I attempted to seek it. I prayed in desperation for rest from the chaos enveloping my mind. It just wouldn't come.

I want to say that some of those days were like hell on earth for me. Obviously that is a major exaggeration, but if you've ever experienced any form of depression or manic-depressive symptoms you'll understand. It's truly grotesque, what your mind does when subjected to this kind of crippling emotional...whatever you call it. Actually I reckon the scientific answer is that it's merely an chemical imbalance in the brain. Still, it is crippling.

I don't really know what happened, but for the past several months I have experienced something that has been much prayed for, and almost too good to be true, considering the mental madness of earlier in the year.
Mental clarity, and internal peace. 
NO VOICES. No screaming voices. No slanderous whispers in my ears. No endless tears and meltdowns every single day of the week.
Tears are welling up in my eyes as I say this. (what can I say, I'm still very emotional and this subject is not one I bring up much.)
I've never felt so incredibly FREE. I'm like a wild horse running free on the prairie, with nothing between me and the horizon. The bars of my mental prison vanished. I'm a bird released from its cage.
There are no chains on me, not any more.
I am free.
The only answer I have for this is one word. One name.
People say you can't recover from mental illness. People say that you can't wipe that kind of thing from your DNA.
My answer is, thank God that the Supernatural Almighty doesn't listen to the scorn and disbelief of mortal humanity!
I don't know if I still have the potential for those bipolar-syndromes to return - maybe it will always be there. But maybe not. Maybe it won't.
 I will say this. My God is powerful, and so far, He's not failed me yet.
He answers prayers, in ways I don't expect or envision.
So if He takes this completely, I won't be surprised.
I will just be immensely grateful.

Anyway, so getting back to what I was saying earlier, I have experienced pain and there were times I thought I wouldn't be able to handle it any longer.
But all in all? Have I suffered? Have I truly suffered tribulation?
No amount of bipolar-symptom trauma or emotional tornadoes could change that.
And even if I lost everything I have, I would still not know true suffering.
No, real suffering isn't anything I'll ever know.
Jesus suffered when He took my punishment on the cross. When He laid down His life to be brutally murdered in one of the most painful deaths a human could experience.
That was true suffering.
So yeah...can I complain about anything I've gone through?

When I look back on the past, I know that it was a beautiful one. Why? Because even scars and broken pieces are beautiful, when they are redeemed and refined by Christ.