Have you ever come to a place where you don’t know the road you took to get there?
Where you don’t actually know where you are?
4 Months Ago
December had come and gone. January was the fresh beginning of a new year ripe with the promise of change…good change. Positivity was unrelenting…It seemed that the Spring semester of my Junior year of college would actually turn out ok. It didn’t take long for that hope to take a backseat to reality. This loss of hope wasn’t a quick downward spiral; it was slow…very much present but hidden just enough to do its damage with very little attention drawn its way. Specifics cannot be spoken of but suffice it to say that depression and anxiety once again found their way to the front line of my battlefield.
The months were dragging quickly by but it seems that my heart and mind were caught in a whirlwind of loss, shock, and bitterness. Amidst my struggle with recurring depression I was working two jobs seven days a week, taking seventeen credit hours at school, and trying to minister to the students of my church. How I even managed to make it through the day was beyond me but the Lord strengthened this sinful heart on a daily basis. I knew that I couldn’t do this for much longer but I made a promise that I would do what it takes to make this work…this thing called a life.
With each passing day my body grew even more weary, my heart grew even more sad, and my walk with the Lord became an eventual sprint…in the wrong direction. Yeah, here I was yet again running from the very thing that was sustaining me. At the time I was far too blind and for all intents and purposes (in my mind) I was running after God.
Nothing could have been farther from the truth
Coming into the month of April I simply deemed my sadness and unmet expectations to be the way of life. I would just have to learn how to limp without a crutch. “Suck it up, Malin” The limp eventually turned into a proverbial crawl as my stubborn sin (driven by the madness of hatred within me) continued to rule my heart. Sure, I asked for forgiveness. Sure, I felt horrible. In fact, I still do…Yet somehow none of this made any difference. I kept slipping…over…over….and over again.
Daddy always said this would be a fight but I underestimated him…
My dad told me four years ago during one of his monthly (but much needed) gut check reminders of “how difficult ministry can be” talks that, “The easiest place for you to lose your relationship with God is in Bible college.”
“Ha…Yeah..Ok, Dad. Whatever you say.”
I wish I would have listened
Here I am four years later, a junior in Bible college, fueled by hatred, and at my breaking point. I swear I haven’t had tears flood my eyes as much as I have today in years. This past week has been the ultimate culmination of four years worth of pain. I feel like I’m the prodigal son in the sense that Im wallowing in the pig slop when I could have a good life with my Father.
But my, oh my, how good it feels to burn.
It is only by the pure Grace of God that He has shown me just how far I’ve run this time. I had the chance to actually attend church this morning and hear a sermon…It just so happened to be the one I needed.
“Jonah knew all of the answers, he had a grasp on his theology, and he knew who to identify with yet it still made no difference to his heart. It goes to show that your theology can be spot on but that doesn’t mean you’ll make godly decisions. But praise God that “in our sin we may run far, but God’s grace reaches further still.”
God opened this dead heart of mine to see the truth of how disgusting I was in that I had all the right answers, I knew who God was, but here I was living in my filth. I was running from God…I was pulling a Jonah. God, in His abundant grace and mercy has called me out of the muck. He has lifted this dead heart of mine and breathed new life through its veins. Forgiveness has never felt so free and my heart has never been so alive.
I spent the day with people I love, enjoyed the afternoon through music, and traversed the evening by being blessed to lead a group of students in worship. I cannot tell you how spiritually refreshed and renewed I was listening to those students lift God’s name high.
Change isn’t coming because it’s already here. I’ve stepped down from one of my jobs in an effort to have a time of revitalization, restoration, and healing. I’m becoming more active in actually studying the Word of God without desiring a good grade based on my “knowledge” of the subject. I’ve begun to experience God in an entirely new light that has erased all hatred, unforgiveness, and replaced it with intense emotion for what Christ has done. “Oh, praise the one who paid my debt and raised this life up from the dead.”
“in our sin we may run far, but God’s grace reaches further still.”