Tagged: healing

When Your Man Isn’t Healing You

Image by marguerite petite via Flickr (https://flic.kr/p/8JJZxu)

Image by marguerite petite via Flickr (https://flic.kr/p/8JJZxu)

It’s a typical romance: the girl was betrayed in her past, deeply wounded at the hands of another man. She wonders if she’ll ever be able to believe in love after having her heart broken in such a devastating way.

Then she meets a man who’s different from all the other ones. He’s willing to pick her up, restore her heart, and convince her of the reality of true love. Through his faithful love and kind words, she learns to trust again.

And they live happily ever after.

Oh, how I wish this was the way it really worked.

It’d be so lovely to be able to say, “Yes, Grant has healed me. I was betrayed and deeply wounded. I lost all trust in men. I lost all trust in love. But he came into my life and showed me that love is good and still real. He patched up my broken heart and all that was wounded is now as good as new.”

But that’d be a boldfaced lie. Because Grant doesn’t have the ability to heal me. No man does. The lies I believed before falling in love with Grant I still am having to fight today. The wounds I received before him are still not fully healed.

And he’s tried. He really has. He puts forth such gallant efforts, consistently pursuing my trust. Sometimes it even feels like progress is being made. But because he lets me down and makes mistakes at times, like every human on this planet, I end up back at square one.

Fearful. Untrusting. Deeply hurt. Empty and broken.

Recently I’ve had to be hit in the face with the fact that Grant can’t heal me. I’m having to learn that I’ve been doing things all wrong. The things I believed deep down about love and the purpose of relationships have been wrong. They must be wrong. Otherwise, what is God’s offer of healing good for? Why have a heavenly Savior you can’t necessarily see and feel when you can have an earthly savior who seems to do it all and more?

There can be no such thing as an earthly savior.

I trick myself into thinking that all I’m doing by looking to Grant for the things I need is “learning to love again,” but the truth is, I’m trying to make someone make me whole. I’m trying to get somebody just as weak and broken as I am to save me from my weakness and brokenness.

I can’t deny that Grant was my “rebound.” He knows it full well. I had only been out of a relationship for two months when I began dating him, and it’s no surprise I brought a ton of baggage with me. I didn’t give myself the time to properly heal. I didn’t bring my wounds to God and let him take care of me.

Seeking Grant during this time of hurt and heartbreak was a mistake — a mistake I don’t regret because of God’s powerful grace and ability to bring good out of all things, but a mistake nonetheless.

Does that mean my relationship with Grant is wrong and deserving to be cut off? No, it doesn’t. It mostly means we have a whole boatload of problems we both have to deal with — problems that I’ve wasted so much time bringing to his feet instead of Jesus’.

Here’s where the freeing truth comes in (because this does sound quite like a downer, doesn’t it?).

I can’t find healing from Grant, but Grant can help me find healing in God.

He can encourage me to seek the healing I need through his ability to point me to the Cross. He can fight for me with prayer when I’m feeling weak. He can hold me with his strong arms when I feel like collapsing.

Yes, he can do all these things and more, but he cannot heal me.

And if you’re a woman and all of this sounds to you like the most obvious thing in the world because you’ve been told in Christian nonfiction books and countless sermons that men can’t heal you or fulfill you, then good for you. Maybe you really do have it all figured out.

But maybe not.

I thought I had it all figured out, too. If someone had asked me, “Do you think Grant can heal you or fix you or fulfill you?”, I would’ve said with no hesitation, “No way.” I’ve read and heard the truth about man’s inability to make a woman whole many times. Heck, I’ve read Captivating from cover to cover twice in a row.

But there’s a difference between knowing it and accepting it.

No matter how much I knew this hunt for healing from any other source but God would be pointless, I didn’t want to believe it. I still thought there was hope. Doesn’t it sound so romantic to be able to look into the eyes of the man you love and be able to say, “I believe in love again because of you”?

A year later, I finally am accepting that it really doesn’t work that way. After a year of trying to get my act together and pushing Grant more than he ever deserved, I’ve realized that Grant hasn’t fixed a single thing about me. There’s still a whole ton of brokenness. If anything, I’ve been broken even more.

Please don’t mistake what I’m saying. Grant is an amazing partner who loves me very much. It’s my skewed idea of what a man’s love can and should do that has led to much disappointment, hurt, and anger in our relationship. It’s because of the lies I haven’t been consistently running to God with that I sometimes believe Grant is a poor lover or untrustworthy partner. What else is this broken, silly girl supposed to think when she hasn’t fully grasped the truth she needs?

The truth is I have been allowing myself to look to Grant for things that he has no ability to give. And I’m sorry for the hurt I’ve caused in his life because of it.

I’m sharing all of this because I think I’ve finally begun accepting what I so long denied: No one can be responsible for my healing except for God. He’s the only one who can complete the work. He’s the only one who can restore my broken heart.

And maybe you need to be reminded of this truth today, too. Maybe this thing that once seemed so common sense is starting to feel more like a foreign concept to you. Whether you’ve noticed it or not, perhaps you’ve been clinging to a man in hopes of being healed in his arms. Maybe this is the first time you’re hearing from another woman that THIS DOESN’T WORK.

The truth kind of sucks sometimes, doesn’t it?

Yet there’s hope that we will finally learn our lesson and bring our wounds to God for the healing we so long for.

What does this look like in a realistic, applicable way? For me, it looks like not running to Grant for answers or comfort or support before I run to God. This is hard for me to do. It really is. I can’t even count the number of times I’ve woken up from a nightmare and instantly called Grant without realizing. It’s become instinct. But Grant can’t do much from the other line. Sometimes he tells me stories to get me to relax or he’ll pray for me or remain silent as I try to fall back to sleep, but this has become a habit that isn’t beneficial for either of us. I’m keeping him from his sleep and I’m not allowing myself to fight forces of evil on my own.

I’m a daughter of God who has the power to cast away nightmares and all manifestations of darkness, but I’m not choosing to wield that power.

This also looks like not putting such heavy expectations on Grant. I somehow have come to believe that the only way Grant can love me and pursue me is if he’s perfect. This is the saddest, most debilitating belief I can have in our relationship because it makes him feel so inadequate. He tries so hard, yet can’t compete with my idea of what romance and relationships should look like. He has wounds, too, you know. My nagging and complaining and arguing only make his wounds deeper. It’s not his job to cure me of my insecurities. And when I make it his job, I only add onto his.

I’m a daughter of God who has access to a perfect, loving Savior, but I take my expectations and demands to a man who can’t meet them.

I must surrender my desire to feel secure in a man’s arms. This sounds like a beautiful and lovely thing to desire, but it does more harm than good. Grant isn’t always going to be there when I need him. He has work and things to do and a life to live. Oh, how I loathe when he has to tend to other matters. I cry and throw fits at the thought of taking care of myself while he’s gone. And I know this sounds pathetic, but please understand that any pitiful actions I partake in stem from my crippling fears instilled in me from past betrayal and heartache. I’ve told everyone before and I’ll say it again: I’m messed up. I’m in the long process of being healed, but I’m still messed up.

Instead of searching for security with Grant, I should be searching for security with God. He’s the one who will uphold me when no one’s around. He’s the one who will comfort me when I am alone.

But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid (John 14:26-27).

Instead of waiting for Grant to heal me, I should be waiting for my true Healer to do his work. Jesus is the one who paid for my sins with his shed blood. He defeated death and darkness. Does this not include the lies that afflict me and the hurt that tries to hinder me?

The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them;
    he delivers them from all their troubles.
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
    and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

The righteous person may have many troubles,
    but the Lord delivers him from them all;
he protects all his bones,
    not one of them will be broken (Psalm 34:17-20).

When I accept these truths, I will finally be able to love Grant in the way I should have been loving him all along: patiently, kindly, without pride or selfishness or grudge-holding. And then Grant, too, will be able to love me in the way he should have been loving me all along: protecting, trusting, hoping, and persevering.

I’ve been hindering his ability to love me with my faulty expectations and demands. I’ve been hindering my own ability to receive his love and protection and comfort. I’ve been trying to fill my God-sized desires with a human-sized love. But how much freedom will be had between the two of us when I am able to receive healing from the superior source!

I’m a work in progress, I know that full well. Yet I am still a masterpiece (Ephesians 2:10) and a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17) and I know the wounds I have don’t have to be so powerful in my life anymore. Not as long as God’s in control (and I let him be).

Take heart, my dear lovelies, if you’re anything like me. God is working in your life. He desires healing for your heart. Bring your God-sized desires to God alone. You and I are meant to love and be loved here on this earth, but we can’t afford to forget the source of it all.

We are meant to keep our gaze fixed heavenward as we walk hand-in-hand with the companions God brings into our lives.

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The Dead Man’s Mother

Photo by ozgurcakir via Flickr (https://flic.kr/p/6nWHbx)

Photo by ozgurcakir via Flickr (https://flic.kr/p/6nWHbx)

Jesus went to a town called Nain, and his disciples and a large crowd went along with him. As he approached the town gate, a dead person was being carried out — the only son of his mother, and she was a widow. And a large crowd from the town was with her. When the Lord saw her, his heart went out to her and he said, “Don’t cry.” 

Then he went up and touched the bier they were carrying him on, and the bearers stood still. He said, “Young man, I say to you, get up!” The dead man sat up and began to talk and Jesus gave him back to his mother.

They were all filled with awe and praised God. “A great prophet has appeared among us,” they said. “God has come to help his people.” This news about Jesus spread throughout Judea and the surrounding country.

. . . . . .

I have been this dead man’s mother.

I have carried broken, dead dreams. I have cried alongside coffins containing my hopes and wishes and prayers. Sometimes my heart.

And Jesus has met me on my way to bury these things. He has stopped the funeral procession in progress. Moved with compassion, he has stepped out of the crowd, lifted my chin, and whispered words of relief.

Sometimes when he does this, I look first into his eyes and then back at the coffin and say, “but they’re still dead.” What I have been carrying with me is still unmoving, void of life. I continue on with the funeral procession, desperate to bury these things in the ground and bury myself in sorrow.

But he replies, “You don’t have to bury this at all.” And with one swift motion, he approaches the dead and reverses the damage. He breathes life into what I never thought I’d see breathing again.

And I am reunited with my beloved.

I am rejoiced, overcome with gratitude and awe.

. . . . . .

This is a beautiful story of a mother whose hope was revived as Jesus interrupted a funeral procession and brought her dead son back to life.

And this, too, is my story as Jesus revives my hope and brings my dead things back to life time and time again.

I have been this dead man’s mother, yet I have also often forgotten it.

I have witnessed Jesus interrupt my funeral processions and breathe life back into my hopes and dreams, and then I have thrown accusations at him. Why didn’t you come sooner?

I have seen him change my life. I was even once that dead man. Jesus saved me as crying, praying mothers walked alongside my coffin. And yet I live as though I’m still dead, unable to move or see a future ahead.

I have been given by God what no other could give: revived hopes and dreams, a healing heart that once felt irreparably broken. And then I have felt the call of death come again, rendering me forgetful of His healing hand.

I find myself crying out as if nothing has ever happened. As if I have never seen dead things rise. As if I never was this dead man and never was this dead man’s mother.

. . . . . .

The Spirit inside of me contains the power to move mountains, yet I have been staring at mountains without making a move.

I forget the power that raised this mother’s dead son lives in me. I forget the work that has been done and the promises that have been given.

Most of all, I forget that God is good.

I question his desire to move my mountains because I’ve been staring at nothing but these mountains all my life.

Of course they’re going to seem insurmountable when all I do is gape at their largeness and question God in His faithfulness.

How is He ever going to prove His faithfulness in my life if I’m so quick to forget my once-dead son?

In Scripture, we read of stories where God came to His children’s rescue and they then built an altar to declare and remember what God had done. So where are my altars? Why am I brushing past healing, victories, and resurrections in my life? No wonder I can’t remember. No wonder I’m quick to doubt and fear.

Where is my good Father? I’ve been demanding.

Where is He not? is the better question.

. . . . . .

My declaration over today: I once was dead and now I am alive. My broken heart is being tenderly mended. My hopes and dreams have been renewed.

What has taken place is worthy of remembrance.

So today, God, I remember you.

What Happened This Summer

Photo by Katie Shelton via Flickr (https://flic.kr/p/78y7jZ)

Photo by Katie Shelton via Flickr (https://flic.kr/p/78y7jZ)

As many of you may know, I spent this past summer in Clarkston, GA as an intern with an organization aimed at aiding refugees in the area and showing the love of Christ. As an intern returnee (I had spent a summer in Clarkston two years before), I was sure this summer was going to be grand. After all, I had been there before and came back with more joyful and God-filled memories than I knew what to do with.

But this summer was not fun for me and I want to explain why.

I should first start off by saying that I didn’t have many meaningful interactions with any of the refugees, which was my own fault and responsibility. I didn’t feel like I contributed very much, except what was expected of me and the little things that needed to get done for the team. My best work was setting out lunch for the outreach teams every day. And I felt a little pathetic as I watched them come back sweaty and exhausted and with good stories to share because I knew that by choice all I did was roll up lunchmeat and cut up carrots. There, I said it.

You see, something not good was in me. Something that didn’t want me out in the community. Something that didn’t want me to give this my all. Something that just wanted to be as far away from where I was as possible.

I was homesick like I’ve never been homesick before. The kind of homesick where any mention of someone’s mom brought tears to my eyes because I missed my own. The kind of homesick where I would go home any chance I could get and then cry when I would have to return.

Don’t get me wrong. Clarkston is an AMAZING place. There’s no other place like it. And God moves in this city. Prayer covers this city and wild things have happened.

But the most wild thing that happened involving me this summer was just how badly I missed my home.

. . . . . .

When I returned home at the end of July, I had a lot of people asking how my summer was. Because I didn’t really know how to explain what happened to me while I was there, I usually just mentioned being homesick and how I was glad to be back.

But here’s the more complete version:

While I was there, I saw myself for who I was.

I saw a daughter deeply longing for her parents and the comfort of home. I saw a romantic counting down the days until she could be back in her best friend’s arms. I saw a girl whose heart was rooted someplace else.

I didn’t know before I left that I would miss my family, my town, my job, and my boyfriend the way I did. I didn’t realize until I left just how precious the things I was leaving behind were. I had no idea that my heart had changed that vastly; it went from wanting to move on from these people and this life just a couple short years ago (maybe even months ago) to wanting to preserve the goodness of it all and never let go.

As I wept for the absence of my mom, I realized I have fallen more in love with my family.

As my soul leaped for joy on the Sunday I was able to visit the middle schoolers I had been leading and loving for two years, I realized I have grown into a ministry of my own.

As the man I love supported me throughout the summer and pushed me to persevere like I never had to persevere before, I knew I have found a good man.

You know that saying, “you never know what you have until it’s gone”?

That was me this summer. And even though most of this summer felt like a waste as I wished for things other than what was in front of me, it also felt like a reminder of who I was.

I am a blessed girl with a heart full of beautiful people.

. . . . . .

But there’s more to the story than just that.

I didn’t just see myself for who I was; I saw my calling for what it was.

I didn’t tell many people why I ended up coming back to Clarkston this summer, but I’m telling you all the truth now: I returned just in case.

I wanted to be sure that there wasn’t a future for me somewhere in there. Maybe that inkling of a missionary’s calling would resonate in my soul again and all would be clear as day. I used to dream of living in the Middle East, swapping stories with women in Arabic and dedicating my life to the heart restoration of the region’s people.

Two weeks in and I already knew — This is not the calling God has for me.

I’ve been afraid of voicing that to people because if you had asked a former version of Jessie, she would say hands-down that that was where she was headed. She was so passionate and determined. I didn’t know how to tell people that it felt like my dreams were changing and God was leading me in a different direction.

I didn’t know that I could be passionate for those things without feeling called to those things.

I know now. This past summer in Clarkston revealed that to me.

Do you want to know where I think my future is headed now?

I believe God has been molding me more and more into a storyteller. A writer.

All summer long I felt the urge to write. I was being inspired left and right and it felt like I didn’t have enough time in a day to make something out of all that my mind and heart was churning with. I longed for peace and quiet, a moment of solitude to get my hands to work so it could craft stories. The writer in me was so anxious, I didn’t know what to do.

(And I just want to take a moment to thank my readers for reading some of the things I birthed during this difficult summer as I was away. I use the verb “birth” because writing required me to push like I had never pushed before. And the result was beautiful. I especially loved receiving feedback on what became my most popular post to date: Christianity Didn’t Fix Me. This summer, I also produced my first post featuring my current relationship and a very important person who you now know as my wonderful boyfriend, Grant. You first meet Grant in When Relationships Are Hard.)

This summer, God continued pushing me towards writing, and after years of guesswork, I finally began seeing more of His calling for my life. And it doesn’t involve a plane ticket; it involves a pen.

. . . . . .

The last thing I want to address about this summer is the stuff that began to surface shortly after I arrived.

I realized while I was in Clarkston that I am a woman of a multitude of wounds. I knew it before, but it had never felt so clear to me until I had nowhere else to run.

Back in January, I knew that this year was going to be a year of healing for me. God said enough is enough. And I guess I finally acquiesced to the idea of letting Him take care of some of this. No more harboring this crap.

And no, in case you’re wondering, being in Clarkston didn’t heal me.

It just showed me how badly I needed it.

It wasn’t pleasant at the time– seeing my weaknesses spread out before me and not having a single idea of how to move past them. Lord, I need you. I painstakingly prayed every day. I didn’t want to look at my wounds in the eye, but I knew it was what I had to do.

And I did. I finally did. Part of facing my past hurt was writing about it, which would explain the darker nature of my posts from this summer. If that made you sad or uncomfortable, I hope you can find joy in knowing that God has been preparing me for greater things and beginning to heal me in several areas. If I hadn’t been in Clarkston this summer, away from my comforts and my home, I don’t think I would’ve been able to see just how badly I needed God to step in.

And He has stepped in.

God did something good with this summer. I couldn’t see it at the time, but it’s becoming clearer now.

. . . . . .

We are in the ninth month of this year. I just celebrated my twentieth birthday and am a month into my third year of college. Time has been passing quickly and there are now things coming up ahead.

I’ve reflected on my summer and now it’s time to look forward to the future.

I don’t know where God is taking me, but I know where I’m hoping it’ll go– a book, an engagement, a full-time job. But regardless of whether these things come to pass this year, I will hold onto this truth: God is good.

Guys, He is so good. I didn’t know if I would make it out of this summer. I knew I’d survive it. But I didn’t know if I would come out of it with my heart still intact.

Well, guess what. I did. And I know God used this summer for His purposes. Sure, my stubbornness and selfishness stood in the way of some potentially great things, but there’s grace for that. I was still meant to be there. I don’t know where I’d be if I had chosen to stay home and not go at all.

I certainly wouldn’t be here writing all of these things now.

Friends and family, thank you for your love and support while I was gone. I truly did miss you.

I wish I had more to offer to you than just this. I wish I could have a handful of awesome stories to share with you about this summer. I wish I did more. I wish I pushed myself harder. Not just for me, but for you. You were cheering me on and I was too depressed and homesick to hear it.

But I hope and pray that after reading this you can understand what this summer meant to me and how it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. I’m writing this to show you that I made it. I’m back. I’m alive. I’m different.

And there are good things ahead.

Suicide Headaches and Heartaches

Let me tell you something about my headaches.

I get these things called cluster headaches every now and again, and they’re called cluster headaches because they only come once a year and they often come in a large (and largely painful) quantity.

I wake up with them usually. And it takes me a minute to realize what they are, but once I do, I sprint out of bed for pills and a bottle of cold water. And then I have to run to the bathroom before the pills I just took and the water I just drank are puked up all over the floor. When I am able enough to get up from the bathroom floor, I put a Bed Buddy cold pack on my forehead and drag myself to bed. I usually writhe for a little bit, stop to cry and pray and scream and vomit and whimper. Light kills me. Standing kills me. Even sitting up kills me.

All I can do is just wait it out. Fortunately, cluster headaches don’t last longer than two hours. Sometimes they’re only fifteen minutes long. But the pain is still the same and I have that voice in my head that tells me this is never going to end.

Did I mention that cluster headaches have another name? Suicide headaches. Cluster headaches are considered one of the worst pains known to mankind and having them increases a person’s risk for suicide. Pleasant, right?

I’m explaining all of this to you because I had one this morning. The first one like this in a year. I probably could’ve expected it, but you always hope you never have to have one of those dreadful headaches again. This is my third year and it’s the exact same thing with the exact same thoughts running through my head.

Thoughts like I HATE YOU SATAN AND ALL YOUR STUPID DEMONS AND I WILL NOT STAND FOR THIS BECAUSE I AM A DAUGHTER OF GOD AND I HAVE THE AUTHORITY TO SEND ALL OF YOU BACK TO THE PITS OF HELL IN THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST.

And then thoughts like JESUS, PLEASE HEAL ME. HEAL ME. PLEASE…PLEASE… PLEASE… PLEASE (and so on and so forth).

And then thoughts like LET ME DIE. JUST KILL ME. I CAN’T DO THIS.

And then thoughts like MY VOMIT TASTES LIKE GINGER ALE.

But you know what I think upsets me the most about these headaches? It’s not that they’re the most painful thing I’ve ever experienced. It’s not that I can’t stand or sit up or keep my food down. It’s not that I’m wanting to die. It’s not that my boyfriend is seeing this happen to me and has to hold my tangled hair back from my contorted, puffy-eyed face.

What upsets me the most is that I KNOW I have been given authority to command my body to be better and I KNOW God is good and delights in healing His children, but I can’t seem to get either of those things to happen.

My prayers felt powerless coming out of my mouth as the pain remained and nothing changed.

I had absolutely no control.

And that’s a scary thing to me because I almost always am in control (or at least I think I am). I don’t have much of a say in what the world does, but I can manage my own life and my own body and my own health and what I say or do. If I’m sick, I can go to the doctor and get medicine to make me better. If I don’t like a person, I can tell them to leave me alone and walk away. If I’m feeling something too strongly, I can write it out in a blog post or in my journal or in a song.

But today was a day in which I just couldn’t control things. I couldn’t control these bastardly headaches and I couldn’t control these ghastly thoughts and I couldn’t control the demons afflicting me or the God I expected to save me.

THAT is what upset me the most.

And that’s when the thoughts turned into WHAT KIND OF GOD WATCHES HIS CHILD SUFFER THIS TYPE OF PAIN AND NOT DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT? WHAT KIND OF GOD HEARS HIS HURTING DAUGHTER’S PRAYERS AND REQUESTS AND DECIDES TO NOT GRANT THEM? WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO BE LEARNING? ARE MY PRAYERS NOT GOOD ENOUGH FOR YOU?

And I wish I could say that He gave me this awesome revelation or I was healed right then and there. But I cried and vomited and rolled around for some time after these things transpired. I am feeling better now, but the healing wasn’t instantaneous and I didn’t walk away feeling as good as new.

But is God still good? Yes.

Do I still have faith? Always.

Do these headaches still suck? You bet.

But do I get through them alive? Every time.

This is not a post about God being cruel. This isn’t a post about how He chose to not heal me when I asked Him to and how that was so utterly wrong of Him. This isn’t a post about how there’s suffering in the world and nothing’s happening about it.

This is a post on time. That one thing NO ONE can control.

God authored time. A clockmaker gets a clock to tick, but whether or not that clock is working, time is still moving forward as we continue to orbit. And God lets this happen because time is HIS and His alone.

Why did I get this headache on a Tuesday morning versus any other day of the week? I don’t know. Why does this happen year after year? I don’t know. Why didn’t my headache go away the moment I called out his name? I don’t know.

And I don’t think I ever will know.

Just like I don’t know why death has to come early for some people and why he waits so many years before giving us the things we’ve been earnestly praying for.

All I know is that God is good and He has been faithful to me even in my wondering and questioning and faithlessness.

His decision to not heal me of my headache instantly is not an indicator of a lack of power or goodness or love. It is rather an expression of his power and goodness and love. 

Why would I want to serve and follow a God who does everything I ask of Him the minute I ask it? If He did, I’d be engaged to a man I now know I didn’t have a chance of having a good relationship with. If He did, I would be knee-deep in a career I now know I wouldn’t enjoy. If He did, I would be the most impatient and faithLESS girl in the world.

Faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for (Hebrews 11:1-2).

The ancients– Noah, Abraham, Joseph, the marchers of Jericho, and many others– were not commended for how quickly their prayers were answered. They were commended for how faithful they remained when there appeared to be no answers. And what joy they must have received when their prayers were not only answered, but God was given the glory! He IS a God of power and goodness and love, they must have exclaimed.

If everything was done their way and in their timing, things wouldn’t have been the same. We would not know such ancients, such faithful warriors and servants of Christ. We would only know quick-fix prayers, which may do good for the body but not for the soul.

My soul has been healed this morning because I am reminded that God is the Master of time and He is a good one.

Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God has power to do what he promised. This is why “it was credited to him as righteousness” (Romans 4:18-22).

I want to be like Abraham. I don’t want to stare at unanswered prayers and questions with skepticism and halfhearted hope. I want to stare at God, my good and faithful God, and I want to not waver in my belief.

I am persuaded that God has power to do what he promised. And He could’ve given me supernatural physical strength to send that blasted headache away forever, but He chose to gave me supernatural spiritual strength for my soul. That strength is faith. And I don’t see Him as a bad Father for that. No, He’s a very good one indeed.

I am healed.

Confidently Broken

I’ve been in a writing frenzy lately and I think it’s because I’m starting to finally become the truly confident woman of God I’m meant to be.

And that confidence has come amidst fear, insecurity, hurt, past wounds, and confusion.

Basically, I’m confidently broken. And what that means is that even though I pretty much have nothing in my life together, I am learning more about myself and God and others and I’m somehow able to be myself in confidence and boldness.

It is one of the greatest feelings in the world to know that despite brokenness and shame and hurt, I can still be wholly myself.

And I think that’s where God’s been trying to bring me– into this season of being myself where I don’t have to constantly strive or feel inadequate or feel like a failure.

I’ve been headed down this journey for the past few months (since the start of 2014, actually) and I can think of a few things that God has used tremendously in my life. So here’s an incomplete list of what has meant the most to me over the past 3.5 months.

1. NOT moving out

I was supposed to move out of my parents’ house into an awesome apartment with four girls in the first week of January. Words cannot explain how excited I was for this new season of my life. I finally felt like I was going to get that taste of true community and independence and college life. And yet two weeks before our scheduled move-in date, things just fell apart. Like crumbled.

And all of a sudden, moving out was no longer an option.

It didn’t make sense. Why on earth would God be paving a way for these plans to happen only to let them cave in on me? The least He could’ve done was give me some sort of warning or foresight. It hurt A LOT. And I was convinced that this was going to be the worst semester ever.

But God shone His goodness through my situation. I remained in my parents’ house and experienced a sudden growth in my relationship with my mom. She was there for me through the crushing disappointment I faced and we had some pretty cool “real talks.” And now I feel like we’re closer, or at least more real, than ever before. To think that I almost moved out without having this awesome friendship blossom between us.

Do I still want to move out? Yes. I’m considering trying again in August. But I have no regrets about staying home this semester. I never thought I’d say those words, but God’s sovereignty and goodness has somehow changed my mind.

2. My best friend NOT moving back

It was excruciatingly painful to consider facing yet another semester without my best friend, Lacey. After six months of having her in Thomasville while I remained in Kennesaw, I was ready for her to come back so the “Jessie and Lacey escapades” could begin again. She’s my wingman, my homie, my OTHER HALF. We were supposed to move in together and pick back up where we left off last May.

But she didn’t come back.

And I thank God for that distance remaining between us because even though the physical distance sucks, the emotional closeness that has been forged through that long distance is unbelievably amazing.

We talk anywhere from 1-6 hours a week. We still make it a point to text pretty much all day, everyday. We watch New Girl over the phone together. We take turns making the four-hour drive to visit each other once a month.

And yes, it’d be great to have her here, but having this distance between us has forced us to be intentional and focus on the more serious things of life that we’d otherwise overlook due to our crazy adventures.

We’ve become closer than I ever imagined possible. I can tell this girl anything. In fact, I HAVE to tell this girl everything. She keeps me sane.

Do I still want her here? Yes. The idea of her coming back to Kennesaw is not an impossibility. But I have no regrets about her staying in Thomasville and me remaining here, and I know she doesn’t either. Yet again, God has shown me His goodness through this situation I once considered the worst thing in the world. Now I realize it’s one of the best.

3. NOT having my life together

Having wounds and insecurities and fears surely feels awful sometimes. Well, most of the time.

But because I’m an imperfect human being, I have the opportunity to walk alongside so many imperfect human beings around me. Because I’m hurt, I have the opportunity to hurt alongside other hurting people.

And together, being hurt suddenly doesn’t feel so awful. It’s not pleasant, but it’s not awful either. When two people are raw and upfront with each other about their broken state of being, they suddenly find they’re not so alone after all.

I thank God that He has used my broken state of being to speak to others. And one of the ways He’s done that is through my writing. And I wouldn’t be able to write like this and say the things I do if I wasn’t okay with being broken.

Do I still want to be healed and whole? Yes. I know there’s so much joy to be had in Christ and we are not meant to remain forever broken and hurt. But God has used me this way. He’s used me as I am. And whether I’m in the deepest pit or on the best Jesus high, I’m just glad I can be used for His glory and to encourage the people I love.

So there you have it. The incomplete list of “wrongs” turned right that have brought me to this place I’m in now. It’s crazy to see God’s goodness through it all, but it’s there. He really does work all things for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28). And oh, how I love Him! After having so much just fall to pieces, I really didn’t have much to hold on to but Him. And that’s a gift in and of itself.

Brokenness is okay, especially when you become confident in it. That doesn’t mean you STAY broken and just decide to never pursue healing. No, healing is needed. But being confident in your brokenness means that you let yourself be yourself, broken pieces and all. That means you stop completely hiding. That means you let God speak to you through your wounds and tears. That means you let God speak THROUGH you BECAUSE of your wounds and tears.

I want this for everyone, especially the beautiful young women in my life. Let’s face it: a lot of us girls are hurting and don’t know what to do about that.

Here’s what I propose we do: we confidently let God have our brokenness. Whether it’s taken away or remains, we let Him do something with it. Anything.

I love you, readers. Your encouragement has meant so much to me. Thank you for meeting me in my hurt and letting me know I am in no way alone or a failure.

For now, let’s be messy people together and begin to pursue healing… in confidence.

How Lice (and God) Changed My Life

What I’m about to tell you is probably one of the coolest things that’s ever happened to me. But to begin, I must tell you a little bit about myself.

When I was about 7 years old, I found out that I have psoriasis on my scalp, a condition that causes flakes, itchiness, and irritation. It has no known cure, but my mom and I have tried so many medications and topical treatments to try to at least semi-control it. Even though there were some seasons of my life where it seemed better than normal, it never left entirely and it actually caused me quite some ridicule and irritation (There’s only so many times per hour you can brush off your shirt before people begin to notice).

In the most recent years, I began to forget that I even had psoriasis. Sure, I still had to brush my shirt off from the flakes (wearing black was a nightmare) and it still itched like crazy every now and then, but it was just a part of me that I learned to accept and live with.

That is, until a month ago when the Lord spoke to me after I finally asked for healing and He told me that I was healed of it. This definitely took me by surprise!

He said I was healed but the itchiness and flakes still remained. In fact, it only seemed to get worse! What kind of joke was this? Yet I still had faith that He would follow through with His Word, whether or not the symptoms continued. After all, He is King over all of the universe. What He says will be.

This is where the cool part comes in: I woke up this morning, fixed my hair like usual, and finally noticed little bugs crawling in my hair! I, Jessie Nyland, had head lice. A couple hair washes and intense comb sessions later, my mom picked out the majority of the lice. And lo and behold, what did we find?

Any hint of my psoriasis is just about completely gone. My scalp hasn’t looked like this since the 1990’s. What I thought were my psoriasis symptoms were actually just the symptoms of having lice!

God truly did keep His Word! I never thought I would see the day when I could finally say that my psoriasis is gone, but that day has definitely come!

If there is something in your life that you want freedom and healing from, make your request known to God! I simply accepted my psoriasis for years, and it wasn’t until I found the faith and boldness to ask that God healed me from it. Faith is such a vital part of receiving healing. According to James 5:15, “the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well.”

Something that God’s really been showing me lately is that He does want to heal us! And He will! I hear a lot of people say that they know God CAN do it. But where’s the faith in that? Faith says that He WILL do it. Like it says in Hebrews 13:8, Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. He still wants to heal the sick. In fact, power has been given to his disciples to heal in His name. The disciples were actually COMMANDED to heal, like in Luke 1o:9 and Mark 16:15-18. According to that, what is expected of us today?