“Come, follow me. You don’t have to live like this, there is another way. Come, don’t be afraid, you can do it, you can do this”.
It’s not that I couldn’t hear, I just didn’t recognise the voice, I wasn’t listening . As I gazed out the window, slouched in a chair of the mental health unit all I heard was my own determination “you can do this”.
It was time to get out, as I look around I made a choice that this wouldn’t become my life, I walked away in search of something. Anything had to be better than this, but I really wasn’t listening.
When I did listen it was many years later and this time I heard it loud and clear. I heard the promises, the reassurance, the forgiveness and the love. Crumpled in a chair, in a Church I’d only set foot in that day, I sobbed as I recognised the voice calling me.
I had been drowning in a life of abuse, alcohol, self-harm, suicide attempts and mental health issues. Even after I tried to walk away, I kept falling. I was searching, round in circles looking for something, anything. It took the death of my own father to hear the voice of ‘The Father’.
God had always been with me, through it all, right in the midst of it but I didn’t know that until I chose to listen. Like me, you probably don’t realise that he’s there, listening, talking, calling to you, but until you listen, you cannot hear.
Once I’d heard his voice, I knew I wanted to listen but there was so much noise, life is so full of distraction and listening, really hearing takes time and it takes practise. It’s worth it, a life of destruction does not change overnight, it’s possible, but mine doesn’t. I do start to recognise his voice and listen (John 10:27-30)
Through the slow process of discovering what love really means, where my worth actually came from and how valuable I am, I have been healing. Through that healing God has used the things that were broken to help others in need and broken.
Through mentoring and discipleship, the shared experience and ability to say “I know what you’re going through”, make having gone through it have some meaning. Sharing the mistakes shines a light onto a better path, they must still choose it, but there is a light and another way.
All that was bad in me, in my life is not swept away but has been channelled into good. No matter what the darkness might be, it can be overtaken by the light that is Jesus.
Do you hear a word, a phrase? Is it your own determined words? Are you sure? Listen, really listen and ask “God, is that you?”
Tania is a speaker and the author of “Let’s Talk About … Sex and Relationships” Bible study and course. It is a part of Let’s Talk About MInistries where Tania uses her own experience of how God has reshaped a broken life to encourage and mentor women as they search for their value and direction.