All of Me
Caroline is an amazing young woman that I met while she was in college. She now struts her stuff in Washington DC trying to bring some light to the political world. She has big dreams and goals and is one of those people you know will see them come true. I am astounded by her honesty in sharing about the box that she set aside…Listen to her as she lays out the idea that God wants all of us, even whats in that box. – Willow
My wounded collision happened just before I met Willow. Looking back now, it’s incredible to see how our paths intersected right about the time I was recognizing my own brokenness and discovering my journey towards wholeness (I have found God to be pretty sneaky when it comes to this kind of timing). My wounded collision and its aftermath taught me three things about God:
1) Nothing is hidden from Him
When I was younger I was deeply wounded by men in my life, men whom I placed great trust in. Their actions towards me left me feeling totally betrayed and convinced me that men cared only about satiating their desires and nothing else. In response, I built a fortress around my heart that I would allow no man to ever cross. I buried those memories and hurts deep down in my fortified heart – packed them neatly into a box, shoved them in a corner and forgot about them.
That is, until Jesus collided with me.
I grew up in a Christian home and discovered Jesus – the prodigal, real, and life-changing guy He was – in high school. I was active in my youth group and college ministries and knew that I had an abiding relationship with Him. What I didn’t know (truly know) was that Jesus wasn’t just satisfied with the happy, friendly, go-get-‘em side of me – He wanted all of me. My hurts, my fears, my insecurities, and the box hidden deep in my heart– He wanted it all.
Spring break of my sophomore year of college, I was at a church conference. At the end of the message, one of the speakers gave an altar call, specifically for all those in the audience that had been a victim of sexual abuse or rape. I found myself standing up from my seat and making my way to the front even though I had never been a victim myself. I remember thinking when I got to the front, “what am I doing here? This altar call isn’t for me! Once they find out I was never a victim of sexual abuse they’re going to make me sit back down!” And that’s when the Holy Spirit reminded me of those broken pieces and hurtful memories that I had buried deep down in my heart. Breathless, I heard Jesus say to me: I see you. I see those broken pieces. You may have tried to forget, but I have never forgotten. I will make you whole again.
2) You are never to unredeemable for Him
Let me be clear, this collision was not something I had been praying and fasting and seeking God for. Not. At. All. In fact, I had spent the previous 4 months running in the exact opposite direction of His redeeming love.
I had gotten myself deep into a relationship that was not God’s best for me (I think Christians like to call this type of relationship, “searching for love in all of the wrong places”). To make things worse, I knew what I was doing was wrong. The entire relationship I was sick with guilt. I so badly wanted to be loved, valued, and admired by a man that I was willing to sacrifice everything else in my life to have those fleeting moments of happiness. I had tried praying and asking for direction from God, but every time I just felt overwhelming silence in response.
When Jesus collided with me, He pushed past all the ugliness I had surrounded myself with, knocked down the wall I had built around my heart, and rather than condemning me (which I rightly deserved), He redeemed me. Rather than speaking punishment, He spoke life. Rather than declaring negative consequences, He spoke hope-filled promises. Rather than rejecting me, He reminded me that I was chosen and redeemed for a specific purpose.
3) His promises are better than you can imagine.
The journey towards wholeness is never an easy one – picking up broken pieces, surrendering each one to Jesus, and then letting him put you back together takes time and tears. But the journey is so worth it.
Today, I get to walk that journey with my husband – a man whose goodness, kindness, generosity, and leadership I am completely undeserving of. I assumed this journey towards wholeness would be one I would walk on my own, but God decided that using a man to heal the wounds that men inflicted in the first place would be best. He can be so funny sometimes.
The Bible says that God’s Word will not return void, meaning that it will accomplish what He said it would. Every day I cling to His promise that because of Jesus’ suffering, I am made whole. And every day I am grateful that He collided with me, in all of my brokenness, and dumped His grace and healing and purpose on me.
Caroline, your testimony is getting out there! Chantel shared it with me. God bless you and Brian as your journey with Him and each other continues.