Too sensitive. Too timid. Too everything.
They were words that described me for far too long.
Looking out at the room full of women, I shared my testimony, or what I was calling “My Bloom Story.” Tears filled my eyes at God’s promises coming true, and thankfulness and joy welled up in me until I wanted to burst with praise.
But it wasn’t always that way.
Before I was there, leading a room full of women in studying God’s Word and teaching about His love for them, I was in a hospital room with my dad.
Fallen on a sidewalk with a bleeding knee, and failing in my final year of college.
A grave site of a friend.
Sitting behind a group of people who’d left me out again, convinced nobody would even miss me if I were gone.
And finally, alone in the parking lot of a theater… wondering how I’d do it if I were going to.
They were dark, painful years, and it was a battle even my own family didn’t know about, with losses and victories no one was aware of.
I was enslaved in that dark depression, so fearful and ashamed to let anyone know I doubted God’s love or how deeply my self-hatred went.
But it was Jesus who met me in that hospital room when no one else would, and it was Jesus who bandaged my knee on that sidewalk, and it was Jesus who wrapped His arms around me one night as I lay on a living room floor and cried out, “God, hold me,” because the inner pain was so intense.
I just needed eyes to see.
This blog, while documenting my final days in Colorado, has also been about something much more…
It’s been about documenting God restoring my joy.
For over a year now, God has been using plant analogies with me to help me understand my relationship with Him, and though I didn’t realize its significance at the time, even this blog ended up being named after a flower!
One of the analogies the Lord gave me that helped the most as I started off on this journey of healing was this:
“Just because a rose takes a while to bloom, does that make it any less of a rose?”
Before I could grow past the depression that held me captive, I first needed to understand the depth of God’s love and grace for me as is. That He saw me not as the broken person I saw myself as, but as the “rose” He inherently created me to be.
Until I was “…rooted and established in love,” (Eph. 3:10), I had no hope of stepping out into all that He had for me.
And He showed me that love, so relentlessly and faithfully until one day I realized: Jesus really did die on the cross, for me.
And it changed my life. It saved my life.
One definition of “bloom” says this: “prosper or flourish: to reach the fullest stage of development or maturity.”
Though I don’t believe I have reached “the fullest stage” and won’t until I’m in heaven, because of Jesus’ death on the cross I now know another truth: “The righteous will flourish like a palm tree. They will grow like a cedar of Lebanon; planted in the house of the LORD, they will flourish in the courts of our GOD.” (Psalm 92:12-13.)
Against all odds, He has caused me to flourish, and I can tell you truthfully that I no longer struggle with suicidal thoughts. It would make your jaw hit the floor if I could tell you everything He’s done!
From having the courage to try new things and being able to laugh at my quirks, to re-discovering my love of creating, to re-discovering love at all through the course of this blog–the Lord Himself has “restored, confirmed, strengthened and established me,” (1 Pe. 5:9-11), and it is such a beautiful thing. There is so much cause for joy!
But I’m writing today because maybe you feel as I did. You might be as close to giving up as I was in the parking lot that day, wondering why you’re even here, and feeling just as invisible.
But dear heart, trust me, hear me–you are not invisible to the Lord of all the earth. Your name is written on the very palm of His hand, the Bible says, He numbers every hair on your head, and He died for you because He loved you. He died to set you free.
If you feel undeserving, if you want to believe that but aren’t sure you can–good! You’re on the right path.
And I understand. I was there too.
But it’s so important that you get it. It’s imperative you don’t miss it:
Grace? Grace is for the undeserving.
Grace is for the broken, and the sinful, and the doubting.
Grace is for people just like me and you, because people who don’t deserve grace are the only kind that exist.
Grace is a gift.
But like any gift, it has to be accepted first to be able to do you any good.
If anything I said rings true for you today, then this is my prayer for you:
“I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” (Eph. 3:16-19.)
Let your new life start here, today. May you experience joy and freedom as you have never known.
And as you go through this life, my greatest prayer for you is this:
May you do more than just survive.
May you bloom.