There’s a moment when you’ve lost everything that you have this oddly overwhelming sense of hope, relief almost. I mean, when you’ve reached your lowest point, you can only go up from there.
I’ll never forget my rock bottom. It had accumulated over about 8 months or so. At the age of 19 years old I found myself homeless and alone. Both of my parents had died 3 weeks apart from each other, my brother and sister both entered rehab, and my newlywed husband had left me for drugs and another woman. Before my husband had left I thought my rock bottom was sitting in an apartment with the electric shut off with an eviction notice on my door, or searching for him in the sketchiest parts of town in the middle of the night (it’s the grace of God I was never robbed or harmed), or even months prior watching my father grieve my mother’s death only to die himself on my couch, but alas, I had no idea what was ahead.
I’ll never forget the moment I sat in my car that had stopped running outside of a dark apartment that was now locked with most of my things inside. In that home were false dreams and a life I thought was going to be “happily ever after,” only for it to turn into this nightmare that I couldn’t wake up from. I had no job and a few dollars. I knew I would have to leave my car because it wasn’t running and I had no money to fix it. The apartment would tow it as soon as they realized what was happening. So again, I took what I could and bounced around couches of friend’s who could house me until they basically had to tell me to leave.
I remember feeling in a daze. I had never dreamed as a child that every person in my immediate family and my husband would be gone in some way or another. I never felt so abandoned, rejected, and worthless. To have my husband leave me to start a new life with another women really stuck the nail in the coffin of my self-esteem, to say the least. I was a virgin who had saved myself for marriage, so to be cheated on and abandoned before our one year anniversary (which he spent with her), I felt used and thrown away. Growing up in a legalistic church, I got more “I told you so’s” than compassion. I didn’t know if I would end up in a women’s shelter, an asylum, or even dead myself.
But with God, seasons only last for a little while before He shows up and makes it a message of His restoring power.
Restoration is usually not an easy process. When you rebuild, it’s like any foundation. It has to be laid carefully. Any cracks in the foundation must be exposed and fixed, or the house will not stand for long. My husband came back, but it took years to feel completely safe in him. It took time of us living with other people before we could finally be on our feet to live in our own little trailer. It took jail time, sleepless nights, and the grace of God for my husband to be completely free from a crack addiction. Strongholds had to be broken, hurts had to be dealt with, and transgressions had to be forgiven. But little by little, we rebuilt. We are far from perfect, but praise God, we are nowhere near what we used to be.
In my lowest point there was one constant, Jesus. Some may say, “well where was He? Why would He let you go through that?!” I’d be lying if I didn’t have moments of asking the same thing myself. But I can only tell you there’s a peace that surpasses ALL understanding with God. It makes absolutely no sense, but in my lowest of lows, I had one thing that nobody could take from me and that was the Holy Spirit dwelling in me. On my own, I could never had made it. I would have gone to what everyone else around me went to to ease the pain, other substances or drugs. I mean, that’s statistically what I SHOULD have done. But the Holy Spirit in me was the only high that would sustain me. And it wouldn’t die or leave me for something or someone else.
Don’t despise your rock bottom. Learn from it and rebuild. It’s like those fixer-upper houses. What was demolished and destroyed for a season can be transformed into something so beautiful with a little time and TLC. Sometimes it takes loss to appreciate gain. Sometimes it takes catastrophe to get your attention. And sometimes ministries and passions are born from the devastations of life.
Today I pray for anyone in a rock bottom to have peace that surpasses all understanding. I pray for comfort and guidance that only the Holy Spirit can provide. I pray for the power from God that leads to ridiculous forgiveness, unimaginable healing, and a brand spanking new outlook.
He can bring beauty from ashes. That same drug-addicted man I searched for on the streets is now the one leading prayers everyday with our children, a leader at church, and the man of God I’ve always knew he could be. I carry my parents’ spirit in my heart and share their stories. I live in a beautiful home that I appreciate because I know what it’s like to be without one. I have a passion, a ministry, and a testimony. I am beating the odds of the hand I was dealt, and my heart is to help others beat those odds too. It doesn’t mean I haven’t gone through a whole heck of a lot more even since then, but the same peace that sustained me then sustains me now. It can sustain you, too.
If you are in the fire, you can let it destroy you, or you can let it refine you.
The choice is yours.