By: Bri Deutsch
It’s 2 a.m. The silence of night allows my tormenting thoughts to appear more daunting than they would in the vibrancy of day. Thoughts about a future that looks murky – a future no longer filled with the people I once knew to be my confident, where my “home” of three years would soon be in the distant past and a future where purpose seemed bleak.
I had grown away from my church.
Change is a normal part of life. People grow to the point where they no longer fit in certain places or the current status quo. For me, I knew it was a time to move on when I felt purpose leave the caverns of my heart one Sunday service.
I remember the first day of attending the church as though it was a memory from the previous day before. I was in pain, another toxic relationship ended by my tainted hands in the form of malicious words. I decided to reach out to a friend. I had noticed a shift in her life – her once dim disposition littered with self inflicted pain and abusive relationships, had shifted to a life brimming with hope and meaning. It was a feeling I had yearned for since I was a child. After sharing with her my confusion and delusions, she suggested we attend a support group for addicts at her local church. Despite the shouting thoughts coming in the form of demeaning lies, I calmly replied, “Let’s go.”
It was mid-summer, and the sun was setting causing a mirage of pleasant colors melting together across the horizon, I felt the warmth of the bristling sun penetrate my calloused heart. A heart attached to multiple lovers, a vicious eating disorders and bouts of anxiety, scathed with periods of self-harm. I walked into the congregation jittery, then sighed a breath of relief the moment the large, daunting, glass doors opened — I was home.
My friend and I entered the support room. The metal chairs were strewn in a mishap of a circle. It reminded me of a group counseling session, where people pour out their hearts and wait… wait for an answer, wait for the counselor to provide a solution that can seem too complex and most importantly, wait for healing. That’s what I needed – healing. Not in the temporal, superficial sense, but a cure that would be transformative to a burned and broken core yearning for fresh perspective.
As people slowly began to enter the room I noticed the warm welcomes, yet dismissed them as cliché. This was a church after all, and churches “had” to be welcoming. It was 7:00 p.m. and one of the members, a young male with a tanned, carefree disposition opened up with a poignant prayer and a song that highlighted facets about an unfamiliar, unknown God. The topic that night was on waiting on the Lord. Questions began to formulate in my brain: How do I wait on something that seems so distant, so intangible? How do I wait, when my heart is anxiously telling me to continue to keep busy? How do I trust in something- someone- when the answers are left unknown? Have you ever become so tired, trying to logically figure out something that can only be explained when you enter the rest that comes from God? I have, and in that moment, I was there. I hit my wall. In my plea of utter desperation, I asked God to give me rest and allow me the grace to trust Him. God knew I was a woman who felt that if I could control the situation by manipulating, pleading, coercing, begging, and baiting the people and situations in my vicinity, then my world would be at peace. The issue was, that it was never my world to begin with — it was always God’s. That outlook shifted everything.
That’s the beauty of a changed attitude. And the exquisite fact of an altered demeanor is that it doesn’t come from changing the behavior first, but by allowing God into the depths of our hearts. By exposing our secrets, our shame, our fears and our even our unmet dreams to the One who longs to be in communion with us, we become free from any hidden guilt or condemnation. Then, when God touches the areas of our soul that long to be noticed and seen, there comes a radical, lasting shift — not just internally, but externally as well. It’s through this change of posture that we are able to grasp a new concept of complete healing. We are able to stand firm in a identity not given by this world, but by a God that calls us strong, victorious, able, chosen, and deeply and lavishly loved.
Years after attending that particular congregation, I can easily say it’s because of the wise counsel I found there that my view on life changed. Yet, on the same pendulum I can still admit it’s my time to leave. Even though my body wants to stay, my spirit and heart are calling me elsewhere. It’s from this wrestle that I find a deeper intimacy with God emerging. Through my honesty with Him, I find the foundation for healing and the restoration that requires radical and transparent surrender to God, who is unseen, but is still perfect in love (1 John 4:18) and has promises that stand firm. Whether in the stillness of the night, or the busyness of a bristling day, I know that He is forever faithful and never changes (Hebrews 13:8) .
Photo Cred: Chelsea Steller
Brianna Deutsch is a woman of persistent faith, compassion and coffee drinker. She currently resides in Vancouver, BC where she is studying business leadership and psychology. You can connect with her on her blog at: