A Cross in the Crevice
I was completely depleted, dry, and empty.
Darkness, like that of a desert on a starless night, had begun to envelop me, and I just wanted to run away to a safe place by myself. My poor husband was confused and speechless when I told him uncharacteristically one morning that I had to leave for a few days. I was desperately searching for a way to restore and refresh the deep places of pain and loss within what felt like my very soul.
Our teenage daughter had entered a spiritually desolate wilderness. She was lost and had been lashing out with extreme anger towards me for over four years. Even with others trying to help her and our family, there were no answers, only more anger. I just couldn’t bear up under it for another day.
I carefully packed a few things, walked out the door, and drove for two hours to a quiet little town in the majestic mountains of Colorado where I hoped to somehow realign my heart and mind to that of Jesus’. It was He who could bring His refreshing living waters into my very dry heart and bind up my painful wounds as it promises in Psalm 147:3. Although the winter snow was still lingering, I stopped at my favorite nursery on the way which had a beautiful gift shop. I just needed to see some pretty things to help lift my spirit. As I walked by a softly colored stuffed bunny, I had the intense urge to pick it up and hold it close for comfort.
Wow! I shockingly realized how wounded and alone I felt.
I desperately needed rest and took advantage of my quiet hotel room to do just that, letting the tears flow freely onto the pillow. I was struggling to remember who I was and whose I was. I spent the first day listening to worship music and teachings on the topic of the sacrifice of thanksgiving and praise.
Psalm 50:14 teaches,
“Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving.”
Hebrews 13:15 says,
“Through Him then, let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that give thanks to His name.”
When circumstances are so painful and there is not an end in sight, how does one do this? I did not feel like I had much to be thankful about or to praise God for, but I wanted to be obedient to His authority in my life. I had to start somewhere. I was so numb, but I knew that this was my answer and Hebrews 13:15 told me that it was through Him that I would get there.
As I prayed for His help, I began to:
1) Choose to come under God’s authority even though it was hard.
2) Realign my will with His as I placed my hopes, dreams, and pain on the altar for God to do with as He wished.
3) Realizing that it was not my circumstances that I needed to be thankful or praise God for, but to thank Him for His faithfulness and steadfast love in the midst of my woundedness.
Yet, I still felt so alone, and my obedience was reluctant at best.
Tearfully, I asked God to show me what love looked like. My brokenness was revealed in asking the question, yet God was gracious and gentle with me. The answer came in what felt like a miraculous way. I will remember it for the rest of my life. I looked up at the thousand-foot-tall cliffs surrounding the nestled town of Ouray and noticed a horizontal line of white snow tucked in the layers of the hard rock. Suddenly, I realized there was a vertical line of snow filling in a crevice intersecting the white horizontal layer, making the shape of a cross.
My heart was gripped with the vivid picture of the selfless and sacrificial love Christ had for me as He offered His life for mine.
More tears flowed.
That was the moment I began to feel life flowing back into my body, deeply refreshing my dry and broken heart. His light began to overtake my darkness. He was telling me that I was enough for Him and that He was enough for me…
He was enough to get me through whatever I was facing.
Psalm 31 accurately describes my three-day journey when David wrote,
“Be merciful to me, O LORD, for I am in distress; my eyes grow weak with sorrow, my soul and my body with grief… I have become like broken pottery… but my trust is in you, O God.” (excerpts from verses 9-15)
I was able to return home to the same difficult challenges refreshed and restored by my encounter with God. Although it took many more years for my daughter to find her way back to God, she did indeed get there. She, too, realigned her life to that of Jesus’, through His love, truth, and grace which has enabled her to become the amazing woman of strength she is today.
Diane has lived in the greater Portland area for fourteen years and has been married to her best friend, Ray, for almost forty years. They have three young adult children and two precious grandchildren. She is the Founder and President of Living Waters of Hope (501c3) which seeks to restore hope and dignity to women wounded by domestic abuse. She offers a free Christ-centered recovery study for women who are seeking a safe, confidential, and educational community. These classes are taught locally and online for women across the country. Diane is a speaker who has taught women’s groups and led training seminars for church leaders in an effort to raise awareness of domestic abuse within our faith communities. Her passion is to come alongside Jesus as He heals the brokenhearted, binds up their wounds, and sets them free. Any woman interested in finding out more about the Oasis Bible Study or requesting a speaking or training event can email firstname.lastname@example.org for details.