The land in between. A place you remain in until you have been brought to your destination. For me, this place was the place that saved my life. But, let me start from the beginning. I grew up in a Christian home. My dad was a pastor, mom volunteered in every area of the church, and we always knew who Jesus was and what He had done for us. Surrendering to Christ at the age of 14, I felt like I had a pretty good grasp on true freedom, grace, and forgiveness. I graduated High School with many titles such as Homecoming Queen, Cheerleading Captain, friendliest, and most outgoing. Surely with these titles on my ‘resume’ college was going to be a breeze. There I sat in my first class as a music major, when he noticed me. He was your ‘ideal’ guy. Tall, dark, handsome, and very gravitating. Did I mention he was a little older than me? All it took was a “Hello, my name is _____. What is your name?” and I was sold. What felt like pursuit from this individual would land me my first college boyfriend. I was on top of the world!! Car doors would always be open for me, sweet notes written, and plans of being worship leaders who did overseas missions work would one day be our story. Or so I thought. What seemed to be fulfilling me would land me on my back when the feelings of pursuit seemed to be slowing down. My ‘dream’ man would leave me waiting at my dorm door for what was supposed to be a date night…to never show up. My ‘dream’ man would fill my mind with lies of “You are getting fat.”, “Are you going out like that? That’s embarrassing.”, and even “I am embarrassed to be seen with you.” You would think that after hearing these things constantly I would be turned off and leave. But, the opposite happened. I felt pulled in more than ever. I desired, longed for, and needed his approval. Months of this would land me with blowing off friends in hopes that he would call and want to spend time with me, extreme amounts of distance between my family and I, and an eating disorder that would consume me. I can remember sitting in my bed, all alone in my dorm room asking, “What is wrong with me!?”, “Why am I not enough?” “Why am I alone?” “Can anyone even hear/see me!?”. I would begin to spiral out of control and land myself in a pit of depression. Months would go by, the numbers on the scale would go down, and bruises would begin to appear on my body. Bad attention is better than no attention, right? False. It would take the bravery of my roommate to call out exactly what she saw. Abuse. She loved me when I couldn’t be loved & she reached out to my family to get me help and away from the situation that I was in. I was nothing short of a bitter, broken, hard hearted freshman girl in college. These were supposed to be the best years of my life. Yet, this is how I started. I felt as if I was screaming for help but my screams were ever so silent.I relate this season of my life to the Israelites. Slavery. I so desperately wanted to be free but felt as if I had to stay. I was scared, uncertain, and drowning in a pit of despair. Yet, Jesus provided a way out. He used Moses to bring the Israelites out of slavery and into the promise land. He used my roommate as a way out of slavery and into the promise land. Except, there was a land in between that both the Israelites and myself would have to venture through before reaching the promise land.
You see, I had to relearn who Jesus was. I had to relearn my value in Him and allow Him to heal me of every single broken thing in my heart. I remember the long nights of waking up in tears due to night terrors. I remember fighting mental battles of constant insecurity of never being loved again, never being pretty enough, or even having friends. I was living my night mare of feeling depressed, in my parents basement with absolutely no direction for myself. But, Jesus. Jesus had plans. Jesus would meet me continually in those low places and soften the places that were so wounded and so bruised. Only He could restore what had been lost and make whole again. Only He could show me the importance of forgiving my abuser. Only HE could give me the affection that my heart had such a deep desire for. He had to meet me in my desert place. The Land in Between. The verse I clung to during my healing process and still cling to is: Psalm 37:4 “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.” I knew that the girl who had a heart to serve and love others was still at the core of my being. I knew that when I could truly surrender these desires to love and serve and be made whole again that Jesus could and would within His timing. He has been writing and continue to writes the most beautiful story.
The song Clean by Natalie Grant always comes to my mind. There is a part in the song where she sings, “There’s nothing too dirty, that you can’t make worthy, you wash me in mercy, I am clean.” Sweet sister, there is no place to far that the Father cannot draw you back to himself. There is nothing that you have done that would make you unappealing to Him. No amount of selfishness, abuse, hurt, drugs, alcohol, lust, pornography, or lies could make Him desire your heart less. Don’t buy into the lies of this world. That was what I had to come to. I was worthy of affection. I had value despite the things done to me and the decisions I made. My sin was wiped clean because of Jesus grace and mercy on my life. He does heal, restore, and carry you when you feel you can’t go on anymore.
Years later, I am a College Graduate, Wife, and Mommy to be to my sweet Madelyn Grace. Not only did Jesus heal a broken heart, but he mended it back together. He gave me the desires of my heart when it came to being a wife and mommy. I now work alongside my husband loving and pouring into college age woman.
It took that year of entanglement and years of wondering in the desert place (The Land in Between) for me to see Jesus for who He truly is. Sustainer, Healer, Faithful, Everlasting, and Giver of Life. He has satisfied my heart and reminds me daily that I must die to my sin nature, pick up my cross, and follow after Him. What the enemy wanted to use to destroy my life, Jesus has taken and made into the most beautiful tapestry. Despite my sinful human nature, He has loved, pursued and captured me forever. And those are the things that I was looking for all along.