Earlier tonight I went to Danville for a fundraiser banquet that my friend had invited me to. Oddly enough Siri decided to take me home a different route than I had come.
I found myself rounding the dark corners of some super sharp curvy roads and I knew where this route was taking me. You see this was the same road I had found myself on one dark night over 25 years ago as a terrified 13 year old little girl. That night I had babysat super late and the dad was taking me home. Instead of taking me home though he sped past my house and drove for what felt like forever around corner after corner of dark winding curvy roads.
My mind went back to that dark scary night...
He had pulled into a little pull off driveway close to the road that had a chain across it to keep people from going any further. I remember thinking I could try to get out and get away. I was too scared though of the dark and too afraid no one would find me. I couldn't see what was around us and I had no idea where we were.
That night that man stripped every ounce of innocence and naivety known to me.
I sobbed, I begged. I prayed. I wept uncontrollably and begged over and over and over for him to stop. The more I cried the meaner he became. I remember him telling me to shut up and that no one could hear me crying. At the same time in my head I said over and over to God, "God please save me, please don't let me die, please make him stop. Please make it stop. I pleaded, I begged, and I bargained with God and told Him that if He would just save me I would love Him forever.
Tonight as I rounded curve after curve I recounted detail after detail. Only this time was different. As I drove the song "Amazing Grace" played on KLOVE. I remembered and I sang. As I sang I felt the incredible overwhelming presence of Jesus Christ in that car with me.
I did not feel the common feelings that I have in the past when remembering. There was no sick stomach, no anxiety, no pain. The more I sang, the more I cried, the more I felt, the more I saw Jesus. This time the tears running down my cheek were tears of joy and love for my Jesus. I heard Him say to me... "Look at the way I have preserved your life".
And I sang "... the God who called me here below, wilt be forever mine...".
It was dark the night I was raped, so I couldn't see much around me. Many months later I rode down that road again but this time in broad daylight with a police officer. He wanted to document the site where it had happened. What I saw was that the little pull off road that that man had parked his car in was literally less than 10 feet from the cliff that made it's way down to the Kentucky River. That man was drunk and violent and he could have easily killed me, dumped me, and it would have been over.
Oh but God. He saved me.
So tonight as I drove over the kentucky river bridge I pulled into that little drive. It's all covered with tall greenery and there's a big rock kind of blocking it. I could barely get my car in there to park. I got out of my car and I marveled at God's mercy, His unending love, His goodness. I felt as though I was standing on Holy Ground. Thinking back... yeah I was. I mean that's the very spot that caused me year after year to cling to Jesus. It's the very spot where I first knew of my need for Him. It's the spot that changed everything. Some for the bad, some for the good. It's the "spot" that has allowed God His greatest Glory in my life.
I took pictures and I thanked Him over and over and I soaked in the presence of Jesus in that moment.
Isn't it just like Him though to take us to the place of our greatest pain in order to show us His greatest love?
This is the spot. That's the guard rail to the right that protects you from going down off the cliff. That rock now blocks the gravel road so you can't drive in there further.
That was it. The spot where my heart was ripped out, my body bruised, my spirit broken.
It was no doubt the spot where I started the most gut wrenching journey I have ever walked.
But dare I say it is also the very spot where Jesus and I became one?
Tonight I look at that spot and I see the spot that my Savior met me at so many years ago.
My body exposed, my heart laid open. The most vulnerable moments of my life, This is where He met me. Those vulnerable gruesome feelings of violation were not new to Him. He endured them all on the cross. He knew exactly what I was experiencing first hand from His gruesome moments. He too with His heart laid wide open, His body exposed, beaten and bruised. He too questioned His Father and asked Him to save Him. He knew all too well the pain and yet again He chose to go there with me. He and I, we became one in those moments. I never realized to the depth I did tonight how incredibly sacred hose moments between He and I were. At the time I didn't feel Him or see Him. To know just a tiny speck of a glimpse of what He felt, and to experience it with Him, I consider that a gift. It's a huge example to me of how God brings good from evil. Satan meant for that night to crush me. He wanted it to separate me from Jesus. God in His incredible love uses those very things that hurt us the most to bring us the closest to Him though. I know that there isn't anything else in my life that has brought me closer to the face of Jesus than my sorrows.
God is the Ruler of all, the One who holds the whole world in His hands. He as King has all power, ability and authority to crush us with just one look. Instead He turns his face towards us.
That night by the river He could have easily hid His face. He could have turned away and decided I could go it alone. He could have chosen to wait and come to me once it was over. He could have just been there for me in the days and weeks and months and years to come. Instead, He entered into my pain. He felt what I felt. I felt what He felt. He and I became one.
I picture the vision God gave me last year again so clearly in my head. I had asked Him where He was that night while I lay there naked and alone. Once again I see His body as a shield between me and that man. I see God's eyes piercing into me. I see that man's hands go through the sides and back of Jesus to touch me. I hear Jesus's sweet words ringing in my ear....
"NOTHING touched you that didn't first touch Me."
Who does that? Who chooses to enter into the ugliest, darkest, messiest places with us?
Jesus, oh but only Jesus. The Jesus who decided that it wasn't enough to just be "with" me during the most terrifying moments of my life but instead He chose to bear them with me. My cries were not unheard. They were intertwine with the tears of my Father. Our tears ran together. We became one. My pain became His pain. Sacred moments. Gut wrenching moments that bring me to the feet of Jesus again and again.
For in my deepest need I was met with His greatest love.
My greatest pain has become His greatest glory. He has used my brokeness as a means of love and intimacy with Him. He has restored and redeemed.
I am reminded that in God's deepest pain (loss of His one and only son) He showed us His greatest love. His pain became our means to love and intimacy with Him. Jesus's deepest pain (the cross) became THE greatest redemption.
I type these words and tears of joy sting my face. Healing tears. Grateful tears. Tears of awe and wonder. Oh how He loves me. Oh how loves you. He does so much more than just save. He indeed saved my life. I indeed love Him forever. He honored my measly pitiful bargain yet He has done so much more.
He has restored the years the locust have eaten. He reached down and pulled me out of the pit of despair, out of the mire and clay. He has restored my soul, for His namesake. Yeh though I walk through the valley and the shadow of death I will fear no evil. My God is with me. He is mighty to save. He quiets me with His love. He rejoices over me with singing. He has turned my mourning into dancing. He has loved me with an everlasting love. Though my heart and my flesh fail God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. I would have lost heart unless I had known I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Surely goodness and mercy will follow me all the days of my life. He has given me beauty for ashes, strength for fear. Gladness for mourning and peace for despair. God is my redeemer, my Savior, my Best Friend. He's my Abba, my Morning Star, the Lifter of my head. He is my Prince of Peace and the Lover of my Soul. He gives me strength when all my strength is gone. He is merciful and slow to anger. He dances over me with rejoicing. He restores my soul. What satan meant for evil God has used for Good. He brings good from evil because He loves me and I am called to His purposes. He has given me hope where there was no hope. He has restored the ruins of my heart and has given me a new song. He will never leave me nor forsake me. He knows my coming; He knows my going and He is acquainted with all my ways. There is no where I can go from His presence. He has a plan for my life. He is glorified through my suffering. He died so that I can live. He gave Himself up for me. He is full of grace and everything good and beautiful.
I am His chosen one, His beloved and He is mine. He is my Shepherd and I am His little Lamb. I am precious in His sight and He honors me. I am an oak of righteousness. I am called according to His purposes to bring Him glory. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted. I have all I need for life and godliness in Him. When I am weak He is strong. When I am weary He picks me up. He takes hold of my hand and says to me "Do not fear, I will help you". He is my beginning and my end.
He's my healer, my Faithful One. He's my heavenly Daddy and He's all I need. He knows me inside and out and He loves me still. He sees me for who I really am. He understands my human frame and He has compassion on me. He is well pleased with me and He is for me. He is Faithful. He is Trustworthy. He is Long-suffering . He sees me. He knows me. He gets me. He feels me. He is in me. He is One with me. He has chosen me. I am the apple of His eye. I am the 1 in the 99. He pursues me. He woes me. His eyes are on me. He cares for me. I am never alone. The ocean can not overcome me and the flames cannot not scorch me. I am strong. I am courageous. I was created by a loving Father, MY father. He is my Strength and my Shield. He is my Rock and my Salvation. He is not far from me. He covers me in the shelter of His wings. He is my breath, He is my Life. I am complete in Him. I am more than a conqueror because of Christ Jesus. I can do all things through Him. I will take heart because my God has overcome the world. The enemy can't have me. I've been bought. I've been paid for. I have freedom through Christ. The truth sets me free and I am free indeed! I have been restored. I am no longer a slave to fear. I am a child of God. I am the daughter of the Most High. I am a new creation. The old has gone. God sees me as forgiven, beautiful, restored, whole. I am empowered by Jesus. Satan has no hold on me. I belong to Jesus. God has a purpose and plan for my life. My story is His story. My story is not over. My hope is in Him. My peace comes from Him. He is my firm foundation. I will not be moved. I do not fear the future. My God is in control. I am surrendered to Him. I am no longer my own but it is Christ who lives in me. My hope is in Him. In Him I have victory! The Hope of Glory!
As I neared my house tonight the scripture that I clung to so many years ago echoed in my heart:
"I have loved you with an everlasting love. I will build you again and you will be rebuilt."
Indeed He has. He keeps His promises.
I linked below the version of "Amazing Grace" that was playing on my radio tonight as I drove around those curvy roads during my divine encounter with the Holy Spirit.... listen at the link below and be blessed. I prayed for every one of you tonight who will read this. My prayer is for you to know how deep, how wide, how great the love of the Father is for YOU. I pray that you will know the Truth and the Truth will set you free, just as it is setting me free.
Amazing Grace by Chris Tomlin: