TITLE: A Time to Rejoice- REVISED
By Sherry Hoffcastel
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A Time To Rejoice-Revised
I distinctly remember feeling the coldness of January seeping deep into my bones. Winter had come in every sense of the word. After years of being my mother’s whipping post and servant, I was desperately trying to reclaim some semblance of a life of my own with little success. I was hiking in the hills of Black Diamond and thinking how beautiful everything was. I wished that I were beautiful. Everything around me, including my heart had been frozen solid. The air felt cold and wintry on my cheek and the same thoughts continued to grind their way around in my head.
“You could end it all here and nobody would even know.”
I kept walking, determined to ignore the pain. How many times during the week had I thought about ways to end everything? There was the old stand-by, the favorite. Take too many pills and hope I don’t wake up. For some reason I was fascinated with knives. I remember taking a knife to bed and hiding it under my pillow. I was going downhill fast and not the booze, men, or even the job could make it better.
Despite God’s promises that there is a time and a season for everything, I didn’t feel that spring was going to be coming at all. There was nothing for me to look forward to. I felt and wished that death would swallow me. I kept trying to understand how something like this could have happened. I read my Bible, went to church, tried to stay out of trouble. So how could I have been violated in such a cruel, merciless way? I was barely conscious with all the alcohol in my system.
I know that somewhere in the fog that had become my brain I tried to tell him “no”. Yet, suddenly I was violated, betrayed, and completely worthless. Grandma had just gotten through telling me that she knew about the endless abuse that I endured throughout my childhood but chose to stand back and do nothing. It made perfect sense. I just don’t belong here. The Lord needs to take me now because I can’t go on.
I remember waking up the morning after taking the knife to bed with me. I heard a voice tell me through the fog to call 9-11. I called and told them that if someone didn’t come and get me that I was going to hurt myself. That was the beginning of my healing process. I stayed in a mental hospital for just over three weeks. Something happened while I was in there. One of the nurses, a Christian named John told me that never in all his years working on that floor did he see so many people asking about God and about going to church.
“Because of you, Sherry people are hungry and thirsty for God. See? He does have a plan for you. You are here for a reason.”
Somehow, God had brought me back to the land of the living. After I was released from the hospital, I started to going to recovery meetings and actually learning how to communicate my wants and needs. Most importantly, I was learning how to forgive the people who I felt had driven me to my depression. It took many years but I did finally learn to forgive my mother and let go of the past. She’s back in my life again even though we continue to struggle. She has a hard time accepting that I’m a grown woman now and accepting when I say “no” or “I don’t like that.” But she’s learning and it’s been very rewarding for us both. She saw me get married and was present at the birth of my child, things I was convinced she would have no part of once upon a time.
I never knew how much I took for granted, how much the Lord had his hand on my life, in the midst of all the suffering. Whether I was aware of it or not, God had planted spring in me and the buds just needed a little watering before they grew out of the fertile soil that was my soul. I learned that there is always a way out, as long as I trust Him and believe that He really does love me and finds me worthy of his attention. Until then I had never believed that I was worthy of anything, not love and certainly not attention. Before God got a good hold on me, I didn’t believe I was worth anything.
I praise Him that he allowed me to go through that cold winter so that I could see him take care of me the way that nobody else in my life ever had. I saw him put people directly in my path whose sole purpose was to love me. I saw him answer one prayer after another. I remember those frigid days with a kind of fondness now, because I know what happened after I cried out for help. I was saved and spring did come. It washed over me and embraced me. It saturated and filled up every missing piece. I have learned to have compassion on those that wrong me because I saw my Jesus have compassion on me. I have learned the secret of being content. It isn’t in what I know or don’t know about life. It’s in whom I know and in whom I put my whole trust, my whole being into. I am convinced that Jesus is the answer for every ailment, every pain and every bitter, frozen soul.
In all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:37-38 (NIV)
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