God healed me. It's nothing anyone else will notice, because it's all within. But to be free of my burden is something I never though I'd feel.
I've kept the pain hidden inside. No one knew of my inner torment. I'd plaster on a fake smile and give the customary answer whenever anyone asked how I was doing.
Even my husband didn't know. He suspected it, but when he tried to probe deeper, I'd bury the memories deeper yet.
I don't know what I was afraid of; probably that others would see through me, and discover my life wasn't perfect. I knew everyone has problems, but I was determined to rise above on my own power. I was going to be the strong one; one others came to for help. I wasn't about to show my weakness. If I did, I'd have to reveal the real me.
It started when I was a young child. Mom always played favorites; Dad too. My older sister and younger brother got all the praise and adoration. I was stuck in the middle. I don't know why I took the brunt of their anger. Perhaps I was just the easiest target.
When my sister brought home low grades on her report cards, my parents would comfort her and tell her to try harder. If I brought home anything less than an A, I was confined to my room to study.
I remember one time when my brother came home two hours past curfew, smelling of alcohol and cigarette smoke. He said he lost track of time. They chided him and told him they were worried about him. Then they said, "Everyone makes mistakes. Just don't let it happen again."
I came home thirty minutes past curfew, and explained I had car trouble. I was grounded for a month with no phone calls, no visits from friends, and could only come out of my room to eat. I cried myself to sleep every night.
The wounds were internal. They never touched me; never gave anyone a reason to suspect what was going on. They blamed my moodiness on "teenage angst." If only they knew the depth of my depression.
I was afraid to tell anyone; afraid of what would happen if I ruined my parents' spotless image. Their teenager couldn't have depression. Sure they could have a rebellious teenager. But to suggest something was actually wrong with me? Well, that didn't fit in their perfect world. So I suffered in silence.
There were times when I thought about just ending it all. No one would care. Every time something stopped me.
I moved out as soon as I could, but still carried the burden with me. Every time someone asked what was wrong, I'd deny it. I'd blame it on a bad day at work, or it was "my time of the month." Anything to avoid the truth. My inner being was in torment, but I wasn't about to show it.
I'd grown up in the church, and became a Christian at a young age. Looking back, I know God kept me alive. I had put on spiritual blinders. I begged God to get me out of the situation, and to change my parents. I begged, but I didn't believe He'd do anything. I wasn't good enough. I believed the lies my parents had told me. I was a bad child. I could never do anything right. Why would God help me?
Slowly God broke away my outer shell. He melted and formed my inner self. It hurt at times, but I began to see things in a new light.
The sermon this past Sunday was on the freedom we have in Christ. For the first time, it hit me. Freedom in Christ is the most important thing. I went home and closed the bedroom door. "Lord," I said, "I want to be free of this burden and these memories. But even if You don't free me, I know I have ultimate freedom in You. And that is worth more than anything else within me and anything else in this world."
The moment I released my so-called control and gave God the freedom to do His will, I felt a joy I hadn't felt for years.
"Whom the Son sets free is free indeed." The memories are still there, but they no longer have control.
My name is Anaya Faith Nelson, and I'm ready to share my story.
"Whom the Son sets free...." is taken from "I am Free" by Jon Egan, copyright Vertical Worship Songs, 2004, made popular by the Newsboys.
John 8:36 (NASB) So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed.
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