This morning I answered the last of my daily questions in my Steps workbook, and tonight will be our last session meeting with our Steps groups. When I think back to the girl who went in to this program in February, I just want to worship… for all the chains that clinked together and bound so tightly as I walked through those doors the first night are no where to be found. Instead, I am surrounded by and immersed in overwhelming freedom and light.
This process was incredibly difficult. MANY times I felt too overcome with weakness, shame, or dread and wanted to just give up. Often the thought of going back to those dark places in my heart and my mind would scare me into rebellion, anger or just paralysis (unable to move forward in the journey, for a while.) I am so unbelievably thankful to God for not abandoning me to the recesses of my heart alone. He was there. He was there to light up that darkness with the hope and promise that soon it wouldn’t hold that same power over me. Especially during inventory, after every new name I wrote down, I remember praying, “Holy Spirit, I cannot do this on my own. Please reveal the names, causes and effects – ones I know, and the ones I’m blind to – and just help me to persevere. In Jesus name, Amen.”
But something started to happen to me – and in me – with every session that my sponsor and I shared. I started to be able to talk about things I hadn’t even told anyone, and things I had once been too ashamed to admit. In the turning over of others’ sin against me, as well as the guilt, shame, fears, anxieties and bitterness of my own heart, to Jesus, it was like He was saying, “Here. Let me hold that for you. That weight is too much for you to bear. I’ve already carried all of that to the cross for you. You don’t have to keep struggling and striving to bear it alone. You’re free.” Little by little (certainly not overnight), God poured His light into the dark corners of my heart.
When I started Steps, I was walking in idolatry, addiction, fear of man, extreme self-righteousness, pride, doubt, depression, zero self-worth or value, and had absolutely no identity. Now, walking out of this process into the forever that is “Step 12,” God has freed me from addiction and the isolation that inevitably comes with it. He has set my focus on Him (removing my idols of family, acceptance and self). He opened my eyes to the areas where fear of man was dictating my life and causing me to sin, as well as the areas of toxic self-righteousness that I was blind to for so long. I no longer walk in the darkness of doubt and depression, but rather in the light of joy, hope and assurance of my salvation. I now know that my value and identity both come from being bought with the blood of Jesus Christ, and being an adopted daughter of the loving Father. The gospel has changed me – irreversibly and forever. All praise to God, my deliverer!
“For God, who said ‘Let light shine out of darkness’ has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” – 2 Corinthians 4:6