A year ago this time I was in counseling over my father's death.
When I was eleven, I found my father, at home, dead from a heart attack. I was the only one with him.
It took me fifteen years to be able to really face the depth of sorrow and anger that I had kept bottled up inside. For at least twelve of those years I felt completely fine. I was not aware that there was any remains of sadness or any unresolved feelings. I was completely at peace about everything that happened, until I met my friend Bill Wilson.
Bill was orphaned at age 11. His mother and Him were sitting on a street corner, and she looked at him and said,"Stay here." Then she got lup and walked out of his life. Bill sat there for three days until a Christian man, who had notice him sitting there for three days, got him and paid for him to go to a Christian summer camp. It was at this summer camp that Bill experienced love for the first time. It wasn't through the counselors--most wouldn't talk to him because he smelled. It wasn't through the kids-most wouldn't go near him. He met Jesus Christ at an altar and felt the love of God and felt love for the first time. He now lives his life with the sole purpose of getting as many kids as he can into the presence of God. Every Christmas Eve he goes back to the corner that his mother left him at and he sits there all night long, until Christmas morning. He does this every year so that he can face the new year remembering what it feels like to be a kid that no one loves. And he starts every Christmas morning-the morning that celebrates His saviour's birth-by leaving his past at the curbside and walking towards the future of the next year.
It was three years ago that I sat inside a log cabin on Christmas Eve. I couldn't get Bill off my mind. I prayed for him for a long time and watched the sky thinking of my friend sitting out on the cold curb. I started to cry. How could Bill visit and remain for a whole night the very place that held so much loss and abandonement for him? How could he do it? How could he sit there year after year, when I am unable to even let my mind remember the day my father died.
It was at that moment that I knew God wanted to open a door to my heart that I had denied existed for a very long time. God wanted ownership of my heart--all of it. Even the pieces I was unwilling to admit were real.
It took me two years to warm up to the idea of God healing that area of my heart.
And last year, around this time I was able to let go. I went through counseling at my church (Blaine and Rolanda, I love you!) and as I dealt with each layer of pain God removed major shackles off of me.
A year ago ,this month, someone paid for my family and I to go to Thunder Bay. I had the opportunity to share what God was doing in my heart with many family members. I also paid a visit to a place I had not been in years--my father's grave. It was there that I wept the tears that had been silent for so long. It was there that I said goodbye to the pieces and the memories that I was afraid to let go of.
It was there that I came to understand how Bill could sit and even embrace his previous point of pain. Because, there, under the tall pine tree that towers over the cold, stone grave of my father is where I realized that who I know Jesus to be, and the depth of the love I have encountered has been a result of my deepest wound. Only Jesus can understand a mark so deep. Only He can heal a hole so wide. Only He can bring joy from my darkest place.
He is my light. He is my joy. He is my love.
He is my beloved, and I am His.