Many of you might not have known this but I left home at 18 years old. I remember that day so vividly and it brings me to tears every time…
I look back on my life during that time and am quickly to think “Man, I wish I didn’t leave.” But then I am reminded of how that season in my life played a HUGE role of where I am today. Why I am still here today.
I think a lot of us look at others who seem to be making the same mistakes we did when we were younger. We look at others lives and instantly become heartbroken because we have been there. We know what the life they are choosing leads to. The pain and hurt that individual will experience if they choose to keep going down that path. But we nonchalantly forget, “THAT WAS ME”.
For the past few days I have distinctly heard the Lord “You need to write about this. Not everything but just enough that I may penetrate this persons heart.” I didn’t want to because it is always a touchy subject. Especially when the “person” can be someone so close to your heart. To be honest, I don’t know who this is for, all I know is that it had to be written.
The day I left home, was the same day I was now living 8 hours away from my family and friends. It was a weekend. One of my brothers had a basketball tournament. I left shortly after the game once we got home. I can visualize his face so perfectly it hurts. He sat there asking me “why?” and all I could say was “Because, it’s just time for me to go. Mom and dad are too strict!” He begged me over and over again to not go. As he cried he said “Please don’t go Bee, you’re going to ruin your life.” You would think that would be enough for me to stay. That seeing the pain in his face and hearing the brokenness in his voice would be what I needed to choose to stay. Sadly, it wasn’t and the next 6 months of my life were a living hell. I just didn’t see it as that until after the fact.
You see, my brother witnessed me make a decision that even he knew would not be good for me. He saw me leave home for a guy I though I was going to spend forever with. He probably looked at the choice I made and instantly felt as if he were less important, less loved. I choose a guy over my family. I portrayed to my brother that this person I was about to live with was worth putting him through the heartache. I made a decision based off selfishness and nothing else. I lived this life because at the time I thought it was exactly what I wanted.
There is something about hurting the ones closest to you that leaves an everlasting impression. But you see, I didn’t see it at the time. I was blinded by my own fleshly desires. I was distracted and enticed by this life dangling in front of my face of “freedom” and “love”. Right now, there is someone in my life who I feel is in a similar position. Not the exact same but similar. My heart breaks because I see the “me” I was in this story in them. I sometimes wish I could play a short film of those 6 months in hopes that it might open their eyes. That maybe, just maybe this person could see what I went through. But truth is, I can’t. We can’t. All we can do is speak how we feel and pray that God would protect them and pour out His mercy & grace on the person.
I chose to learn the hard way. I deliberately chose to keep living a life I knew deep down inside was wrong but couldn’t get myself to leave. I don’t know if it was the guilt, shame or disgust I felt that held me down but I stayed until God intervened. All I know is that when we see a person we love so much slowly turning into someone you no longer recognize, it’s painful. You just want to grab their shoulders and yell in their face “WAKE UP!!!”. But you and I both know they are set in their ways and will have to hit rock bottom in order to make the change. You get on your knees and pray like never before that they would be protected. That Jesus would take the pain and hurt they are about to face and give it to you instead because you KNOW how badly it hurts. You would much rather ask Jesus to inflict what that person is about to go through right on you because you love them that much. At one point in my life I was that person. At one point in my life I had to hit rock bottom in order to get myself to finally look up. At one point in my life I allowed fear to run my life because I didn’t want to deal with the pain. But Jesus came for me once again and saved me from a life filled with nothing but lies and depression. Though I was living a life full of sin, Jesus still had His hand of protection over me.
So if that is you, or if you know someone who seems to just be living a lie, DON’T STOP PRAYING. DON’T STOP LOVING THEM. DON’T STOP BELIEVING THERE IS HOPE. And whatever you do, NEVER STOP BEING THERE FOR THEM. Allow yourself to remember that season in your life when YOU were in the same position and TRUST that God will bring them back. But also remember that their redemption might not look exactly like yours. Allow God to work in that person’s life as He worked in yours.
“As the snow and rain that fall from heaven
do not return until they have accomplished their purpose,
soaking the earth and causing it to sprout with new life,
providing seed to sow and bread to eat.
So also will be the word that I speak;
it does not return to me unfulfilled.
My word performs my purpose
and fulfills the mission I sent it out to accomplish.”
For you will leave your exile with joy
and be led home wrapped in peace.
The mountains and hills in front of you will burst into singing
and the trees of the field will applaud!”
Isaiah 55:10-12 (TPT)