This one has been a tough one to write. Not because of the subject matter – actually, after Mark’s message on Sunday I bounded up to Suzie and asked if I could write this week’s blog! But because of what it’s taken to get to this point.
As many of you know, last year at Shine Conference I shared my testimony of recovering from the guilt & shame of my past. Mental health torment that I had carried with me following an abortion many years earlier, that I was finally free from, thanks to God being super incredible and also having the love and support of Coastside Church.
Ever since that day, I’ve felt a nagging urge to help women who are hurting following decisions they made in their past, particularly in this same area. I’d been approached by around 10 women who I have been able to speak with, encourage and then pray for since then. Then a few weeks ago, I saw a Facebook post from an INC Pastor about some changes that were being proposed to the abortion laws in NSW. I commented briefly and honestly about my experience (the first time I had done so out of the safety of our church or my immediately family), and was contacted by this Pastor asking if I would write a guest post for his blog.
I said yes immediately and it was written within 24 hours. I just knew I had to get it down, just in case it helped just one person – either someone who was currently in a difficult situation and needed someone to encourage her, or just one tormented woman who like me was living in shame and distress.
When the post was published, within 24 hours it had been read by over 1000 people, shared 20+ times on Facebook and was one of the highest rating blogs on his website. I was receiving messages from women who were struggling in this area. Also within 24 hours, things started to get really tough in my world.
Panic attacks, depression and anxiety I hadn’t experienced in MONTHS came back with a vengeance. My whole family fell ill. Unexpected bills we couldn’t afford arrived. Major dramas occurred in my job. Kids were playing up on a global scale. It didn’t – and actually still hasn’t – let up.
By Saturday night, sick in bed I said ok I’m done, I don’t think I can keep trying to reach out to people if I have to fight like this.
And then. Sunday morning came, and brought with it my new favourite message ever from Pastor Mark. Here was my top verse, found in Galatians 6:9
“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”
DON’T GIVE UP!! You’ve got this!
You know what happened right when this was being preached? I received a text message from a beautiful woman I know. A gentle, stunning Christian woman who I hold in such high regard. And she thanked me for sharing my story, and told me that she now has hope she’ll be able to head down the path of forgiveness in this same area, because the shame and guilt is destroying her.
Well. Talk about a clear sign. I cried my way through the rest of the message and left smudgy ink marks all over my journal.
Things may not be easy, but that doesn’t mean they’re not right. Pushing through areas of pain may bring with it pain or tough experiences, but the fruit of your labour is sweet.
One wonderful lady who wrote to me recently shared with me this verse, which I’ve now taken as being meant just for me!
“Don’t you see, you planned evil against me, but God used those same plans for good, as you see all around you right now – life for many people.”
Are you struggling with pushing through in any area, and feel like giving up? Do you have beautiful dreams that you feel like throwing away because it’s just getting too hard? There are a bunch of incredible women here at Coastside who would love to stand and encourage you, support you & love you. You’re amazing, we are here for you and believe in you. Oh and totes listen to Mark’s message, then listen to it again. And then go and tell him about how flipping awesome it was.
Love ya lots,
Oh PS – If you would like the link to either my video testimony or the blog post, please message me.