Monday was my birthday – my 36th birthday. Yes, I know it’s hard to believe, but I really am 36 years old. Most single ladies around my age are not so quick to share this information, but I don’t feel the need to hide it. Why should I? Is there some shame in the fact that I’ve lived another year? Of course not. Should I feel bad that (as far as I’m aware) the man amazing enough to win my heart hasn’t found me yet? No way! I know that he’s looking, and I know that when he finds me, we’ll both be blessed. I admit, there are times when I wish he’d hurry up already; but overall, I’m really happy with my life. So, why would I hide my age? Okay… I will also admit that being born with fantastically youthful genes doesn’t hurt my confidence at all. However, even if someone didn’t think I was turning 24 this year instead of 36 (yes, this actually happened), I still don’t think I would hide my age. Now, I’ve completely gone off on a tangent, because this post isn’t even about my birthday. It’s actually about Sunday, the day before my birthday.
Sunday was an incredible day for me. It was incredibly difficult, incredibly emotional, incredibly healing, incredibly validating… incredibly amazing! I woke up that morning with some things on my mind that I hadn’t really thought about in many months. I struggled with these thoughts and the corresponding emotions, on and off, all day long. You see, something happened one year ago, in the beginning of May, a couple of weeks before my birthday. A difficult season in my life, a year-and-a-half marked by trauma, finally came to an end. (I won’t give details here. Only God completely knows and understands what happened; and I intend to keep it that way. Although, I’m sure a few of my closer friends have an idea).
Some seasons are particularly stormy. Relief comes when a hurricane ends, but then it’s also time to deal with all the aftermath. In my case, that meant facing and confronting my own feelings of hurt, fear, anger, and betrayal, so that I could receive some healing. As scary as it was, I jumped in with both feet; and progressively, over time, things got better and better. I didn’t even think about it anymore – until Sunday that is. Sunday, I remembered. In retrospect, it would have been better for me to remember the theme of the previous Sunday’s message, “Don’t Look Back” – because maybe then, this wouldn’t have been such a struggle. Maybe then, I could have more easily mustered the strength to shut down the unproductive thought-spiral that I found myself spinning around in.
As I looked back at the past, I came face to face with my unresolved pain. I thought about friendships that were damaged in the storm, specifically a few that still have not been fully restored to what they once were. I was angry that I had experienced this, and I blamed myself for being too trusting. I thought, “I didn’t come here with any walls up, but maybe I should have. Maybe if I wasn’t so welcoming… Maybe if I wasn’t so open and trusting, then I wouldn’t have had to go through all of this pain. Maybe it would be better – smarter – if I just put up some walls. Then maybe I won’t ever have to experience something like this again. Who is going to protect me, if I won’t protect myself?” At that moment, I had pretty much resolved to try to build some walls of protection around myself. This truly grieved me, because it’s really not like me to shut people out. If anyone wants to know something about me, all they ever have to do is ask. I’m pretty candid about things, for the most part.
As much as I wanted to forget everything, I just couldn’t shake it. I prayed something like, “God, You know what I’m struggling with today. I need Your help. I need to hear from You. I need a word. Please help me!” When I got to church in the evening, I threw myself into worship, determined to break free. After worship, Heidi delivered a prophetic word for the congregation. It was all about tearing down walls and repenting for walls that people have between each other due to offenses. When she said, “There is no excuse for having walls,”
I knew that God was telling me, “NO – You are not allowed to build any walls. So, don’t even try.”
I received the message, loud and clear, and repented for wanting to protect myself rather than relying on God for protection. After Heidi spoke, Femi preached. Then this man, Greg, came forward who had prophesied over Heather R. and Leah the previous Sunday. He said that he had a prophetic word for “the young lady who was sitting next to Leah last week” and he asked who that was. As I raised my hand, I could hear Leah’s voice from the balcony, “It was Angela!”
Greg began by saying that he prayed for me all week long, spent at least 20 hours in prayer over this word, and that he wanted everyone to know that he doesn’t take this lightly because “it’s someone’s life.” He spoke with such seriousness that I began to get nervous. I didn’t know this man, had no idea what he might say, and was half bracing myself to receive some kind of public rebuke; but the word that he delivered spoke into my situation perfectly. There was a lot to it, but here’s the basic gist of it all… He spoke of trauma that I experienced, and God’s desire to heal me from the remaining wounds. He spoke of the kind of trust necessary to go to the places I want to go in God and do the things I want to do – that God wants to take me there, but I need to walk in a deeper level of trust. He spoke of restoration – that God is going to restore all that the locust has stolen. And he spoke of adventure – reminding me of something I once felt called to, and reawakening a dream in me that I had long given up on. It was exactly what I needed. God is so good! I went home that evening refreshed, encouraged and with a new resolve to trust more and live a life without walls.
I challenge you to examine your own heart, and ask the Lord if there are any walls that need to be torn down. If you’re walking through a difficult season, or struggling with something, don’t hesitate to cry out to God for help. He loves you, and He knows exactly what you need.
“The Lord is righteous in all his ways and loving toward all he has made. The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth. He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them. The Lord watches over all who love him.” – Psalm 145:17-20a