The Story So Far – Chapter 12 – What Just Happened?

CHAPTER 12 – WHAT JUST HAPPENED?

Sometime during September 2012 I came across a fan website for the band Tenth Avenue North and came across a story I had read before, the story that had inspired my actions back on the 18th March 2012, when I gave up the penknife that had tortured me in my lowest moments.

The story was about a girl in America that had suffered from self harm, but after listening to one of Tenth Avenue North’s songs was inspired to fight back.  She had stopped cutting herself and at festival had approached the lead singer of the band, she handed him a razor blade, on the wrapper was the number of days since she had last used it.  I had seen this story on the band’s Facebook page a year or so before and remembered being moved by the story then.  On that day when the demons where trying to destroy me, I thought of that story when I had seemingly defeated them, that story inspired me to give away that blade, I didn’t need it anymore after that day, because I wasn’t going to let those demons try to destroy me anymore.

From that website I found my way onto this girl’s blog and was amazed by the way she shared her story and used it to help inspire others, I was intrigued by how she shared all the good times and the bad.  Over the next week or so I began to feel that I could do something like that, the idea interested me, but I didn’t know where to start.  After a week I looked at a couple of blogging websites and researched how to get going, but I did nothing about it.

Then I went as far as planning what I was intending to write in my head as I walked, all that walking was brilliant thinking time, I came up with a number of ideas, but again I did nothing with them.  A week or so later I actually started typing some of those ideas into my computer, I prepared a number of different potential posts, then I left them, I had this fear of sharing something so intimate.  I had shared my story in the quiet one on ones with people, I had stood on stage in a moment of spontaneity, a moment that was really nothing like my normal self, back on the day I was baptised, but suddenly a fear of exposing feelings I wanted to remain buried rose to the surface, so I left them as they were.

Then early on the morning of Saturday 6th October 2012, I was walking my normal route before work, as usual I had my iPod on as I walked.  As I returned home, a song came on that I had only recently purchased, I remember hearing it when I brought it and liking it, but I hadn’t heard it since, but all of a sudden, it had me in tears.

I still to this day cannot explain why these lyrics reduced me to tears….

Whatever the cost
Whether it works out or not
Whatever the cost
Whether it works out or not
I’ll follow you with my heart

But I knew that I was being asked to step out of my fear, I knew I was holding onto something out of fear, but now whatever the cost to my own self consciousness I felt I was being told to stop holding on, to let go and share my story, let God use it for the help of others.  The tears that morning came with that same feeling inside that I had back on that baptism day, the freezing feeling inside, when I got that I knew I had to listen, the Father was speaking and I was to step outside of myself and share my experiences of Him.

So later that day after work and karate, I registered for a site on the blogging site WordPress and started The Bottom of A Bottle, I wrote a post called the Precipice, after the song that had awoke my spirit that morning and pushed me to stop hiding and share my story.  Over the coming weeks I began sharing the articles that I had already prepared, together with planning and writing about my other experiences and feelings that had brought me to where I was at that point in my life.

I had really not written anything since I was back at school, apart from the odd letter at my various jobs, but never something where I had to be so open and write in a way that made my complex thoughts easy to identify with.  I had started journaling back in March and actually when I read back some of those pages I had written back then, I was actually surprised by what had been written and not necessarily the content, but the way and the style in which I had written it, I didn’t believe I was capable of writing in that way.  Back in school I had written stories for English classes, but never really enjoyed it, I wrote them out of necessity rather than enjoying or connecting with what I was writing, all of a sudden I was doing both, I was thoroughly enjoying writing for the first time in my life.

The blog took a while to take off and gather followers, over the coming weeks it started slowly, but steadily grew and continues to grow.  As time went by I began trying new things to, even beginning to write and appreciate poetry.

Then one Saturday morning later in October, I remember being out walking before work and as I walked I began running through a scenario in my mind, a conversation I was having with someone, I don’t know how it started or what I was thinking of before, but this scene starting playing out in my mind as I walked.

I began picturing a scene where I was in Church and started having a conversation with one of the teenage girls, in the course of the conversation she proceeded to confide in me that she had been struggling with self harm and been cutting herself.  Then following on from the initial conversation I had managed to convince her to stop and hand over her razor blade to me at a later date.

I didn’t really know what this had to do with me, I knew who the girl was that I was having the conversation with, but I would never have suspected that this might be happening to her or how I could help in this situation, I put it down to a rather weird daydream and left it at that.

Then the next Saturday morning, the same thing happened again, while walking I began imagining having a similar conversation, in the exact same position in our Church, but with a different teenage girl this time around.  Once again I knew the girl, but once more couldn’t get my head round that this maybe happening to them, once more I put it down to another weird daydream and that was that.

But this happened one more time the next week, as before at the same point of my walk, always on a Saturday morning, always taking place in the same part of Church and always a similar conversation and outcome, but each time a different girl.  What it all meant, I didn’t know and if I’m honest I didn’t question it, it made me a little conscious of the situation in Church each Sunday, but in the end I put it to the back of my mind as a silly reoccurring daydream, in a mind that was playing tricks on me.

At the end of October I signed up to go away on a weekend retreat with some of the other guys from our Church Campuses, a week or so before I got a message from James asking if I minded taking part in an interview to discuss my testimony, which would take place before the other guys, of course I agreed.  It took place as part of the first session of the weekend and I really enjoyed every part of it.  I got to talk about things that I maybe hadn’t discussed in other situations, I didn’t fear speaking in front of all these people, there were about seventy guys there, many I knew, but also many from the other campuses that I had never met, but over the course of the two days I got to know so many and found each and every one of them to be so supportive and encouraging.  I thoroughly enjoyed the weekend and in sharing my story I felt a kind of freedom that I hadn’t felt before, being able to release a few things that I had been holding in, even being in such an intimate setting was such a help, I left that place feeling so encouraged by everything.  I remember in the last meeting of the weekend, Justin one of our Pastors, encouraging us to go away from there and ask God what it was we could do for Him, to ask Him to use us to build His kingdom, I remember that night when I was at home making that prayer, asking God to use me for His purposes.

The next morning at Church, something happened though which shook me, big time.  After a very encouraging service, the leader of our A.V. Team asked me to join them, which I immediately agreed to, I remember feeling really pleased and excited to be asked.  I then set about helping put the chairs away after the service.

I found myself in a particular part of the Church which I had seen in my weird daydreams, that I had been experiencing over the previous few weeks and then it happened, not that I realised what was happening at the time.

I was approached by a young girl, a girl I had known since she was young, I was a friend of her parents, although they didn’t actually attend Church, but I had been a family friend for a long time.  We started a conversation, I knew her parents had recently split and that she had been struggling with the changes, as many young kids do when families split.  But during the conversation she began to tell me how she had been self harming, how when she was really low she would cut herself.  At this point I didn’t really think about what I had been seeing in my mind over the previous month, but I approached the conversation calmly and tried to be as helpful as I could.  We talked for a while, I tried to make some suggestions that I thought may help, including telling her of the story of the girl who handed over her razorblade after hearing a song by Tenth Avenue North, I told her which song and suggested maybe she should check it out.

I remember walking home really upset, primarily because I had known this girl for so long, I knew what was happening in the family and I knew there were problems there, problems common to any family breakup, but although I had tried to help, I felt a little helpless, I didn’t know what to do.

But it wasn’t until I went for my walk the next morning when the reality of the situation actually hit me, that this had been what I been experiencing, this conversation, almost exactly like what I had been seeing, in the exact same place in Church, this girl I hadn’t seen in my visions, each time it had been a different girl, but never this one, the only thing I wasn’t prepared for was how close I was to the situation, but everything else I had seen in my mind, not just once, it wasn’t a case of Déjà vu as they call it, it was more than that and it was freaking me out.

I had so many mixed emotions that I didn’t know what to do, I had two big issues which were really getting to me, firstly what could I do with this situation to help the girl and her family understand each other and put an end to her self-harm, then secondly why had I seen all this, what were all these vision I had been having about, why were they so vivid and why were they so accurate, more importantly why me!

I cried and I prayed as I walked, I asked  for some kind of prompting as to what was going on and what it was I could do about it, I was in a state of shock as to what had happened, I was basically freaked out.

When I got home, I went to Victoria, I explained what had happened and said I didn’t know what to do about it.  She said I had a duty to report it to one of the Child Protection Officers for the Church, as she was minor and the conversation had taken place on Church property, she told me who they were.  I had actually been attending a course at Church with one of the ladies that Victoria mentioned, so I asked for her number and said I would call her later that evening.

The course I had been attending with Sarah had recently covered the fruits of the spirit, I didn’t at that point have a clue what was going on, why I was seeing what I had seen and how all this had come together in the way that it had, as I said I was well and truly freaked out by it all!

That night I explained everything to Sarah, she was immensely calming, about both the situation with the girl and the visions that I had been happening.  I came to understand that I had been prepared for that moment, prepared for that discussion, I had been chosen to help, I may not have felt ready for that, but what did that matter, if the Lord felt I was, then who was I to argue!

Over the coming weeks I tried to be as supportive to the girl as possible, mediate a little between her and the family, trying to help both sides understand the other’s feelings.  I then sat in Church and watched as this young girl was baptised a few weeks later.

Then on the last evening of the course I had been attending at Church, this girl showed up, she asked for a quiet word and the proceeded to hand me a small tin.  Contained within the tin were all the implements that she had used to cut herself, I knew what it was as soon as she handed it to me, I didn’t need to ask, I didn’t need to look inside to know what was in there, I knew from that very moment that everything now that had been within my visions had now come to pass, I finally knew exactly what I had been needed to do and that I had achieved it.  I informed Sarah after the class what had happened, but she already knew, the girl had told her all about it too.

The way that whole situation came about is still one of mystery to me, even though I understand it, I am still amazed by the way God worked within that situation, how it all came to pass.  At the time I was seeing these conversations, always pretty much the same, always on a Saturday, always at roughly the same place in my walk, then for it all to play out in reality, for it all come together and the outcome to match the vision, it was just amazing, I really felt the power of God and the Holy Spirit in my life at that time, I had never understood these powers ever before.

Although we had been discussing the gifts of the spirit, in the course with Nick and Sarah, right in the middle of me having these visions, I never attributed them to the Holy Spirit, just my crazy mind running away with itself, as it is prone to do, I have a weird and wonderful imagination at times, I can be a daydreamer, I just put it down to that, never for a moment thinking it had anything to do with God or what I was being called to do.  It wasn’t until I spoke with Sarah, the night after it all started to come together, that she made me see that it wasn’t just coincidence or my mind or my imagination, it was a calling, a gift, the Holy Spirit working through me.

That morning of the actual conversation, would I have remained that calm and composed, had I not seen it all before, definitely not, I would never have known what to say or do.  But even going way back beyond these visions, the way the story about the Girl with the razorblade kept coming back to me, the way it wound itself into my story, to help me and then to help others, I began to understand that all of this was for a purpose, I may not have know it at the time, but it wasn’t by chance I had come across this story or remembered it in my lowest spot and stumbled across it just a matter of days before I started seeing all of this, none of it was coincidence, but by design, the Lord’s design, His plan.

YOU ARE MORE by TENTH AVENUE NORTH
There’s a girl in the corner
With tear stains on her eyes
From the places she’s wandered
And the shame she can’t hide

She says, “How did I get here?
I’m not who I once was.
And I’m crippled by the fear
That I’ve fallen too far to love”

But don’t you know who you are,
What’s been done for you?
Yeah don’t you know who you are?

You are more than the choices that you’ve made,
You are more than the sum of your past mistakes,
You are more than the problems you create,
You’ve been remade.

Well she tries to believe it
That she’s been given new life
But she can’t shake the feeling
That it’s not true tonight

She knows all the answers
And she’s rehearsed all the lines
And so she’ll try to do better
But then she’s too weak to try

But don’t you know who you are?

You are more than the choices that you’ve made,
You are more than the sum of your past mistakes,
You are more than the problems you create,
You’ve been remade.

You are more than the choices that you’ve made,
You are more than the sum of your past mistakes,
You are more than the problems you create,
You’ve been remade.

‘Cause this is not about what you’ve done,
But what’s been done for you.
This is not about where you’ve been,
But where your brokenness brings you to

This is not about what you feel,
But what He felt to forgive you,
And what He felt to make you loved.

You are more than the choices that you’ve made,
You are more than the sum of your past mistakes,
You are more than the problems you create,
You’ve been remade.

You are more than the choices that you’ve made,
You are more than the sum of your past mistakes,
You are more than the problems you create,
You’ve been remade.

You’ve been remade
You’ve been remade.
You’ve been remade.
You’ve been remade.

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