Tag Archives: cutting

The Cutting

The Cutting

Can she find another space
To make another cut
Can she find another moment
Just to feel okay
Just a fleeting glimpse
Of how it is to feel
To release all the emptiness
Even if for just a second
For nobody is listening
Nobody can understand
What it takes to break the skin
Where a mind is that takes it there
She’s just searching for a feeling
One just to feel okay
For the world has turned it face
Without ever understanding
Just a silly girl they say
Is she crying out of attention
Or just crying for it’s all she feels
All the pictures of this world
Of how she should look
Just twists the mind further
Driving a blade only deeper
Don’t she know she’s beautiful
In the eyes of her Maker
Loved within a Father’s arms
He who cries with every cut
If she just could see His face
Maybe the blade would slowly fall
And those moments pass by
Without a cut at all

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.

Under Blood Red Skies

This morning, despite a problem with my hip, which I will explain in another post, I managed to get out walking again this morning, no inner arguments or excuses, today marks a new start and a new season, so it was time to get walking again, spending time with God and it was a great walk, I came home with numerous ideas for posts I would like to draft, so over the next week hopefully I can get to them.

There wasn’t a great sunrise this morning, but the rising sun did turn the clouds a deep red, at times blood red and at others a fiery red.

Under Blood Red Skies

Under Blood Red Skies

When I looked at the skies I was reminded of two verses, firstly from Matthew 16.

He replied, “When evening comes, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red,’ and in the morning, ‘Today it will be stormy, for the sky is red and overcast.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times.  (Matthew 16:2-3)

Where Jesus has been asked by the Pharisee for a sign from heaven, he talks about the saying which we are all taught at young age, although I know it as…

Red sky at night shepherds delight, red sky in the morning shepherds warning.

But having said that most of the time I find this to be wrong, I have many times walked under red morning skies and found the day to turn out to be great.  When I walked under this sky this morning, I was as far away from the lake as I could be on my walk and wished I had been at the lake to capture the reflection of the clouds upon the lake too.  That started my thinking about a story from the Old Testament that has always intrigued me, this time the signs were definitely interpreted incorrectly.

Now all the Moabites had heard that the kings had come to fight against them; so every man,
young and old, who could bear arms was called up and stationed on the border.22 When they
got up early in the morning, the sun was shining on the water. To the Moabites across the
way, the water looked red—like blood. 23 “That’s blood!” they said. “Those kings must have
fought and slaughtered each other. Now to the plunder, Moab!”24 But when the Moabites
came to the camp of Israel, the Israelites rose up and fought them until they fled. And
the Israelites invaded the land and slaughtered the Moabites.  (2 Kings 3:21-24)

The Moabites just got it wrong, they simply saw the reflection in the water and saw what they wanted to see, not the reality of the situation, they simply saw the sky in the water and jumped to the completely wrong conclusion and this lead to their destruction.

By this time my mind was thinking back to a number of things from last weekend, starting with my poem, Faded Mirror.

FADED MIRROR

I’ve been looking in the faded mirror
The face I see I do not like
I don’t see the one You see

When I see ugly
You see only beauty

When I feel old
You call me child

When I feel alone
Your arm reaches around me

When I see failure
You proclaim my victory

When my scars begin to show
You wipe away my guilt

Forget that old faded mirror
Who I see is not who I’m made to be
Because You created me for greater things

I wrote this partly out of how I have been feeling at times over the last year, but mainly out of deep memories of some of the lowest moments of my life, the times when I looked deep into the mirror and saw only a life not worth living.

As an addict looking back, I guess you never really see the signs of who you are at the time, they’re easy to see now, but when you’re deep in this cycle, while your addiction does everything it can to hide it from those around you, it hides itself from you also.

But there were moments of strange clarity, painful clarity, when you knew who you were, but had no control of how to free yourself.  For me these moments came on Thursday evenings and Sunday afternoons, when I was alone in the house and was forced to stay sober as I had karate later.  I never drank before karate, maybe one pint or so, but never so I couldn’t carry out my duties, I drank after karate, but somehow this was the only thing I really kept sober for.

But being alone in the house brought out my most sinful nature, then I would go to get ready for karate, probably take a bath, but whatever would find myself in the bathroom, facing into the mirror with a penknife in my hand, questioning why I existed at all.

At those moments of sinful guilt, so many thoughts of how I was just a wreck of human being and not worthy of a place on earth, dark thoughts ran through my head, telling me it was time I just ended it all.

EVERYONE WOULD BE BETTER OFF IF I WAS DEAD!

I’M JUST THROWING EVERYTHING AWAY, I’M NOT WORTH IT ANYMORE!

I’M JUST A WASTE OF A LIFE!

IF I’M DEAD THE SYSTEM WILL PROVIDE FOR THEM, BECAUSE I CAN’T ANYMORE!

And so on and so on….

These dark thoughts ran through my head over and over again, there was no light only darkness and death of a life not worth living anymore.

But as the tears fell, there came just one thought that put an end to it all…

“THINK OF YOUR CHILDREN, THEY’RE BETTER OFF WITH YOU AS YOU ARE,
THAN LIVING WITH THE MEMORY OF WHAT THEY’RE GOING TO FIND IF YOU DO THIS!”

Then I knew that my daughter, who then would only be about five or six when all this was happening, would probably be the first person to run up the stairs to look for me, she would find me in the laid in a bath of my own blood.  Oh yes, I had planned it all, cut the wrists, then get in the bath and just wait to die.

But this one thought that I still had two little people that needed me, even like this, broken me, I put down the knife and turned away from the mirror, darkness lifted for a while, until the next time that is, oh yes, there were plenty of next times, but every time the same process, alone, sober, the knife, the darkness, the dark thoughts, then the “think of the kids”, the same cycle every time.

But the worst feeling then was the feeling of nothingness that followed, the hatred for oneself, the self loathing, the limbo I found I was in.

I WAS TOO MUCH OF A COWARD TO LIVE AND TOO MUCH OF A COWARD TO DIE!

I hated that feeling, it hurt, it was painful, it was as though I didn’t belong anywhere anymore.

Somehow I always managed to get in the bath, wash away those feelings for a while and go and do what I needed to do at karate, then afterwards ply myself with as much alcohol as I could.

The last time this happened was the day before I started this journey, the day before I called Gareth and put in place the changes in this life that would see me find God, stop drinking and start a journey I never thought I would ever take.

In that mirror, the reflection I was seeing was a lie, a deception, the darkness was telling me I wasn’t worth it, those voices in my head lied to me, now I know what was happening each and every time.

Over all the dark thoughts that wanted my death, a single voice shouted louder, a whisper in the ear which was heard within the heart not just in the head, a whisper from God saying hang on, there is a life worth leading here, just hang on.

Last weekend a friend from Church, who descended into a depression around the same time as I did last year, discussed how this depression brought him to attempt to take his own life, to cut his wrists, he said to everyone that maybe they wouldn’t understand, but he felt God was holding his wrists, keeping him safe.  Maybe many couldn’t comprehend that, but I could, because I now know that I could never get my hands to move in those moments, I know now that my wrists were being held safe too, I know God held my wrists and whispered in my ear, He did this for me and I didn’t even know Him back then, but He did it anyway.

It seems that like those Moabites, who saw a reflection that deceived them to their death, I saw a reflection that deceived me, I didn’t see what God saw, I saw a life not worth living, He saw one with a great future, I saw a life that was waste to the world, He saw a life that was needed by others.

That day, when I last found myself with that knife in my hand, facing the deception in the mirror, I gave that knife away, I left it on Victoria’s beside table, with a note saying “I don’t need this anymore”.  Though this last time was painful, I felt that nothingness of a life in limbo, afraid to live and afraid to die, I knew that this time it was different, I didn’t know then I was going to call Gareth the next morning, I had asked Victoria to ask if I could speak to him, but I didn’t know what was going to happen, even if I had his number, I doubted I had the strength to actually call him, all I knew was that this cycle wasn’t going to happen again, it couldn’t, this time I thought….

If I couldn’t kill myself, then maybe it’s time to start living.

But that said, when I fell into a depression last year, I had moments, bad moments, moments when death seemed better than living.

At my lowest moments, I didn’t want to go upstairs into the bathroom and cut my wrists, no I saw myself, carving words into my arms, I always saw myself cutting the words “I WILL NEVER BE ENOUGH” deep into my arms, yet once again, as the vision played out, the thought that once again, my young daughter would be the one to look and find me, shut down this thought process, for a while at least, until the next time anyway.

Through November and December, I had trouble sleeping, I just couldn’t sleep, I would lie in bed, pleading with God, not praying, pleading with God not to let me wake up in the morning.  If this was life, I didn’t want to live it.  I wanted Him to take me to heaven now, because I felt nothing here on earth.  Night after night I pleaded to fall into a sleep I would never awake from, because I felt so empty.

I don’t think I have ever told this to anyone, not even my Connect Group or my closest friends at Church, I guess I am ashamed of this memory, ashamed that after everything the Father did for me, I was letting Him down.

He warned me I would fall, He showed me that in a vision, then He showed me that I shouldn’t run away from Him either.  Although I never ran away, I did doubt Him, I argued with Him, I fought Him, I ignored Him, I let Him down, yet He never left my side.

Someday’s I still look in the mirror and feel I’m still “NOT ENOUGH”, but I guess that we all feel that sometimes, I let the mirror deceive me still.

But something changed this weekend.

This time last year, I started my descent into depression, it pretty much started on the week before I went to our Church’s Unleash Men’s Getaway, there I realised I was falling and got the vision of being swallowed by a whale, God was telling me not to runaway, there I began the process of discussing how I was feeling with friends, so I had support as I walked into the deluge that was to wash me away over and over again.

This weekend saw this year’s Unleash Getaway, but this year over the weekend I got the overwhelming feeling that God was telling me, that what started here on this weekend last year, ends this year, my sins are forgotten, the battle, the struggle is over, now it’s time to start walking with Him again.

Which is why, despite the hip pain, I was determined to start walking again this morning and I loved every second of it, the pain faded as I walked in the presence of God.

 YESTERDAY by MAINSTAY
Watch my mind grow legs and wander
What did I expect to find out here, out here?

I am only halfway here tonight
Say that You can take this off of my mind
Every time I go back I realize
That yesterday is never as good as it seems

I’m lost in the feelings that I thought were gone
Come in and make all of their light fade out, it fades out

I am only halfway here tonight
Say that You can take this off of my mind
Every time I go back I realize
That yesterday is never as good as it seems

Oh, make their light fade out
Oh, make their light fade out

I am only halfway here tonight
Say that You can take this off of my mind
Every time I go back I realize
That yesterday is never as good as it seems
Yesterday is never as good as it seems

Falling In The Dark Hours

Everything seemed to be going really well until this evening, a few things just started to go wrong, slowly I found myself getting more and more agitated and eventually becoming very angry.  By the time I got home I just wanted to be alone in the dark, I went straight upstairs out of the way without speaking with anyone, I think Victoria could tell something wasn’t right, but she never said anything.

After I while I came back downstairs, had something to eat and laid down on the settee, but I just began to get further and further wound up.  My breathing was heavy and I sank back into a dark place.

I began to get similar feelings to those that kept coming to me before Christmas, they came back again tonight, I’ve never mentioned them to anyone before, they went away when Christmas passed quietly, but as I say I had them again tonight.  All I wanted to do was to cut something into my left arm, before Christmas I kept wanting to carve “I’ll Never Be Enough”, but tonight it was “I Hate Myself”!  I’ve never self harmed and before the end of last year, never contemplated it.  At Christmas I kept imagining that I would just find myself in a daze on Christmas day with these words cut into my arms, this evening was very similar.

But then something changed, as I laid there I could feel my heart beating hard and then I remembered the words that kept coming to me on Sunday, the words I posted Sunday evening:

Even though I go through all the anxiety, the worry, the stress, the emptiness, the desolation and despair, I’m never alone, but I should believe that when I go through this and my heart beats in double time, it’s not just my heart that’s beating, but the heart of Christ beating alongside mine.

As soon as I began to think about that everything changed, the emptiness and the dark urges ceased almost immediately and I slowly began to pick up.  So less than an hour later I feel much calmer, not as calm and content as last evening, but nowhere near how empty and low I felt earlier this evening.

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.’
Joshua 1:9

WHILE WE SING by LEELAND
I’ve sat by far too long
And I’ve watched the hurting suffer on their own
I have chances everyday
To live like You, die to myself
Give Your love away
And I wonder why I feel so empty inside

While I sing la la la la la la la la la
As the hungry roam the streets
La la la la la la la la la
As the broken are on their knees
La la la la la la la la la
I keep singing

We are frozen, we are still
But we’re called to be a city on a hill
And as our melodies resound
We cannot hear the silent cry
This world is screaming out
And we wonder why we feel so empty inside

While we sing la la la la la la la la la
As the hungry roam the streets
La la la la la la la la la
As the broken are on their knees
La la la la la la la la la
We keep singing

Remember salvation’s day
When Jesus washed our sins away
The lost are crying out to be saved

While we sing la la la la la la la la la
As the hungry roam the streets
La la la la la la la la la
As the broken are on their knees
La la la la la la la la la
We keep singing
But just a song won’t heal
The bleeding wound
Church wake up
We’re sleeping in an empty tomb

Church arise, arise and shine
Shake yourself from the dust
God is calling us to go

Share Your Story

Sometime my evenings don’t pan out the way I would like them, yesterday evening was no different.  I set out to reply to comments, I got to only the second comment from Lori Lara on my last post and was viewing her Blog when I came across this post: 39 Minutes That Will Change Your Life. A note in her post said to skip to 25 minutes in if you don’t have time to watch the whole message, so I did.

Watch – Share Your Story, Shawn Johnson, Red Rocks Church

The message was such that after it had finished playing, I went back and played it again from the start.  If you not seen it, it is well worth watching, you won’t be disappointed.

I know I have a strong testimony for what God has done in my life.  I know on here, hidden behind my keyboard and an IP address I can’t write about my story in detail, no problem there, in Church and in our Connect Group I have spoken at length about my story, but outside of that, I guess I keep hiding, that’s where I have to start making changes.

My story and experience has helped a troubled youngster before, the circumstances then were such that I experienced both great elation that I could help, but I was scared at the way it all unfolded, the experience took me by surprise.

That experience all started around the time I started this blog, back in September/October last year I had started walking every morning, when I walk and especially on the long walks of 13 miles or so, I go through a lot of things in my mind, sometimes daydreaming, sometimes working things out and sometimes praying.  One Saturday morning whilst walking in my head I went through a conversation with a member of our youth, the conversation took place in our Church, in the main hall after a service on Sunday morning, the long and the short of it was that this youngster told me they had been struggling with things and indeed self harming, in the vision I had been able to help through me experience of addiction and moments of deep despair and suicide, then that was it, I moved on to thinking about something else.

That was until the following Saturday, whilst walking again, I went through the same conversation in my head, this time a different youngster, but essentially the same conversation, same place, same time, just different person.  This happened again the next week, as far as I can remember it happened three times, same conversation, just a different person each time.

Then in November, on a Sunday morning after service, I began a conversation with a young girl I’ve known since she was very young, I know her family and knew that her parents had recently split, in the course of the conversation she told me that she indeed had been struggling with that and had been self harming for sometime.  We talked for sometime and I tried to help as best I could.

The next morning whilst walking it hit me what had happened, that I had been seeing this vision of the conversation the day before for sometime, I had been prepared for it, even though I was complete unprepared for who this youngster was, that moment of realisation hit me hard and I was shell shocked, I was in tears, firstly for this young girl and secondly because I didn’t know what was happening to me.

I spoke with Sarah at out Church, firstly she is one of the Child Protection Officers at the Church, so I had to report the conversation and secondly she was one of the leaders of the course I was attending at Church, she helped me realise that I was given these visions through the holy spirit and that I had been prepared to help this girl. It took a number of phone calls and discussions with Sarah and also James to understand what was happening and why, I can honestly say I was “Freaked Out” at first, but when I got my head around it all, as it all unfolded, those feelings changed.

Over the coming weeks I had a number of conversations with this girl, I encouraged her to pray when she had the urge to cut, told her how it had helped me when I was struggling with the urges to drink and indulge in other vices that I had suffered from in my dark years.  I told her about my suicide moments and how to remove that temptation, I had handed over my penknife to Victoria, removed the urge by removing the implement, I encouraged her to hand over her blade to her Youth Group leader and to speak with her leader further about her problems.

I was trying to help as much as I could, I hoped I was doing the right thing and not making the situation worse.  Then a few weeks after the initial conversation, I attended my midweek course at Church, this week the young girl attended as well, it was here she said she wanted to give me something, I thought I had a good idea what it was too.

I was right, she handed me a small tin, within this tin was a number of items, including a blade from a pencil sharpener, various broken bits of plastic and other items, it was quite obvious she had used these to cut herself with, some of the bits still had blood on them.

It was an amazing feeling that I had actually helped, that I had made a difference in this young girls life, when many around her just didn’t understand her need or her urge to cut, to self harm, that through my experience, although different, I was help to reach out to her to help her.

But not only that, but that God had used me and the darkness within which I had walked to help someone else.

As Shawn says in his preach, we may not have all the answers, but we know what God has done for us, like the verse in the Bible he used to illustrate this, people were saved because she believed.  So after this episode of my life and journey, then seeing this video last night, I began to question myself, why am I hiding again and how can I use my story in a way in which I can help others. 

Now I’ve just got to work that out for myself, do I just wait to be pointed in the right direction or just go out there and do it, stay comfortable or take a leap out of my comfort zone?

During our conversations I told this girl how a song had helped me in my early days, I suggested she listen to a song, this one, when things were hard to put this on, which she did.

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 has 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 to 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

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 too
This is not about what you build
But what He built to forgive you
And what He built to make you know

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

Unexpected Gifts

Last night I received an unexpected gift, it’s a gift I will never display, a gift I will never use, in fact it’s a gift no one will ever use again, but a gift that I was overwhelmed to receive, a gift I will never forget.

In a way it doesn’t seem right to call it a gift, I guess you can call it a gesture, both a token of thanks and a goodbye to the giver’s old world, banishing part of a painful temptation from within their life, releasing them from a dangerous burden.

It’s only a small box with an assortment of items and a note of thanks, a box of everyday items that tortured a young soul, but no longer, their previous owner has learnt to pray for help, learnt to admit their weakness and ask God to help them rise above it, their old habit is still haunting them, but they are fighting and it will get better.

So this random assortment of items, which were the source of so much pain and temptation have been handed over, given up, no longer needed and can cause no more harm.

You can come as you are
With all your broken pieces
And all your shameful scars
(Come As You Are by Pocket Full Of Rocks)

Our God is great, we can come as we are, with all our broken pieces and all our shameful scars, he will still love us, no matter what.