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April 10, 2019 | Mysti Jordan
It's been four years since a medication-related breakdown landed me in the hospital. I was admitted almost twenty-four hours after a horrifying moment where I was posied to take my own life. The only reason I'm here to tell this story is because God spoke to me in that moment, telling me it wasn't my time, that He had so much more for me, that there was a bigger picture, even if I couldn't see it just yet.
During our staff meetings here at Star, we take turns sharing devotionals, and it so happened that I was scheduled to address my co-workers that Monday morning. In typical Mysti fashion, my fear of letting others down drove me to pull out my iPad and start to write something that someone else could read for me in my absence. This is what poured out of my heart in the wee hours of the morning, typing with shaking hands as tears streamed down my face.
(Please note that so many of these questions have been answered and that my healing has been pieced together for me in recent months. I'll share the story of my miracle afterward. Reading back over this today, I marvel at what God was doing when I couldn't see it, and what the work He has continued to perform in my life.)
"Devotions are mine today. Color me reliable (she said sarcastically). I am not here to deliver them. I'm probably sitting in a doctor's office somewhere, shaking my foot as hard as I can, looking at either the floor or the window, fighting not to cry, because crying is just about the most embarrassing thing I could do. If I cry, it means I'm suffering. If I cry, it means I've caved.
If I cry, it means I'm human.
I don't know about you, but there are times I can convince myself that I'm just about anything BUT human. I'm a productive member of society. I get things done. I make stuff happen. I smile and say hi, or I wave when I see you down the hall. "How are you, Mysti?" people ask. "I'm great! Things are awesome! Couldn't be better!" Or I say some version of that, anyway. Who needs to be human when you fly through your day on autopilot, not letting your guard down? Who needs to be human when I can convince a listener that I'm SO VERY HAPPY? Or, better yet, convince my husband when I walk in the door that there's not some piece of me dying behind my smile?
Who needs to be human when I can close my eyes and thank God for stuff that, when you get right down to it, I'm too dead inside to really appreciate? I would rather spend my time praying for other people, because they are somehow deserving of the prayers that I cannot pray for myself.
I forget so easily that God is more than just a little aware that I'm human. I forgot that God sees me hiding behind the mountain of "stuff" I create to occupy my mind so that I don't feel like this broken shell of a person. I forget that He loves me, even in my brokenness - if not THE MOST in my brokenness.
And when I finally break and point my finger upward and ask Him WHY He's allowing this to happen to ME, the non-human who puts on her pretend superhero cape each day and blazes out into the world to BE SOMEONE BE SOMETHING DO SOMETHING MAKE THINGS HAPPEN DO IT NOW BEFORE SOMEONE SEES THE REAL YOU.
I have never gotten an answer, mind you. Not audibly, anyway. But...maybe the answer lives in my avoidance. Perhaps it's God's way of saying, "You're a pretty silly girl. I created you. You think I don't know what's going on here, kiddo?" (Weirdly enough, God sounds like my grandpa in my head. Hence, the "kiddo.") It's in these moments when I'm so messed up that I start to doubt God's very existence that I seem to encounter Him the most. Because when I ask, "WHY?" and there's no answer, He envelops the empty blackness. He's nowhere and He's everywhere, and I don't think that it's that He doesn't have the answer. I think it's that He can't share it with me yet.
I don't know if I believe this even as I write it, but logic tells me I have a purpose. Two nights ago, I lay in bed and prayed for my heart to just stop. I felt useless. I felt unimportant. I felt alone. I said, "If You love me, You'll take me."
His answer, it seems, was, "I love you, so you're going to wake up tomorrow. Because I have things planned for you that you would laugh about if I tried to share it with you now."
And, sure enough, I woke up. And it still hurt. Again, I asked why. Again, no answer.
What came to mind, though, was something that a former Bible study leader shared in a small group in California. She worked for a med spa, and one of the treatments that she went through was a very intense laser peel that, essentially, just burns the top layer of your face right off. It sounds brutal because it is. You have to hide away from the sun like a vampire afterward, because the tiniest bit of UV will damage what's left of that fragile layer of your face.
The procedure did the job, though,and years of acne scarring were made significantly better once that new layer of skin formed and healed. Her pictures were put into a "before and after" album to showcase the results to potential customers. The questions she received were always the same. "WHY would you do that to yourself? Why were you the guinea pig?!"
Over the months, her answer was what you'd expect her to say. "I wanted to show the effectiveness of the procedure. I know the quality of work done here at this med spa."
Then, one day, someone asked her the question she'd heard so many times already, and when she opened her mouth to reply, something unexpected came out.
"Because they needed my scars."
She said it was in that moment that she felt God say the same thing to her. She had been going through so much personal emotional pain that was tearing her family apart at the seams, and she had no idea why it was happening to her.
It was simple, though. God needed her scars.
She said she realized that so much of the time, when we're asking, "Why is this happening to me? Why are you doing this to ME?" God is looking down the timeline of your life, and He sees that one person, or those two or three people, or five hundred people who will benefit from the triumph and victory that will be yours in Him.
People need our scars. Everyone is looking for a place to invest some hope. What greater hope than a Savior who loves you enough to be with you and heal you? What greater hope than the very One who created the universe reaching His hand down to you in a moment of need?
I have no clue what's on my timeline. I don't know who will need my scars. But I have them. And if I'm constantly trying to hide them, God's full glory can never be unleashed in my broken pieces.
Whatever your scars are today, show 'em off. Be human. You're here. You're breathing. You're fighting through another day. And, even if you don't know it, someone will look at you today, and tomorrow, and the next day, and find the will to keep going because your struggle and your faith has inspired their hope."
(Four years after writing this, my healing has come!)