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Torn Down and Saved

Posted on: August 14th, 2012 by Laurie Coombs 18 Comments

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Nine years after my dad’s death, Jesus brought me to my knees. You would think that the murder itself would have gotten me there, but no. I’m pretty stubborn. Yet, God’s mercy and grace is certainly bigger than me and my resistance.

During this time, Travis and I got married, and we had two beautiful, healthy little girls. I was truly blessed. Aside from the murder, I was living the life that I had always dreamed of. Travis and I were happy together, and we loved our girls. Yet, I was still without God.

Though I was never at the point that I was able to say with absolute certainty that God is not real, I highly doubted his existence. And so, I was the highest authority in my own life.  I was the one in control. I was the one who defined what was right or wrong in the world, based upon my own “sovereign” moral compass.  I was, in essence, my own god.  The truth of God’s existence, in my mind, was ultimately unattainable.  One could not possibly know of God’s existence nor could one accurately assess the divinity of this “Jesus” figure. There is no proof, I thought. Nothing to back it up.  And I sure wasn’t going to be one of those “blind faith” suckers.

Enter God into the scene.

Little more than a year after having our second daughter, I began noticing problems with my health. I was nauseous, and I just didn’t feel quite right.

“I think I’m pregnant,” I told Travis.

“Really?”

“Yea, but the tests keep coming back negative. Do you think I should get a blood test?”

“I’m sure you’re not pregnant if the tests keep coming back negative, Laurie.”

“Well, but Kim had lot’s of negative tests when she was pregnant,” I said. The next week, I went to my doctor. I wasn’t pregnant. So, I went to see a GI doctor, who told me that the nausea was probably due to stress. He gave me medication, and I left.

Soon the nausea went away, but then came the headaches. Every day. Maybe something’s really wrong with me, I thought. And that was it. The thought was planted, and no matter how many times I tried to persuade myself that I was just fine, I couldn’t believe it.

Symptom after symptom began showing up. What’s going on with me! Little did I know at the time, I was experiencing anxiety, both mentally and physically, as a result of the stress I went through in my past. I had never experienced anxiety before, and it was scary. Negative thoughts infiltrated my mind. Honestly, I thought I was going crazy.

Soon, I became depressed, as hope escaped me. And I hated myself because of the depression. How can I not be satisfied with all that I have, when I have everything I’ve ever wanted. I am a horrible person, I thought.

I had always been able to work through all the other difficulties in my life, including my dad’s murder. But for the first time, I couldn’t get myself out of it. I tried everything that the world tells you to do in situations like this. I tried counseling. I tried exercising more and eating better. I tried meditation. I was even considering going to a Buddhist retreat, if you can imagine that! Nothing was helping. So as a last resort, I tried an anti-depressant medication, but it only worsened my depression. And I was taken off of it immediately.

I journaled, continually, trying to make sense of something. Anything. I wrote things like, “maybe I’m addicted to researching problems/being unhappy,” and “my main issue is control––control over my life in all aspects. I need to learn how to let go of control….” In one entry, I wrote,

I haven’t been happy. I’ve been scared. I don’t know what’s going on with me. I’m afraid I’m losing control over myself and my thoughts. Why? I’m afraid something physically is wrong with me. Part of me wants this to be the case because it would explain it all, but then that would mean I’m not physically healthy. What if that means I’ll die young. I’ll leave my family and everyone I love! Rationally, I know this is a leap, but I go there. Then I’ve randomly thought that it would be easier to die. Though, as soon as this thought enters my mind I immediately think of how ludicrous the thought is. I don’t want to die––it’s my greatest fear!

I was a wreck.

One night, I told Travis, “I’ve spent my entire life trying to achieve and set goals for myself, and I’ve hinged my happiness on the achievement of those goals only to continuously fall short of true happiness. It’s like there’s this this emptiness inside, but I don’t know how to make it go away!” I felt empty, defeated, depressed, and anxious. And I had no answers. It was a very dark and lonely place to be. Over and over I kept saying, I just want to feel peace. I just want peace. Yet, no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t save myself.

And then I had a dream that I became blind and paralyzed. When I awoke from the dream, I was very disturbed. I didn’t know what it meant. But what’s interesting is that I was blind––blind to the truth. And I was paralyzed, for there was no way that I could have saved myself from the pit of darkness that I found myself in.

Soon after, I called my friend, Sarah, and asked her, “What church do you go to?”

“Oh, my church? It’s called Grace. Do you want to go?”

“I don’t know. Can you tell me about it?” The following Sunday, my family and I went to church for the first time in over a decade. I was terrified, but more than that, I was desperate. It was my desperation that brought me to those church doors. While I didn’t know it at the time, the decision to go to church one Sunday morning would be the defining moment of my life.

While sitting in my seat––my mind only semi-present due to the anxiety––something miraculous occurred. God showed up. During the sermon, it was as if I were having a one one one counseling session with God, himself. The preacher’s message spoke to where I was that exact moment. It was powerful. I thought to myself, the sheer probability of that alone is crazy! So, I went back the following Sunday and the one after that, each time expecting the God-thing to be a fluke. But time and time again Jesus showed himself. I was given the proof that I needed, and through the grace of God, I went from blindness to sight as my eyes were opened to see His love and grace.

Yet, I was still fighting. All along the way, I fought Jesus as I tried to apply reason to faith. But in the end, Jesus won––as He always does. He rocked my analytical world. Tore down my every argument. And turned my life upside-down.

Over time, the anxiety and depression subsided leaving in its place a newfound joy and the peace that I so desperately sought. My life was set on a new path––one that followed my God and Savior, Jesus Christ. And that void that led me down the dark alley of my soul was filled with the love of Christ.

I had been made new.

God is good! Even though this was one of the most difficult seasons of my life, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Being submerged in darkness allowed me to see the brilliance and beauty of our Savior and led me to where I needed to be most––wrapped in the loving arms of our Father.

{Our darkest hour can lead us to the most beautiful light.}

How has Jesus led you through your darkest hour?

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  • AMEN to this blog post, girl! Thank you SO much for sharing your heart and your struggles so openly! The only true source of joy is the life we find in Christ!

    How has Christ led me through my darkest hour? Well, there have been a few very dark places in my life, and my response to your question would be: like a gentleman! 😉 I’ve learned to go to God first with everything through the bridge Christ provided through His death and resurrection, to communicate with the Creator of the universe often, and rest in His presence through worship. (Music has always been an important part of my life.) The truths and emotions I find in Psalms have also helped get me through some difficult times.

    There is nothing like resting in the arms of Christ! Keep going strong, Laurie. God has an AMAZING plan for your life here on this earth! I’ll be reading about it as it happens! 😉

    • What an amazing testimony of perseverance in faith despite many trials! Thank you for sharing! I, too, find myself in constant worship through music. Thank you, once again, for your encouragement! What a blessing you are!

  • Laurie! I just read your 8/14/2012 post. My response, quickly as they’re afresh in my mind…

    1. We each have a testimony and the power of our testimony is sure to make an impact on even that one soul who is reading or listening to it. Our testimony is not only how we first came to believe God but also, it is our stories of being sanctified in every season of life. Jesus saves us as we continually, oft times reluctantly, die to self and THEN, His promises come alive in our lives. His love breaks through!

    2. Prayer — this is an appeal for more people to pray during worship services. Your story is someone’s answered prayer, of returning to church for the first time in years and how you sat and listened to the sermon as though you and God alone were having an intimate conversation. We pray for any individual whom God has drawn to a worship service where the Gospel is preached, that they would step out of darkness into the light of His truth and become free in Christ. We need intercessors during every worship service, to pray for those whom He is calling.

    3. John 5:6 When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?”

    I pray for all of us, in and outside the church, that we come before Jesus and say, “yes, I am ready to be well.”

    Shalom, my dear friend. I love your heart for our Savior!

    • Oh, Thelma, what a blessing you are to me and my life!! I know that God has placed you in my life, and I am beyond grateful for that! Thank you for your continual encouragement and love that you share… Blessings my friend! You wisdom is much appreciated!

  • Cindy Fitzgerald

    I thank God right now for bringing you to Church and revealing His love, grace and mercy to you in your darkest hour! He has done the same for me! God is so good!

  • Cindy Baines

    Laurie, this is so well written. What a great story of restoration!

    • Thank you, Cindy! God is great, isn’t He?!?