The Day I Drank Poison

Just the other day...my spirit was broken and crushed. I was on my first mission trip. While there, I experienced sweltering heat, using a "squatty potty", and eating out of the belly of a cooked fish while trying not to look at its eyeball, glaring back at me. I rode in the bed of trucks through over-crowded streets, admired monkeys playing just outside my window, and bargained in markets for the best deals on souvenirs to take home. I ate McDonald's food, only it didn't taste like any McDonald's food I had ever had! I swatted flies and mosquitoes and slept with geckos running around my room at night.

I was blessed to meet some of the most beautiful people God ever created. I ate in their houses and drank sodas that cost them way too much, but accepted each one knowing it was a true gift of hospitality. I saw a village with a one-room schoolhouse and newborn babies sleeping on concrete floors. I peered into houses with only one room that held families larger than my own. I witnessed men hunting humongous lizards, hoping to cook one for our team for supper (they didn't and I was thankful). I sang before huge audiences. I cried as I worshiped alongside believers from another culture. I saw countless people give their lives over to the Lord through a skit performed by our team. To this day, my heart aches to be with people just like the ones I met there.

It was the most amazing experience; and it was the worst experience, all at the same time.

Somewhere around 3 weeks into the trip, I started to get homesick and a little blue. After talking about it with my roommate, I found out that she was really homesick as well, worse than I was. Being the "mama" that I am, I went to get our trip leader, someone I respected and admired beyond words, and asked her to come to our room to talk with us.

I told her how we were feeling and for lack of a better term, she went ballistic! Apparently, in her eyes, my roommate and I were the most spoiled young girls she had ever met and she was appalled that we had called her to our room to tell her we were homesick (of all things!). She spouted off many things that hurt deeply, and by the time she left, I felt like the word "Failure!" had been stamped across my forehead in plain sight, for all the world to see.

All I really wanted was prayer and an understanding ear.

Instead...I drank poison.

Being a baby in my faith, my error was this: I admired my leader so much and thought of her as such a godly woman that I took on her words as truth, no matter what the words were. I trusted that she was a woman who "heard from the Lord". The words she spoke to me that night were a death sentence to my confidence.

Afterwards, it took me years of writing fake letters (having no courage to contact her) and praying and forgiving and letting it go. I can honestly say that in time, I let it go completely.

Fast forward to the year 2010 when I led a Bible study. It was a Beth Moore study called, "Believing God" and in it, she prompted me to break down my life into segments. In each segment (i.e. a span of 5 or 6 years), I was to take a thorough look at how the Lord had blessed my life during that time and also, examine the times of trials and testing to remember the lessons I had learned.

While examining this particular time period in my life, I remembered what had happened and the pronouncement of "failure" over my life. God (I love Him!!) chose those moments to gently speak to me..."Those were her words, not mine." Suddenly, I knew why her words had afflicted me and hurt me so terribly......I had placed her on a pedestal and viewed her as being "so close to the Lord" that when she spoke to me that night on the mission trip, I truly believed what she thought of me must be what God Himself thought of me!!! 

A light bulb went on in my heart, as God illuminated the truth.

And look at what I wrote in the margin of my "Believing God" notebook:

It says:

"There are times in my past that I was made to feel like a failure, but it was in those times that God smiled, because He knew my future!"....followed clearly by "(woooo. that makes me do a happy dance)"...what can I say, folks? When God shows you something so freeing and amazing, it warrants a little happy dancing! :)

In an instant, the Lord unlocked my soul and gave me freedom that I didn't even know I needed!!

Listen to me and please, learn from me:

Never, ever, ever give someone else such power over your life!

Words from someone else that bring shame, hurt, confusion, and destruction are from the enemy, no matter what vessel they flow out of...even if it's the most godly person you know!! Read that again and hear me loud and clear...God's words do not bring destruction, condemnation, and pain. The description of "failure" NEVER fits one of His children!

When the Lord speaks, His words are gentle and affirming. When they need to be, His words are very weighty and convicting. God's words will bring life, hope, peace, and confidence. You can count on it!

Praise be to God, I can boldly and unashamedly tell you today that some of that leader's worst criticisms of me have become my greatest strengths. What the enemy meant for evil...what he had planned to destroy me...might have sidetracked me a little, but it didn't take me out of the game! God, as He always does, turned it ALL around for good!

Simply put, the enemy's plan backfired in his face.

Only the Great I Am can create beauty and splendor from the dry, sooty ashes of words that were meant to destroy. My Savior delights in redeeming broken pieces, crushed spirits, and shattered dreams. All glory and honor goes to the One who binds up the wounds of the brokenhearted!

I give praise to the One who set me free, years later...at a time I didn't even know I needed it. He is always at work, molding, shaping, and repairing...always.

Trust Him.

Linking up at:
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These Five of Mine Plus Two
Finding Heaven
Raising Arrows
Women Living Well
Raising Homemakers

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For His glory,