This post has been a long time in coming---mainly because it requires me telling the depths to which I had descended before going to Brookhaven---HOWEVER---stay with me---that is not the end of the story!! A little over a year ago when I got to BH, I had spiralled down into a deep, dark pit----this is something we would never wish on anyone and I hope you have never been there. There is a good chance that if you have never been there, you have had friends or family members that have. At that time, I had begun isolating myself--not answering the phone, texts, e-mails or the front door. Now I know that is a "red flag"---when someone begins to "isolate" something is not right. I was basically not functioning at all---just lying on the couch all day and my thoughts were very dark. At that time, not living looked like a better option than living. I know, my thinking was all messed up. I know this sounds awful, but it was reality for me at the time. I kept seeing myself hanging by a rope in the garage. At first I knew I would not actually do anything like that because I would never do that to my family or put them through that, but as time went on and I sank deeper and deeper, I began to cross a line. It is hard to explain, but there is a point when thinking about something but not acting turns into beginning to act on the thought. It was at the point when I began to plan out how to hang myself and dwelling on those thoughts brought me to telling my family that if I did not get help, I would not be here. Within a few days, I was at BH. I walked in there with no desire to live---I was dying physically, emotionally and spiritually. It would take a book for me to tell you everything that my God in His love, mercy and grace did for me during those three months at BH and in the months since I have come home.
So, this post is to tell you one incident at BH that happened. After I had been there about a month, we had a group of artists come and help us paint a picture. We had our easels outside and I knew I wanted my picture to be an old, dark wooden cross with bursts of light coming out from behind it and at the bottom of the picture I wanted written "Out of Death Comes Life." The artists helped us and I wanted the cross to be all cracked looking---just like we are at times in our life----so they helped me use this plaster looking material that cracked when it dried. Then I stained the cross. As I was trying to outline the cross with a paint brush, my hand shook so much from the anxiety I was dealing with at the time that I could not paint a straight line. I began to ask the Lord how long this was going to last. At that very moment, a beautiful butterfly landed at my waist. As I looked down at the butterfly, I knew it was from the Lord reminding me of the promise of new life and that truly "Out of Death Comes Life." The butterfly comes from death--as the caterpillar becomes a cacoon and dies, then out of that comes forth a beautiful live butterfly. I was not able to write that at the bottom of the cross, but I found someone who would write it for me. I kept it on my wall at BH while I was there, and I now have it framed. I see it every morning when I sit down in my chair reminding me of so many things---first of all, out of our Lord's death on the cross, you and I live--we live free from the penalty of sin--because He died, we live. But there is much, much more to this. As we follow Him and "die" to self, He lives His life in and through us---a river of life that flows out from our innermost being. At BH, we painted a "letting go box" and we put in it all the things in our life that we needed to let go of---mine included letting go of trying to please everyone, trying to fix others, letting go of past regrets or mistakes, letting go of worrying about the future---just a few. In thinking about "dying" to self---it is like letting go---"dying" to always wanting to be right---to always having our own way. It is letting go of the wrong motives in our hearts, letting go of bitterness, unforgiveness and resentment towards others, ourself or even God. Beloved, it is just not worth hanging onto all that----it only brings "death" to us. The good news is that when you and I "die" and come to the point of surrending our will to God and truly want His will more than we want ours, then an amazing thing happens----His life comes and fills us with joy, peace and love!!! We live because He died---then we die so that He lives in and through us. Hallelujah!!