This place…

At night I listen to Pandora’s Traditional Gospel station to ease me off to bed (it’s the city girl in me; I need noise in order to sleep). There was one night earlier this month at about 4:45am that I began an impromptu conversation with God, just telling Him how His blessings were so overwhelming that I could not sleep at night. Literally, He was pouring into me so much that I could not sleep, for fear that I would miss a creative moment or message from Him. As I was talking (and listening), Tamela Mann’s This Place started playing and I immediately broke into tears as I “sang” along. This one song just summed up how I was feeling at this very moment of my life.

“Never knew my life could be this way. I never knew the sun could shine all day. Never thought I’d live beyond my past. Until I found Jesus, I never thought I’d be in this place.”

That’s exactly how I was feeling! Word for word!

I grew up in pain. I came from a habitually broken family with older siblings who were fighting their own personal battles. Add in two years of sexual assault by a family member and remove a mother who, although she loved me with every fiber of her being, had to work all of the time to support her children. Brokenness, pain, and isolation were all that I knew in my life.

But through the years, God kept me, allowing me to go through one storm after another. Maybe had I been stronger in my faith, I would have realized that He was preparing me for something greater…but I couldn’t see that at the time. Instead I sank deeper and deeper in despair and depression.

Fast forward to 2016.
In the early part of the year I fell into the deepest pit of depression that I had ever experienced in my life. I call that time “The Dark Place” because I would begrudgingly go to work in the morning, but then race home so that I could get back in my bed in the evening. I had no life outside of my bed. I talked to no one. I had my antidepressants and my iPad for television- so I was “content.” My anxiety would soar through the roof at the thought of having to engage with other people. I was not living at that point, I was merely existing. This time of my life lasted for several months and when the summer arrived and I moved to a new city, I thought I was healed. But it turns out, I was not; I was still very broken.

On August 17, 2016, I came home from work and grabbed my iPad to jot down how I was feeling. I had just celebrated 2yrs with my live-in boyfriend but I was overwhelmed with grief because my life still wasn’t “right”….. something was missing but I didn’t know what. That day I ended up writing a rather depressing poem, stating that I felt suffocated by life’s journey and that I needed relief. I poured out my thoughts, sent the poem to my bestie, and then closed my iPad; totally forgetting about that poem.

As God would have it, my relationship ended the following month and after “mourning” the breakup, I decided to focus on M.E. I recommitted my life to Christ and asked Him to move as He saw fit. And He did!

Over the past 11 months, God has removed everything and everyone that I had placed above Him. I told Him that I wanted to serve Him, live by His will and way, and that I was giving Him a full YES. So He completely cleared my life so that I could focus on Him alone.

As I got into a car accident, I praised Him.
As I lost my lush apartment, I praised Him.
As I lost my job 2 days later, I praised Him.
As my bills racked up, I praised Him.
As family issues arose, I praised Him.
As doors remained closed, I praised Him.
As “friends” disappeared, I praised Him.

I found peace in knowing that through it all, He was with me.
I found joy in knowing that He had greater in store for me.

As God would have it, I was making a note in my iPad earlier this month and when I had finished, I looked at the dates of the other notes in there. That is when I saw my note from 2016. Here it is, one whole year later, and I am just rereading this sad poem from the year before. While I could literally recall the pain that I felt when I had written it, I couldn’t even remember who that Michelle was at that time. God had completely changed me and made me new since the day that I had written that poem.

Reflection…

My message to you all is simple but sweet: we will undoubtedly encounter many instances which were built to break us, shake us, and even destroy us- but God is able to overcome them all. We will all get through the storm and get to the moment where we are able to say “I’m so glad I’m living my life in this place.”

________________

Never knew my life could be this way, mmmm
I never knew the sun could shine all day
Never thought I’d live beyond my past
Until I found Jesus, I never thought I’d be in this place
Oh I’m glad, so glad, I’m living my life in this place

Never knew my heart could feel again
Never knew the pain would let me stand
Never thought my tears could go away
Till I found Jesus, I never thought I’d be in this place
Oh I’m glad I’m living my life in this place

There’s a place in God where we can all be free
A place where God can get the best out of me
There’s a secret place in God where He covers me

Never knew my heart could feel again
Never knew the pain would let me stand
Never thought my tears could go away
Till I found Jesus, I never thought I’d be in this place
Oh I’m glad I’m living my life in this place

Oh I’m glad I’m living my life in this place
Oh I’m glad I’m living my life in this place

[Vamp 1:]
Been a lot places seen a lot of faces
But I never been in this place
Time and time again never thought I’d win
But I never been in this place

[Invert and Repeat]

[Vamp 2:]
This place, this place
This place, this place

[Invert:]
This place, this place

Oh I’m glad I’m living my life in this place
Yes I’m glad I’m living my life in this place


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