Friday, July 18, 2014 @ 6:00 P.M
This is why you must take up the full armor of God, so that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and having prepared everything, to take your stand.
(Ephesians 6:13 HCSB)
I graduated in the top of my class in 2013 and was ready to have an AWESOME freshman year at college. I was ready to go somewhere different from home and somewhere it didn't snow 10 feet during the winter.
Being a follower of Christ, I was slacking in my prayer life at the time and just focusing on what I wanted to do. I didn't pray much about what God's will was for me and where he wanted me to be, I just kind of went wherever was the warmest and furthest, but still in-state, so mom and dad wouldn't have to pay a fortune.
This obviously did not work out. Everything that could have went wrong did. My living arrangement was yet than to be desired, I had people surrounding me that I thought were truly friends who cared about me and helping me, but didn't, had a very dirty and urban feel to it and I'm from the country, so visiting the city and living in it were totally opposite. I had a severe chemical burn on my face a few months prior and the climate and stuff in the air only compounded that hellacious issue. The school didn't cater any help or had any sense of urgency leaving me to feel as though I was nothing but a number with a dollar sign in front of it. So, I actually ended up having to withdraw.
After coming home to ride the rest of fall term out with mom and dad, I was hopeful, yet disheartened. I was hopeful that the next place I went to would be better.
It was worse.
I ended up staying with someone we were very close with, or so I thought, and it turns out they had my stuff waiting for me at the door when I got back from class one Monday. That was three weeks into that school.
At the point, things with people I was close to were also going awry and I was unsure what I truly need to do--that's when I had finally had enough and said, "God, you take my life over because I'm apparently doing something incredibly incorrectly". That's when He sent me divine help.
I got connected with a friend by the most bizarre of chances and began to have Bible study with and really look deep into God's word. It was like a flood had swept over and He began REALLY working in my life. I ended up finding out some very VERY valuable lessons out of the past year, between my burn, school one and school two--being home and mom doing the laundry was a nice bonus too! (;
It was one day during my personal time with God, that I reached the final chapter of Ephesians. It was talking about being able to withstand the troubles of the times by putting on the armor of God--allowing Him to sustain you. So, almost at the very next moment, I found The Giving Keys movement on my former IG account. I LOVE everything about it! I couldn't wait to get one! I was just sad to see that they didn't have one that would fit the word "Stand" and "Eph 6:13" all on one key--then I kept scrolling and found it. I was SO stoked!
So once I got my key ordered and delivered, I began to wear it all the time. After I felt like I didn't really need to have that message on me 24/7, I decided to place it back in its pouch and wait until the Holy Spirit moved me to pass it on.
Little did I know it would be a very sweet friend of mine.
My friend is not a strong believer, yet accepted how I felt and found there was some truth and respectable acts within His teachings.
She had been having a really hard time with transitioning to school, paying for it, some family struggles and her new social circle. (Don't worry, she told me I could share all this. (: )
She recently just really called out to have some help and advice and often honored me by seeking mine. I was so thankful for GO to give me the opportunity to show my friend what His love is like and what He's like. So, we met for coffee tonight and a little supper at the local Starbucks--because aren't we all lovers of the green lady??
As I gathered up all the things I wanted to get to help her and the things I was gonna tell her more in-depth about (We have briefly messaged beforehand) the Spirit stirred in me and said (I just got goosebumps thinking about it), "Get that necklace and take it with you." Well, that sat me down right on my butt. I was like, "But God, what if it's too soon, " etc, and basically doubting what His Spirit had just told me. I stopped and refrained from anymore and said, "if that's truly it, then You make it SO BLA-TANT-LY clear when I need to do so."
We get to talking and after and hour or two passes by, she begins to tell me she was listening twosome music lately and for some reason there was a word that just kept playing over and over in her mind--stand.
I help up my hand, grinning and said, "Hang on, this is the perfect time". I explained everything to her about the verse and the necklace and how I was going to let her have it--that it was God's spirit telling me to do so. When I read her the verse (as said at the top), the look on her face was something well-known to fellow believers--that face you make when one simple word or phrase or verse within God's word just relieves your feelings and quenches your true thirst.
After that divine intersession tonight, we became so much closer though Him and I cannot wait to see how He fulFILLS His promises to her through her life. I also am eager to hear about who gets it next!! ---STAY TUNED!!!! (:
Please forgive any errors on my part--my mind tends to mood faster than my fingers. (:
Here's her side of the story: (She put a lot more into her side--She's GREAT! Her name is Sunshine for a reason. )
I grew up as daddy’s little girl. I grew up with hope and with grass and dirt on my face and in my hair. I was a tomboy. I loved literature and color, and I loved music. I radiated like my name, Sunshine. I was always optimistic and happy. Growing up, family and friends came to me for advice. I was shining.
I guess I shone a little too brightly to realize how blind I was to what was happening around me. My life was slowly crumpling apart and still, I thought it was normal that bad things are supposed to happen in life, and I trusted that being optimistic would get us through everything. My parents weren’t employed anymore, they were always arguing and yelling… sometimes to each other, but always towards my brothers and I. My dad’s anger was always directed towards one of us, or all of us. There was always yelling or mumbling about how we were failures and regretting we were born. He told us he wanted us dead and wanted us to not depend so much on him. There were worse things he’d said but I won’t want to dwell on that. My mother always sided with him. It was her job even when she knew how wrong he was. She was always the one caught in the middle. She wanted to make her husband happy, yet at the same time make her children happy as well. Till this day, she’s still struggling to make that happen.
Through my middle and high school years, and now my freshman year of College, it still hasn’t died. I was in a very dark place. I was lonely and cold. I was lost, and my bright light had faded. I found myself crying almost once a week… sometimes, it was twice a day. Sometimes, I thought I was depressed. Sometimes, I thought about cutting myself, and sometimes, I even thought about ending my own life. I thought that maybe death would be my heaven. I wouldn’t have to suffer anymore, and maybe my death would finally be the last straw. Hopefully, it would open some eyes to see how flawed it all was.
I never had the guts to do it. I guess I was too selfish to. I knew that it would be better in the end, but after all these years, I lost my hope and my confidence in believing that, that will ever happen. There was a sliver of hoping that I would be happy again. I would graduate College, get an apartment, have my own job, surround myself with friends, and live life until I met the one. This knowledge helped me see that I didn’t need to end my own life. I just had to hold on for a little while longer. All I had were my close friends from College- we’re like family and it’s not just girls. We were all so close that they all knew what I was going through and I wasn’t ashamed to tell them because I knew they wouldn’t judge me and that they would always be there for me every step of the way. They were closer to me than my family was, and still today, that hurts me because I know that family should be first, and friends second.
Freshman year was over and summer hit. My friends were ecstatic about summer and all I could think about was the dark days ahead. Summer means no happiness, no sunny days, depression, and locking myself in my room. I was wrong. It was worse. I had actually missed my parents and my little brothers. I was hoping that we’d get along and that having my brother and I missing for a year at College would open their eyes and see how flawed and dark everything was. There were more yelling, more hatred hovering around the house, and everyone was hiding from dad. We were all scared of him and we all didn’t want to get caught breaking his rules. There were no more food-we couldn’t afford it. We had to wake up early from a sleepless night on the kitchen floor, had to take short showers, we couldn’t read certain books unless he allowed it, we couldn’t watch TV until we had his permission, and we couldn’t go anywhere unless he gave permission. I never imagined it would get this bad this summer. I watched as our family broke and hated each other. When it got really bad, I would talk to my friends. I no longer had a phone and the only way to communicate was through messages on my MacBook I got for graduation and through Facebook messages. They understood and accepted it and they were always there for me when I called them crying at 2 in the morning. I kept writing in my journal and whenever I cried, all I thought about was hoping for someone to understand me and help pull me out of the darkness and show me the light again.
There were so much that my friends could do to help. That was when a friend of mine from high school messaged me on Facebook. I had been posting up tweets nonchalantly about what I was dealing with and going through. She asked me how I was and if I was okay. I crumpled and told her everything. She was one of the only few friends that actually stayed in contact with me after graduation. We had met up during spring break earlier that year and she already knew half the story. After filling her in, I told her that I needed help and wanted to vent. I was lost and I had no clue what to do, I was vulnerable and I had no armor. I wanted to be strong again and stand up for myself.
We decided to meet up at Starbucks no farther than a half a mile from my neighborhood. Of all things, she told me to bring a big bag… bring money, okay got it… bring a raincoat because it’s raining, okay I got that too… but a big bag? I knew something was going on. (if she reads this, she’s probably laughing.) Anyways, I ran upstairs and grabbed a red and purple bag I’d bought from American Eagle years back.
She picked me up and the first thing she did was give me a hug. We ordered Panini’s, water, a Frappuccino, and tea. It was drizzling outside but we sat down outside under a low roof of the side of the building. She asked if I would be uncomfortable if she prayed over our food before we ate. Normally I would, but I respected her wishes and smiled. After we ate and caught up on the little stuff, I finally asked her why the big bag. She smiled and grabbed something out of her bag. It was a Holy Bible and a blue journal. I looked at her unsure. I was still iffy about the entire Religion thing. My friends and their parents have actually tried to talk to me and connect me with God in the past. They haven’t broken through that layer though. As she placed them on the table in front of us, she asked if it would be all right if she could read some to me. She knew how I felt about the aspect of God and she respected that I wasn’t religious. I could tell that she was determined to change that and I gave her a chance. Maybe it would help me.
She read and I listened. She explained that the Holy Bible and the blue journal were for me. She flipped through it and navigated through the Holy Bible with ease. I had a bible-a church I once went to with a cousin had given me a free copy- and I could never figure out how to read it, if that makes sense. She also knew this, hence the highlighted psalms in and proverbs. She made sure I could understand it. She also took the time to write down what I should read to help me with my father and for relationships- I’m talking to someone and I feel like this could be a serious relationship- in the journal.
I was really moved by her actions to go through all of that for me. I only expected us to have deep conversations but I thanked her and continued to discuss my thoughts about what I was going through and what has helped me. I’ve been listening to a song called, “Stand,” by Britt Nicole. I related to it so much so that I kept replaying it over and over and over. There was something about the song that moved in me. It had the entire package: When I feel like giving up and when I’m lost, I have to stand up for myself. I have to be strong and believe. I have to stand with my head held high.
When she heard this, she jumped up in her chair and held her hands up to stop me. She grabbed a small white bag from her bag, opened it and held up a necklace with a key with STAND on one side and EPH 6:13 on the other. She explained what it Ephesians 6:13 says and what STAND means in relation to the verse. She had gotten the key online and was supposed to hand it over to someone else when the time was right. I didn’t know what I was feeling then because I’ve lost it for so long. It was love. It was full-on confidence. I believe again.
She also brought out a silver coin with an Angel in the front and with the words, “PROTECTED BY ANGELS” and “SURROUNDED BY LOVE.” I had told her that a very close friend of mine had told me that she feels I have a Guardian Angel watching over me. I was always viewed as someone who was innocent and pure. I’ve never dated, never done anything, and I was never on anyone’s bad side. She also explained that what I had told her had moved her to give it to me. I took this last gift as the last piece of evidence that I DO have a Guardian Angel. I never really believed that I was always thought of and looked over. Now I do. Now I believe.
As I sit here with “Stand” blasting in my ears, the necklace around my neck, and the Bible and journal she had given me, I know that I have found my light again and I forever will stand with my head held high, always looking towards the horizon.