I remember when I first graduated college and was working as the laboratory manager of the molecular diagnostics program at Virginia Tech. It was a standard government job. Forty hours. No more. No less. But, I was there most days for 12 hours or more. It was a great opportunity but the stress I placed on myself was killing me. I was making little money but the work was intriguing. Yet, I never felt satisfied. Although I loved trying to discover the cause of diseases, I knew in my heart that God wanted me to be an active part of the healing process.
My thoughts began to revolve around the old dream I once had of becoming a pharmacist. I had been on the other side of that counter numerous times and I wanted to make that person feel less alone and frightened. Internally, I was struggling with this issue as well as the doubts and fears which had begun to arise in me due to an emotionally & physically abusive relationship. I can still recall the day that I decided to take a risk and move to the coast of North Carolina to move in with my sister and her new family. I had always been independent but now I was admitting that my life wasn’t perfect. But, as soon as I left, I began to feel a peace surround me. Looking back, I am amazed how, by taking that step, God began to ease many of my fears. I found a job in a pharmacy where I met a wonderful woman whose husband had just left her and needed a roommate. We became best of friends. That move eventually led to one divine encounter after another. Work became a joy. I eventually began working for the behavioral hospital there as well as for the military and ended up applying for the doctorate program at UNC.
However, I still had not given everything over to Jesus. Years of hard work and an endless string of abusive relationships began to erode that stress-free facade and my body began to break down. I decided to take medical leave and was unable to return due to a host of events which were out of my control. Yet, throughout the horrific next few years, I can now look back and see that God had another plan for me.
Through complete and utter dependence on Him during those years, He began to build a faith in something larger. My anxiety and depression began to lessen. Although I still struggle with the words that come of out of my mouth as well as the ones in my head due to years of abuse, I am in awe of the change He has made in my heart. As a woman who can’t remember not feeling stressed, I am simply thankful for the peace that He is developing. Throughout the past two years, God has surrounded me with His Word and the stories/voices of others during those dark moments. I discovered a voice that was there prior to the abuse and I found that words can bring even greater peace and healing than medicine ever did.
I have been on both sides of the coin of stress-homeless, abused, ill, financially broken. Yet, I am still trusting that in those dark moments, He has a greater plan. I just moved recently and the stress has been more than I can bear at times. However, I know that when God places something on my heart, I have to respond even if it doesn’t make sense at the time. I didn’t want to get out of bed this morning but I did and I found truth again in the Online Bible Study blog post for Melissa Taylor’s Online Bible Studies study of “Unglued” by Lysa Terkeurst. It was such a reminder that even though I feel lost, He still uses the words of others to speak His truth into our souls. Although I feel out of control, I don’t have to act out of control. Even if my car has been beat up since I moved here. Even if I don’t understand how I will ever be able to pay the medical expenses & loans. Even if I don’t know what job God has for me. I know that He has drawn me closer to His will than ever before. And, when God places a need on my heart, I have to trust that He will equip me or position me so that He will be glorified. That is my prayer. Of course, when I write, the positive seems so evident. Yet, there remains a gnawing sense of restlessness in my chest which is beginning to cause me to feel that burden of stress and fear. And, so, I must repeat the mantra of my church: “I believe God for greater.”