Lost in the Garden Project – Eyelids

article-new_ehow_images_a04_8s_n9_firm-up-eyelids-facial-exercises-800x800Most of my life I would close my eyes and see how different my life would be if I wasn’t afraid. But as I move through life those images are becoming less and less. Maybe less is the wrong word. More like,  different. As a child I felt like I was trapped in my own head. I was too fearful to speak up. People always called me the quiet one. Some people don’t care about being the quiet person in the room. But I didn’t want to be. But I was scared. I would think of things to say but they would come out all wrong. I’d get excited about things but not many people seemed to care. My fear of people kept me always fighting with myself, struggling to interact with people, but always wanting to just go home and hide in the comfort of my four walls, with my journal and music. But even then, I wanted to encourage people. I wanted to make a difference and never felt like I could because I was too afraid to just be me. It felt like it was just me and Jesus against the World. Jesus told me he had a great plans for me. I would smile and nod but not believe him because I doubted my ability to break out of my chains. Little did I know that I didn’t have to. In time, God would unlock them for me.

In highschool I felt invisible. I couldn’t wait to go home where I felt loved. But God continued to whisper in my ear, ” You are special. Your value isn’t tied up in being noticed by people.” I still didn’t believe Him but because my God noticed me, I spent most of my time with Him. He would whisper in my ear everyday, encouraging me to encourage others. I found  joy in using words to encourage others. At my school we could write notes to people by giving them to the office to be delivered to the person in their class room. God put it on my heart to send some letters to remind people that they are loved. Sometimes I would make it anonymous and other times I would sign my name. It brought me the greatest joy. This is when I realized I had the calling and gift of encouragement. God told me to prepare for more.

As Christians there is a point where we reach the end of ourselves and God takes over. This happened to me about four years ago. I was in my last semester of college and I was in a toxic relationship. My fears and insecurities led me there. I was trapped by my self. I became pregnant with this guy. I always wanted to wait till marriage to have sex. I was depressed, pregnant, and so regretful. I was at the end of my self. I cried out to God and he answered. He promised to take me on adventures for him and use me for good regardless of my screw ups. A few weeks later I lost the baby. That was my major turning point. No more messing around. No more being bullied by fear and insecurities. Suddenly it all seemed like a waste of time.

But I lacked friends. I felt alone. God told me he would provide a community of friends if I went to college group. I hated meeting new people because I hated being in a room full of people I didn’t know. But I was desperate. I started going to college group consistently. A married couple led the group and I confided in the woman.   I was struggling with staying away from my ex and she prayed for me. From that point I was a new creation. From that moment I felt called to help young women find freedom from the lies of the enemy. When I closed my eyes I saw myself leading young women in the church. I still wasn’t sure how I would do it, but I became involved in the women’s ministry at my church. I took steps daily to stop being afraid. Suddenly I was leading groups of women at these studies. I was scared out of my mind but did it anyways. It was so freeing and fulfilling. I thought women’s ministry was my calling. I was going to pursue a job in that field regardless of how much it paid. But God does things his own way.

Last year some friends and I started a college group at my church. Suddenly I’m teaching and leading Bible studies and I look back to how I never thought I could do this in a million years. Yesterday I started a discipleship study with 10 people from our college group. I was nervous to start it and struggled in brainstorming how to organize it. Well I was sitting there praying with my group and these girls were praying things that suddenly opened my eyes. They were thanking God for me and saying that I was making a difference and inspiring them. I was choking back tears. I took a snap shot of this group of ten people split up in small groups, discussing how to live for God better and praying for each other.  For my whole life, this is what has been behind my eyelids when I closed my eyes and dreamed. I wanted to be used by God to inspire and make a difference. There is no better feeling. As long as I can do this for the rest of my life I don’t care what happens.

What does God promise you when you close your eyes? What are your dreams? Listen to God’s whispers even when you are afraid, take small steps. Keep walking forward even when you are shaking and doubting. You will open your eyes and realize suddenly your life looks a lot like the back of your eyelids.

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