“Tomorrow we need to have some kind of funeral service. Figured I’d text you before I freak out and decide I can’t do it, but those blades have to go…” Abigail’s text said.
“Sounds good to me,” I sent back, “and what shall we replace them with?” When we remove something negative from our lives, it is important to fill that replace with something good, something uplifting.
“I’m not sure,” Abigail replied. “Do you have any ideas?”
“I have some thoughts…” I said.
“Like?” Abigail asked.
“The place that you kept them should have something to remind you who you are, that you are beautiful, and have worth. Where do you keep them?” I asked.
The next day we met, and true to her word, Abigail brought the blades. I told her I had brought her two books, in exchange. The books, I said, while excellent books, held little value compared to the blades.
“Those blades are worth a life to me,” I said, offering her my gift.
There are two books I always keep on hand, besides the Bible. One is Think Differently Live Differently, written by my friend Pastor Bob Hamp, of Gateway Church Texas, is one, an identity book. Bob is a licensed therapist, but more than that he is a man of God, whose passion is freedom for God’s children. He has taught me much about what it means to be free, and the power that lies in simply being who God created me to be, without apology. The other book, Your Secret Name is written by my friend, Pastor Kary Oberbrunner who struggled through hopelessness, depression and used cutting as his outlet, before discovering the freedom that comes from knowing his ‘secret name’–the name given him by God.
With reluctant determination, she traded in her blades. It is not an easy thing to let go of something that has become your security like that, and your outlet. Sacrificing something that reminds you that you are alive, if only because of the pain it helps you feel. Something that has, in a way, become your god, your source of ‘life’, if only to make death more real, reminding you that you are still, at present, a living, breathing entity.
I asked Abigail for permission to find someone who might be able to melt down the blades, and make something out of them for her. A heart, or a cross, maybe. Something to symbolize true hope, life, purpose and value. The thought of burying the blades was okay, but it’s so easy to dig up what is buried. I am far more interested in transformation–in making something completely new out of the painful broken reality of our lives. It is what Jesus does with us. She agreed that would be okay.
I slipped the blades into my Bible for safe keeping for the time being. I would need to find a place to store them until I have connections to transform them into art.
In my previous visit with Abigail–the one in between the texts about her disappointment in the church ‘system’, and the texts about planning the ‘funeral’ for the blades–we had explored some deep childhood pain and trauma. Abigail cried for the first time in many years that day. I cried too. There is something about going to those places in our young hearts and memories, that is raw and difficult. But it is in finding Jesus there, experiencing the pain and tragedy with us, and carrying it for us, and carrying us, that we find healing. It is in seeing that He never abandoned us, that we make peace with Him, and move on.
Those tears were hard, and painful, but in those moments I saw life in Abigail like I had not seen before. I saw hope. I saw Jesus. And felt Him. I think it was that stirring of life that gave Abigail the courage to get rid of the blades. If Jesus was there, and suffering with her, and if He understands her and cares for her, then the blades are not quite as important. Then maybe, just maybe, He can get her through that trauma without the blades. Maybe, just maybe, she doesn’t need the blades to make her ‘feel’.
It was a powerful moment, when she actually handed me the blades. I saw the fear in her eyes, the ‘angst’ of losing that security, but I knew they had to go, for her to break free. I knew their power would never be broken, as long as she held them close to her heart.
I left that meeting with Abigail feeling more victorious than I have felt in a very long time. It wasn’t about personal achievement–there is nothing I can do to change the heart of a human and bring life to the emptiness–that is the Holy Spirit. It was a ‘wow’ moment, at the grace and goodness of God.
Sometimes it is just as well that we celebrate the moment, with no inkling of what lies ahead. Only days later that victory crumbled at my feet, and forced me to into hard battle for Abigail’s heart.
In the hardest moments, when we invite God to take over, when we abandon ourselves to His call, He moves… And when He moves, and invites us to join Him in what He is doing, we are moved out of our comfort zone, into unfamiliar territory, unfamiliar battles.
Great wars are won, not with one moment in time, but facing battle, after battle, after battle. That day was one battle.
To Be Continued…
© Trudy Metzger
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