These days, when I spend time with Abigail, she is not huddled on a couch, with her feet pulled up, eyes downcast, and unable to speak. I don’t have to draw every word out of her, through deep questioning, just to get somewhere. There are moments, but mostly it isn’t like that any more. Abigail has a sparkle in her eyes, much of the time, she laughs, and engages in conversation, and with people around her. It is so fun to watch Jesus set her free!
The other day Abigail spent some time with our family, in a group setting, and I saw a carefree joy in her that I had not seen before. I told Tim later that I see a little girl in her, just wanting to break free. With a twinkle in his eyes and a smile on his face, Tim told me that I had missed a moment when she ran and bounced into a chair, racing someone to get there first. “She has been suppressed for a very long time,” he added.
Abigail and I continue to meet, to work through her pain and her struggles, because the reality is that knowing Jesus does not end pain, or remove struggle. He strengthens us, loves us, and fights the battle for us, but in our humanity we rise and fall with that battle. From time to time she is placed in situations where she interacts with those who wounded her, and the raw memories trigger struggle, and in our sessions those encounters quickly show, and her spirit still takes the pain in quite easily, but one battle at a time she is learning to give it all to Jesus.
And, realistically, for Abigail the fight has only just begun. The enemy will use anything he can, and anyone whom he can, to try to make Abigail give up on her journey to knowing Jesus. He will try to destroy her faith, discourage her heart and convince her to throw in the towel.
Abigail will have to resist his tactics, and stand firm in Jesus Christ, to overcome, because attacks will still bring the temptation to return to old habits–to cut when she can’t feel or feels hopeless. But one victory at a time, a warrior will rise up in her, and she will help others.
Only a few days ago Abigail awoke in the middle of the night, tempted to find something with which to cut herself. In the dark of that night, she reached for the Bible I left with her–my big, fat ‘preacher sized’ Bible, with notes, underlines and scribbles–and clutched it to her chest. She reached for Jesus–the Word–instead of walking to the knife block, and staring at the temptation.
I am so blessed by Abigail, and thank God for bringing her into my life. In only a few short months she has disclosed deep pain, hurt and trauma. We’re still walking through the ongoing journey of freedom and forgiving people in her life, but she is free in Jesus, in spite of the struggle.
Abigail has given me permission to share her story here, in black and white, so that you will be challenged and encouraged. Few people have the courage to do that, while still in the ‘raw’ battle. Especially when people who know her might read her story, and judge or otherwise hurt her, should they recognize her story.
I am honoured to have shared with you, Abigail’s story. Thank you for allowing her pain to touch your heart, and her victory to cheer you on in your own journey. Your messages to me have been encouraging–some of which I have passed on to Abigail, to encourage her.
Please pray for Abigail. She wants desperately to follow and know Jesus intimately. She struggles from time to time, to hear His voice and know that it is Him, because other voices have ruled for so long. We are getting into the Word of God–the Bible–to learn how to identify the voice of God and the voice of the enemy, to know when it is truth, and when it is attack. She is learning that God’s voice speaks invitation, hope, salvation, purpose, love and deep conviction, but the voice of the enemy is one of condemnation, hopelessness, shame, defeat and oppression.
Pray for courage and strength, so that the attacks do not knock her down, and when she falls, that she will know the grace of God is more than enough.
Above all, I pray that Abigail’s story has stirred compassion in your heart for those struggling, and a passion to move beyond the typical ‘pat answers’ of religion, and take Jesus into the hearts of the hurting. I pray that, when touching hurting hearts, you will do it with the love of Jesus, and do so with a selfless heart, and words of life. Our words carry the power of life and death, and words that condemn and shame–something even Jesus did not come to do (John 3:17)–and they have the power to shut down a seeking heart, and discourage the struggling.
May God give you wisdom to reach out to others, without personal agenda, to bring Jesus to the world around, and to fellow believers who struggle. Because the death and resurrection of Jesus really is more than enough for each of us.
© Trudy Metzger
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