The night seemed quiet, but the dreadful voices of anger and pain in my head refused to let me sleep. I didn’t know how much more I could take before this desperate, hopeless feeling would consume me.
I had fallen away from God and was living as I pleased, but my false freedom was suffocating me. I felt worthless and hated myself. I thought I could change things by getting away from my social circle and breaking up with my toxic boyfriend. I tried praying and going back to church, but I only felt emptiness and cynicism.
I was too ashamed to face God without barriers and masks. Instead I pretended everything was okay.
One night I overheard my mom and brother talking about God’s mercy. I doubted it, but inside me the cynical walls started to shake as hope tried to take root. Later that night, I pictured the scene of the crucifixion and zeroed in on one figure, the Virgin Mary at the foot of the Cross.
Childhood words flashed through my mind: Mary was our heavenly Mother. I saw tears in her eyes as on my heart, she pleaded with me, He died for you.
The words echoed in my mind and a wave of awareness swept over me. Jesus "gives his life as an offering for sin, (Isaiah 52:10)" but it was also an offering of love. He died for love of me. It wasn’t some pretty cliché; it was REALITY. Crumbled on the floor, I sobbed.
All the bitterness, hatred, and cynicism were being washed away as I realized that He never left me; it was I that walked away.
Many years have passed since that night; however, it wasn’t a single night of conversion, but is an ongoing process. We are never "done" and must continually turn our hearts and minds back to God. So whether this Lent was fruitful or wanting, on this Good Friday, we can reflect on the ways God has saved us and how He calls us into a deeper union with Him.
"Take courage and be stouthearted, all you who hope in the LORD" (Psalm 31:25).