This post is another personal one that I really don’t want to write but when the Holy Spirit leads, I don’t really have a lot of say so. I have to be obedient. As I prepare my sermon for licensing and to preach my sermon in my Homiletics class, I have to pull from my past because they’re why I’m in ministry today. Today and tomorrow, March 17th, are two of the biggest moments in my spiritual journey. The experiences have been the topics of a paper for Homiletics as well as my New Testament Literature classes. I’m at a place where these days can be celebrated rather than mourned. So…here we go.
March 16, 2010. I was at my dorm at Bacone as a freshman at one of the lowest points ever in my life. I was failing all but two of my classes, I was miserable in pretty much every aspect you can imagine. I was also carrying the burden of two life-threatening secrets:: My eating disorder behaviors were as bad as they had ever been, as was my self-harming. I had a meeting with my mentor in the Christian Ministry program, who saw a lot of things I didn’t. He saw my potential and the strong calling God had on my life for ministry. In my pain and heartache, I didn’t. I remember so vividly in a meeting with him in the basement of Bacone’s chapel where he told me that I was in what was my Garden of Gethsemane. I was in the midst of a spiritual crisis— would I choose to continue down the path I was on, or would I run home to God, who was waiting for me with open arms?
At this point in life, I had distanced and alienated myself as far as I could from the girls in my dorm and had made a bunch of friends outside of my program. In becoming Baconian, I lost sight of becoming Sarah Lynn Brixey-ian. On this particular night, plans were made and letters were written. I had decided enough was enough and I was ready to take my life and my fate into my own hands. I remember so vividly that it was a Tuesday with Wednesday Night Worship taking place the next night. I was done with merely existing rather than living. I was done with keeping up the act day in and day out that everything was fine. I was hiding behind layers upon layers of makeup and hair product. Beneath the hairspray, extensions, eyelashes, foundation, and eye makeup, a scared, dying, irreparably broken little girl lay defeated and ready to die.
Much like the jailer in the 16th chapter of Acts, I was crying out to God, asking “What must I do to be saved?” It wasn’t that I was afraid of dying, like I had planned on doing, but it was that I was afraid of living a life wholly devoted to God.
This post is not to rehash my past in great detail but to illustrate where I’ve been to fully understand the brevity and depth of my life today. I had my suicide letters written, pills were hidden in the drawer of my desk in my dorm room.
6 years ago tonight, around the time I’m writing this, I was preparing to seal my own fate. I had fully turned my back on God and was ready to live with the consequences of that choice. Calling back to Pastor Moore’s sermon on Sunday, “Your obstacles and struggles either become your opposition or they become your opportunity”.
6 years ago tonight, these obstacles and situations were my opposition.
6 years later, these obstacles are my opportunity to minister and help others who may be in a similar situation I was.
My life was complete chaos as “Baby Sarah”, a title I’ve given myself to refer back to my former ways. At that time, I was ready to give up. The pain was too great and I needed an out. The only way out I saw at the time was suicide.
6 years later, on this night, I’ve got a Bible in front of me and handouts from Homiletics as I begin the writing process for my licensing sermon.
If you told me 6 years ago on this night that this is where I would be, I wouldn’t believe you. I don’t like saying God works in mysterious ways. To me, that’s got a negative connotation to it. I choose to say that He works in glorious ways.
On this night 6 years ago, I was at the lowest point ever. On this same night 6 years later, I am not where I want to be yet by any means but I thank God every single day to still be here to be able to see all the things God has for me.
6 years ago tonight, I allowed my fear to take over.
6 years later, as I look back on my life the past week, I’m left asking myself “After all the hell I’ve been through the past 6 years to get to this point, why was I so afraid of giving a 15-25 minute sermon?”
In closing because part 2 will be taking place in a post tomorrow and I want to document these days the best way possible because as I said, they’re a lot of why I’m in ministry today.
In life, when it comes to fear, we have two choices::
Or, we have an alternative::
The question now, when faced with obstacles and adversity, which do you choose? Do you choose to run from your fear and let that obstacle be your opposition, or will you choose to face that fear, overcome it, and let it be your opportunity to share that testimony with someone else?
Throughout this process in my licensing journey, I have been tested and tried so much already. I know this is not over and I know there will be more trials to come. I’m confident that God has prepared me to rise to the occasion and overcome whatever is thrown at me. For me personally, while I had my moments of weakness as early as 2 days ago where I told both Pastor Moore and First Lady J that I wanted out of everything, they encouraged me to stay the course and finish strong.
I’m encouraging whoever is reading this to do the same. No matter your situation or circumstance, God has decided already the tests and trials you’ll be given. He has prepared you for such a time as this.
My final words to you for this post are to stay strong. Stay the course. Finish the race.
**to be continued**
Love and light,