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Coming Back to Life After Near Death: Brave Vulnerability Can Save Lives

By Space Welch

Brave Women Series - Space's Story


I stood, quaking, in front of a gun safe. The inner crevices crying out for deliverance from this traumatic year of intense depression, spiritual warfare, and a marriage that seemed to be splitting at the seams. Every fiber of my flesh wanted to escape into the woods and never return... To terminate my suffering.


Instead, I texted some friends. These same friends who were almost daily fielding texts from me, lamenting about how weak and empty and alone I felt. Friends who had gotten this same text a hundred times, “Please pray right now. I’m in a very dark place, and about to do something stupid.”

I paused before hitting send. I was tired of being so weak and needy. Tired of placing such a burden on my friends’ shoulders.

But it wasn’t just them. I felt like a burden to my family. And to my God. I believed God still loved me, because I had spent nearly 20 years learning to believe He would love me no matter what. But I no longer believed my family loved me. And I was fairly certain I was chasing off my dearest friends.


 

"I was tired of being so weak and needy. Tired of placing such a burden on my friends’ shoulders. But it wasn’t just them. I felt like a burden to my family. And to my God."

 

The Voice of Clarity pierced my thoughts, “It’s your turn to be weak right now, little lady.” I hit “send”.

I survived, in large part due to some faithful friends, and in larger part due to a faithful God who wasn’t done with my life. I had never experienced such intense mental anguish, or if I had, it was a result of my sin.

 

"I survived, in large part due to some faithful friends, and in larger part due to a faithful God who wasn’t done with my life."

 

This, however, was another story. This was like literally losing my mind for a year. Nothing made any sense. It was as though I had demons camped out on my shoulders filtering everything I heard through their lies. I became confused, disoriented, isolated, and angry. And I no longer wanted to endure.

But God.

A year later, I picked up my ringing phone to see the name of a dear friend. She was one of the sweet saints who had been on the other end of that text. One of the faithful who prayed me to the shore when my soul was nearly shipwrecked.


She began to share some burdens she was carrying, and I inherently knew she had entrusted me because she felt safe. She knew I wasn’t going to judge her, or the person she was struggling with. She knew I wasn’t going to condescendingly give advice. I was simply there to pray and shoulder a burden, as she had done for me during the most agonizing year of my sojourn with Christ.


“Thank you for being so vulnerable with me,” I acknowledged after she had finished unloading.

“I don’t think I would be so vulnerable with you, if you hadn’t been so vulnerable with me.” My mind immediately returned to the gun safe and the text I almost didn’t send. What she had perceived as vulnerable, I had perceived as unbearably burdensome.


God had allowed me to enter a season where I couldn’t bear my own weakness, brokenness, or need, so that I would learn to depend. I would have no reserve of strength to even keep myself alive, and have to entirely trust my survival into the hands of Him who created and sustains life. I had to wield the sword and shield with atrophied arms, and a mind entirely blinded by the shadow of death. Through the battle, I had to face my own destitution, and cherish it as the means of bringing me to the well of His strength.


 

"God had allowed me to enter a season where I couldn’t bear my own weakness, brokenness, or need, so that I would learn to depend. I would have no reserve of strength to even keep myself alive, and have to entirely trust my survival into the hands of Him who created and sustains life."

 

He had also allowed me to descend lower than seemed possible so fellow pilgrims wouldn’t see a woman without chinks in her armor, who thought she had plenty of advice (and no need for it) from having succeeded so well. Instead, they would see one who had laid half-dead on the battlefield, and knew the resurrection of Christ in her innermost being.

 

"They would see one who had laid half-dead on the battlefield, and knew the resurrection of Christ in her innermost being."

 

I hung up the phone with humility and delight. God had let me be a companion to my friend because He had taught me to bravely surrender to my own brokenness and neediness before her.

 

"God had let me be a companion to my friend because He had taught me to bravely surrender to my own brokenness and neediness before her."

 

Someone told me that the first time she met someone who was truly vulnerable, she thought, “You’re invincible!” I smiled, knowing I was also invincible. I no longer needed to protect of my own reputation. God had used my mangled messiness to magnify His strength and prove His affection for me. I had fallen off the edge of my own resources, and knew I couldn’t even sustain my own survival. I had also seen the affectionate gaze of God, nearer than I’d ever known Him to be, as soon as my mind cleared.

 

"God had used my mangled messiness to magnify His strength and prove His affection for me."

 

He had tried me. He had refined me as silver is refined. He brought me into the net and laid an oppressive burden upon my loins. He made men ride over my head, and brought me through fire and water. Yet He had kept me in life and didn’t allow my feet to slip. In the end, He brought me into a place of abundance. (Psalm 66:9-12).

The abundant place is where I know the love of God toward us who are beggars (Matthew 5:3). I am not ashamed of my brokenness, because through it I have seen the tenderness of His smile that nullifies all other voices. Knowing His affection makes me brave... It makes me invincible!


 

"I am not ashamed of my brokenness, because through it I have seen the tenderness of His smile that nullifies all other voices. Knowing His affection makes me brave."

 

 

Brave Woman Manifesto


Make sure to check back next week as another courageous Sister shares her story. And by the way...


You are Brave!


No matter what you are facing, God has made you in His image, which means He equips you with His courage, strength, and power. I would love to connect more and give you a FREE gift - the BRAVE WOMAN MANIFESTO: Five Things to Tell Yourself When Life Gets Hard. Click HERE to sign up for my monthly newsletter and you’ll receive the FREE Manifesto, as well as recent blog posts, updated resources and personal details delivered only to my empowered email tribe.


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About Space


Space Welch is a writer, soapmaker, and a preacher's wife. She and her husband, Smiles, have three amazing sons (spanning from next door to Alaska!), the two most lovely daughter-in-laws in the entire universe, and two grandbabies on either side of the womb. She loves to travel, hear people's stories, galavant in the forest, gawk at sunsets, sip coffee on her back porch (or library, depending on the weather), and wear out the binding of her Bible. But mostly she just adores Jesus, and hopes her delight in Him will be contagious.


You can find more of her musings at spacewelch.com and her work with soap HERE or on Facebook. Feel free to connect with Space personally via Facebook as well.


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