By Lisa Garon
God's Brave Women - Lisa's Story
As a child, I was known as a good girl. I loved to talk with anyone who would engage with me. I loved school. I loved going to church. Any time I could be around people, I was happy. Labeled as outgoing and an extrovert from a young age, I sought attention from others. Soon this would leave me empty and disappointed.
When I was 6, my sister was born but had a mild medical issue, rightfully taking up much of my parents’ attention and time. A few years later, my brother was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, an autoimmune disease, further taking my parents’ attention. We had just moved to a small town in southern Illinois, and I struggled to make friends. Even though I knew Jesus and had made a decision in my life to believe in him, I was still left isolated and alone.
Over the next few years, this feeling of isolation and awkwardness grew intensely. By sixteen, I was in the throes of depression, self-harm, and an identity crisis. I still loved Jesus and was even involved in my church. But there was longing for committed relationships no one could fulfill. I wanted so desperately to be seen! Often, because of my over-eagerness, I would drive people away. The message I received was clear. I was too much. And now I was on my own.
"There was longing for committed relationships no one could fulfill. I wanted so desperately to be seen! Often, because of my over-eagerness, I would drive people away. The message I received was clear. I was too much. And now I was on my own."
As the years went by, I turned to binge drinking, food addiction, and promiscuity – seeking approval, relationships, and love. A self-proclaimed workaholic, sometimes working 80 hours a week, I didn’t make time for anything that wasn’t immediately gratifying. I still called myself a Christian, but my life was anything but Christ-like.
A few days before my twenty-second birthday, I married my husband after seven weeks of meeting him.
When Bob and I married, I carried my identity struggles with me, and he brought his own. Then, five months later, I discovered I was pregnant. The intensity and speed of our relationship increased my own battle with identity and anxieties. Out of my desperation for his love and validation, I did everything to please him and make him happy. It only made things worse.
Pain led to cycles of shame and escalations in our arguments, which grew in number as time went on. Neither of us felt loved or seen by the other, something I longed for deeply. Desperation invoked anger, pride, and selfishness inside because I wasn’t receiving what I thought I should from Bob. Rather than confronting my own offenses, I justified my sin as validated reactions to his offenses.
I cried out to God for help, but wasn’t seeking Him out of surrender. Hoping for a way out of the choices that led me to this place, I pleaded with Him to help me, while simultaneously insisting it could not possibly be me at fault.
"I cried out to God for help, but wasn’t seeking Him out of surrender. Hoping for a way out of the choices that led me to this place, I pleaded with Him to help me, while simultaneously insisting it could not possibly be me at fault."
After almost a decade, God gently brought me into a surrendered relationship with Him. I had left my full-time job and jumped right into working with Bob in our family business, homeschooling our son, and leading a group of middle-school girls at church. I was pouring out into everyone else with nothing inside of me to give.
For the second time in my life, I was in a marked identity crisis.
I shared this place of acute heartache with a few pastors in my church, and by God’s kindness, they loved me in the dark places without shaming me. They listened to me with love. They gave me gentle pushes towards pursuing my identity in Christ, apart from anyone else. They taught me true biblical teaching, discipleship, love, and accountability.
It wasn’t enough for me to say the words “I believe in Jesus” when I was a child. I missed the whole part about learning the compassionate, gracious, truth-filled way of Jesus and what it meant to follow Christ with every aspect of my life.
"It wasn’t enough for me to say the words “I believe in Jesus” when I was a child. I missed the whole part about learning the compassionate, gracious, truth-filled way of Jesus and what it meant to follow Christ with every aspect of my life."
When I fully surrendered my whole being to Christ, I was confronted with my personal sins of pride, selfishness, and anger. Only since acknowledging and turning away from these embedded and deeply rooted behavior patterns have I been able to experience freedom, confidence, and love in ways I could only have imagined before.
Years later while looking through the Psalms, I came across Psalm 40:1-3. God’s redemptive story for my life was seen so clearly as I read.
“I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord.”
It was out of the pit of brokenness that I bravely cried out to be known, know myself, and know peace. When I called out, I cried out for freedom I couldn’t understand. I was seeking an identity I did not know anything about. My plea was from a heart of selfishness because I didn’t know any better.
But the Lord still heard me.
"It was out of the pit of brokenness that I bravely cried out to be known, know myself, and know peace. When I called out, I cried out for freedom I couldn’t understand. I was seeking an identity I did not know anything about... But the Lord still heard me."
He didn’t hold my past or the state of my heart against me. Instead, He lifted me up out of the self-destructive pit of despair and self-harm. And He didn’t stop there.
He continues to make my steps secure, grounding my feet with His stability. He fills my mouth with new words of praise to Him. Now, He gives me the boldness to share my story with others so they can find their place in God’s redemptive story of hope, love, and peace.
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.
AS A BONUS… Subscribers will also be the first to receive news regarding the BRAVE WOMEN BIBLE STUDY! SIGN UP for more info on the study’s release and availability.
Lisa Garon is a writer and speaker, along with her husband Bob, at bobandlisagaron.com. Her varied background, including management and ministry, brings a fresh call to Christians to combine actions with faith for God’s glory.
Bob and Lisa have been married 18 years and have a teenage son and three fur-babies. Originally from the midwest, they recently moved to Oregon. They love their explorations in the Pacific Northwest and dream of their next adventure.