Photo Nicole Tarpoff
It was late January of my sophomore year of college. Life seemed to be crumbling down around me. My family was in shambles—lies, poor choices, conflict, pain. My heart was broken by a man I thought I trusted. My desperate, sinful choices were overwhelming, like a longing never fulfilled. And in the pit of confusion, I was once again caught in the same traps that the enemy laid before me the previous two decades of my life.
In the midst of each raw circumstance crashing down around me, my mind was even more unsettled than that. I was in the middle of an identity crisis—one I had been battling since birth. Failure. Shame. Heartache. Worthlessness. I couldn’t figure out WHY I was here again. Same mistakes, same fear, same outcome. I had “given my life to Jesus” a year and a half prior to this moment. Aren’t things supposed to get better? The questions, the heartbreak, the sense of failure—all were haunting me as the conviction of the Holy Spirit stirred deep. Will I ever get up from this place with victory?
I truly didn’t know. It was on this night (with these longing questions) that I sung out to the Lord in agony on my bedroom floor: “You know when I rise and when I fall. When I come or go, you see it all. You hung the stars and You moved the sea, but still You know me. . .” The truth of His pursuing love began washing over me in these lyrics. The song continued, “Nothing is hidden from Your sight. Wherever I go, You find me. You know every detail of my life. You are God, and You don’t miss a thing.” The lyrics of Steffany Gretzinger’s song became like an anthem in the pit. It was a moment of DECLARATION over the raw, exposed, bleeding places in my life.
In my wailing melodies, a Strength entered the room. It was sudden and clear. A simple whisper, more powerful than the pain, spoke like a arrow into my heart, “Are you ready to surrender everything?” The presence of God came into the room. It was a revelatory moment. I heard no other words, but with absolute sureness I saw that I must pursue Him for everything He is and says that I am. I saw the condition of my unhealed soul, filled to the brim with wrong beliefs and perspectives that were not in line with His. In this moment of clarity, He was allowing me to make a choice: to keep on going in my path, or to abandon everything I knew and walk toward a path where I could see no end without cost. I made a choice with reckless but hopeful abandon that this moment would change everything.
He made it very easy for me to see the path to take that night. It was almost like a surrender of my will for His. What an exchange of glory! I genuinely asked Him to have everything. It was the night I took a step toward healing. Little did I know it was a massive leap toward discovering who I REALLY am. Not who the world says I am, but One much more eternal than that. He comes to heal the brokenhearted. He comes to set the captives free. He pursues us in the darkest pit. He doesn’t love with conditions. He is true. He is faithful, even when we aren’t. He loves us too much to leave us in our state, but also loves us too much to force His way. He is kind, and His kindness leads us to repentance.
My life changed FOREVER that night. It’s been over four glorious years since this time in my life. I never knew what would be waiting on the other side of surrender. I never understood how paramount saying “yes” to Jesus can be. Our obedience, even when it doesn’t make sense and you know it may hurt, is worth it! He is GOOD—so, so good. I never imagined the anchor He could be for one who KNOWS what it means to be a daughter of the King. Life doesn’t just “get better.” It’s better than that; we learn who we are in any season! We see who He is, holding tightly to these constant promises. Trials will come, but they can’t dictate our unwavering hope any longer. We are free from being tossed by the waves. We are identified by His image. It’s a love stronger than our strength. It is the power of God Himself indwelling in us. It’s our inheritance as children of God.
Pursue healing. Chase the true reality of His promise. You’ll find His Presence is what you were created for. I sure have.
A Million God Stories is a Christ-centered ministry which offers a platform for Christians from all streams of Christian faith to give praise for how God has worked in their lives. Christ heals in infinitely creative ways and we acknowledge that His way of helping may differ from person to person.