I got a phone call this week from my mom with shocking news. The church secretary at my home church, who I had known for years (but hadn't seen in several years), kept her kids at church and during the summer, had suddenly taken her own life. I was stunned. Without going into all the details with what I've learned, it didn't come as a shock to those to close to her but a shock to those outside her life. Stunned. All I kept thinking about was Dayna's three children: two teenage sons and a ten year old daughter. I kept picturing Dayna's infectious smile: it was killer..could light up a room. Her son posted a picture on FB that was taken the night before she died: same killer smile. But so much pain and despair on the inside.
I've written about my struggle with depression here before. Although I had thoughts of utter despair and helplessness and hopelessness and wanted to die, I can't say that I had ever gotten to the point that Dayna was at. I couldn't help but think of how far the Lord has brought me and how faithful He is and yet sad because Dayna loved the Lord, knew the Lord, but yet still felt hopeless. I could have easily brought myself back to the days of the dark places.
As I was praying for her family, I turned to Isaiah 43:18-19. Lightbulb moment, peace flooded my heart. "Forget the former things, do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing. Now it springs up, do you not percieve it? I am making a way in the desert, and streams in the wasteland." I felt the Lord tell me, "It's done. You don't have to go back there. Walk in where I have you now: a place of new life, new things, abundant blessings." Now it's an every day dependence on the Lord- some days are better than others but i'm in a place of new life, new dreams, new hope.
David and I had our premarital counseling this weekend with dear friends of ours, Eric and Jodi. Eric was my youth minister in high school. We were talking about how God brought us together and what we were looking forward to in marriage. I shared how I had read this verse and how it spoke to me. Again, I had another lightbulb moment. God had taken the broken and painful things of David and I's past and told us to forget about them and not to dwell on it. He has surely provided a way in the desert and streams of LIFE in the wasteland. We are not carrying the weight of our broken hearts into our marriage. Praise the Lord. I remember a time where I literally felt I was going to die of a broken heart after Shane died (for any new readers or to refresh your memory for all 3 of my readers! lol: Shane was my ex boyfriend who was killed in a forklift accident when i was 18. I thought i was going to marry him but looking back now God used that to shape me into who I am today.) Times where the air felt like it was sucked out from the room. God is doing a new thing and I don't have to remember the past.
There was another situation where God used this verse to remind me of His faithfulness today. About 4 years ago, I went through an extremely difficult season at work that lasted 2 years!! It's hard to go into specifics but let's just say I experienced the "not so glamourous side of ministry." It was horrible and the longest 2 years of my life, but God has healed my heart of bitterness, anger, wanting revenge and just overall hatred. I didn't hate this person but hated what they did and the mess I was forced to clean up. Recently this person made some comments regarding the situation and it got back to me. I could have blown up, could have spewed venomous words about them, but i didn't. I just sat back and said, "Wow. Some things never change." I had no desire to re live the feelings of the past. Now that's the work of the Lord..there was a time when I couldn't be in the same room as this person, couldn't stand to hear their name or much less say their name myself. God brought that verse to my heart again: He has done a new thing at work and things are so much better for His glory. No need to dwell on the past.
Maybe there's some past hurts you're dwelling on. Maybe some things you can't seem to let go of, your fingers tightly grasped around it, telling God, "You can have anything but this. This is too big for You." God wants to change your heart, change your mind, change your life. He wants to rid your mind of those things that take up space in your heart and mind that don't belong there. He wants to show you a way in the desert- a way that leads to new things, a way that leads to HIM. Forget the past, live in the now!