Updated: Sep 8, 2019
Three years ago, today, everything in my life came crashing down. My husband’s PTSD and alcohol abuse had hit the lowest point it would ever go, and I felt completely done with all of it.
I had attempted to go to work, but couldn’t stay, so I quickly ran to a gas station to buy a pack of cigarettes, then drove out to the one place I knew I could be totally alone, Palisades State Park. Once there, I was going to try and sort things out, as I filled my lunges with some delicious smoke.
Per the usual during confusing times, I would self-destruct. I needed to feel in control. I needed to do something for ME, something I enjoyed (like smoking a forbidden cigarette), because at that moment everything around me was chaos, and all I felt was completely abandoned.
When I got to the park I found a small cave where I was able to dig out a soft spot in the rocks and sit down. I opened the pack of Marlboro Reds, lit one up, and took a big inhale. As I exhaled out that familiar taste, everything that was going on hit me in the gut like a ton of bricks, and I began to sob.
I cried from the depths of my soul. One of those sobs that physically hurts, because you aren't able to catch your breath before the next wave of pain consumes you. I felt completely exposed... venerable...defenseless...weak. It was the most sickening feeling I had ever experienced!!
The worst part of all, was that my brain could not stop focusing on the biggest disappointment; Where the hell was God? Why had He been too busy to hear me?! Why wasn’t He able to save my marriage, or help my husband with his PTSD? Where was God during all of the horrible fights and abuse?! Was He hiding?? Maybe turned a blind eye?? Or did He simply just not care?
Anger poured from my shaking body, as the rain began to pour from the skies. It had been a perfectly sunny day, yet suddenly, it was raining as if God was saying “I am here and I am sobbing with you."
Slowly I began to calm down enough to take out my phone, open notepad, and document everything that was spilling from my bleeding heart. This is what came out:
“It's as if my world has shattered though I know, deep down, it hasn't. Sadness is all around me, but as a human being who has been created by a God who is strong, I am equipped with strength beyond my understanding. At this moment, as I sit in a muddy cave listening to the rain, to the wind, to the sounds of God's creation, I suddenly see all the strength I've been given, and it humbles me.
Being strong is so much more than just putting one foot in front of the other, it's being able to sit in the wonder of God's glory, and simply accept His unflinching love.
So many times I have felt selfish when I’ve tried to ask for help from You, Lord. I tend to fill my mind with doubts saying, "There are so many others who are dealing with far greater things in life. Who am I to ask for help when God is busy with those who are more broken than I?"
I see now, to God, broken is broken no matter what circumstance caused it, and love is love for all who seek it. Even for me.
He designed me to be strong, but He also designed me to be able to feel this pain so that I may fully understand my potential, and trust it.
This world is so vast, and I make up such an incredibly small part of it, yet to my Creator, I am not small. He has never seen me as small, or weak, or minuscule, such as I see myself.
He sees me as a GIANT! As His masterpiece that is perfect in every way. I am not small.
How can I be? There is a God who lives inside me who has created EVERYTHING!! How can something small, house something to that magnitude??
No. I see it now. I am a beautiful piece of art. Every inch of me is loved and cherished. Everything I am was designed and placed perfectly so that I may live in this world as part of its beauty.
In this world I will have troubles, but I must take heart and believe that God has overcome my struggles. He has me in His arms, and He is never letting go!
God, You are my rock. You are my strength, You are my safe place. When I am with You, nothing can destroy me for You would never allow it. I am not destroyed even now, though my life wants me to feel as though I am.
What an incredible battle it is to remember to be silent, yet today, You have enabled this moment of peace for me. You have touched the hearts of those around me, who care for me, and You have lead me here to this quiet place, so that I may sit and rest in You.
As my heart cries, You kiss away the pain. You are restoring my strength. What a truly beautiful day it is to be alive.
I couldn't feel more loved, than I do in this very moment. What an amazing thing it is to finally understand my place.
I am not small."
As I typed those words, I began to realize that I felt so alone because I truly believed that my issues weren’t that big of a deal to the Lord. I was lying to myself by believing His attention was elsewhere, with someone who had far greater worriment, and my problems were too small for Him to bother with.
But now, very clearly, I was hearing Jesus say, “Tara, you are not small. Your problems are NOT insignificant.” The words kept repeating over and over in my head, until my heart finally began to sing them out,
“I am not small.
I am NOT small.
I matter to Him.
My issues matter to Him.
He IS here with me, now!
I am not small!!!”
My whole perspective changed in that very moment as I repeated those four powerful words. I am not small. I looked down at the pack of smokes in my hand and thought, “What am I doing to myself?” Immediately, I crushed them up, went to my car, and drove to Ten 6 Tattoo where I had the reminder permanently placed on my wrist.
To this day, as I look at this tattoo, it prompts me to never forget how BIG I am in Jesus.
I matter. YOU matter! You are not small to Jesus either! He loves you with more love than you can possibly imagine, and if you just listen, He will find the most perfect ways to tell you- but you must listen closely-because His still voice can get hard to hear behind all of life’s fears and anxieties.
Listen with your heart and He will speak to you as He did to me that day, in that moment, when I needed Him the most. He WAS THERE. He always is!
You are not small!