I am so blessed to be a part of the Living Waters / Desert Stream community! So many people connected to this ministry, both nationally and internationally, have been a balm to my soul. I have loved finding people who are not afraid to talk about their pain, share their struggle, and come to Jesus in their weakness. When I am with the LW community, I feel as though I am with “my tribe,” and I have grown so much since connecting to Living Waters in 2008.
I grew up wrestling between two extremes. On one hand, I was hungry for the fullness of life! A sensitive young girl, I deeply felt the needs and emotions of those around me. I yearned for people (including myself) to be free and alive, full meaning and hope. I wanted to do something with my life that would bring healing and restoration to the dark and broken places I saw.
On the other hand, I was stuck in my own darkness. Broken in my perceptions of myself, namely my “female” self, I struggled with depression, insecurity, and undercurrents of anxiety. I had a low view of myself and I turned inward, seeking comfort through masturbation, viewing pornographic images and fantasy. I longed for deep and life-giving connections with others, but I was equally afraid of being known. As often happens, wounds from others at key moments in my journey only reinforced my pain. I desired to be fully open and fully known, but shame and fear of rejection kept me bound.
In early college, God graciously led me to a group of women who modeled life in Christ—and life abundant! Their joy, lighthearted natures and their genuine care for me helped me start to come out of hiding. I was able to share my shame, and began learning to merge my two identities—the public and the private me—into one “being healed” woman, learning how to do real relationship with real people. God ignited in me a renewed hope for healing through submitting my wounds to the tender touch of Christ. His Love began to transform the dark places!
In the time since then, I’ve learned that transformation is an ongoing process. Because we don’t know what we don’t know, even our good attempts at pursuing life and wholeness sometimes fail us and others we care about. We realize that we are still working out our healing—most often in and through relationships. We grow as we try! And we stay grounded through continual commitment to Christ and His Mercy.
I am learning to embrace this good process! Through it all, the God who is making me a “pure and radiant bride” (Ephesians 5:27) has His way! Always the best storyteller, He writes new chapters of our stories in ways that initially looked impossible—redeeming mistakes, healing deep wounds, making good come from evil, beauty from ashes, and giving joy from mourning!