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 wavering between extremes. On one hand, I was hungry
for the fullness of life! A sensitive girl, I deeply felt the
needs and emotions of those around me. I yearned for people (including
myself) to be free and alive, full of 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!