There were five of us. We met together for a couple of years. There was a bond between us. That bond was Jesus. Each of us had just tasted what it meant to be free in Christ. We were excited. Enthusiastic. Young. Energetic. With a passion for Christ and all that we were in Him. We were shaking off our chains and tasting what it meant that the Father sent His Son to set us free. This, by Jesus' life, death, and resurrection. Our religion was being replaced with a deeper personal relationship with our Savior, Jesus.
Meeting at the beach, we basked in the beauty of Christ and His creation. We were honest with ourselves and each other. We counseled each other. Listened. Prayed. Meditated. Like a sponge, we soaked in new thoughts from each other.
Then a time came when I was becoming very sick. Having no idea just how sick I already was, I asked Danny to call my friends to meet me at the beach. Two came, along with another friend. I shared with one friend before the others arrived all that had been going on in my head. She was petrified. I had to escape the thoughts in my head. My magnified fears. My imagination. I felt paranoid. Both my friend's and my fears grew.
When I realized my friends were attempting to take me back home, I panicked and jumped out of the car to run away. When we did meet my husband, I found that he had been so scared, he called the police. I convinced the police that I was fine. The next day we went to the best Doctor at Mayo Hospital. I convinced the doctor I was fine. Danny and I went home, but the illness grew even worse.
I remember getting in my husband's truck and driving for what seemed forever. The windows down. Smoking cigarettes with the music playing. Although my husband would take my keys, I would find another way to try to outrun the thoughts in my mind. My family never knew if I would be there when they woke up or not. I felt so paranoid. I continually thought, I have just got to get free. Free from me.
At the time, we were no longer on the football staff, thank the Lord. Because this meant my husband was with our children. Their ages ranged from 11 to 22 then. It was only weeks later that I agreed to go to the hospital. This was a start to my journey of remission and learning to depend on God and not myself.
From the deepest part of our being we all long to be free The Bible speaks of our slavery. It took Christ dying on the cross for our sins to set us free. He took all our wrongs, and all the not-doing-what-we-should in exchange for His perfect life. He satisfied God's wrath against sin. He paid the price to give us a perfect life that we could not live. He cleansed us. So there is no more shame or guilt or fear. We are free to worship God. It is the power of Christ rising from the dead that lives in us by His Spirit. So we do not lose hope no matter how bad our circumstances are.
We are free because God is faithful. Not because of ourselves. Sometimes our road is long. We step forward and we step backward. But we always have the hope of the Cross before us.