There’s just something about Lyss, my friend, that reveals the kind of brave faith I know would have only come about through the work of inner surrender. She tells her story; a story she prefers never to have, but one in which she sees pain having transformative power bringing about purpose and peace. With grit she tells me — God is using all the hard in her life to bring the healing she had desperately sought for. And with sweet surrender she repeats it to me —- all her brokenness have been turned into bounty, and there is always hope for our darkness. We are *never.alone*. This is her story…
Lyss hunched against her kitchen sink that sullen, summer morning, her shoulders shaking hard, wreaking havoc with every onslaught of tears that hollowed her out.
“Sorry…” she broke down, mustering the only two syllables she could mutter in between her sobs.
What do you say when you feel you are anything but whole?
When the world blathers lies that makes your existence feels like one big blunder, and there’s nothing you can do to fix it right?
What on earth is hope —- when it’s your closest on earth that have failed you, left you hurt, hardened, feeling hopeless?
Sometimes to heal means to return to all the poor, painful places of your past, unravel them each by name, release them one by one.
Forgiveness is never easy, and there should never be a simple band-aid solution to humanity’s deep brokenness.
To a girl born into a childhood of dysfunctions; of drugs and anger flaring at the drop of a hat, Lyss grew up confused, angry, rejected.
She experienced her parents’ ultimate separation when she was six months old.
Rotating between two homes, her world went polars apart. Living with extreme strictness in one and extreme freedom in the other home, Lyss tiptoed her way into adulthood never knowing what to expect, never expecting anything good to happen.
The only thing she knew instinctively to do, was to stand up for her younger siblings when her mum’s anger turned into rage and many continuous hitting.
Tears welled up as she recalled, “I’d step in between the fights, worked my courage up, and yell, hit me instead!”
Lyss desperately wanted to cover in public what was happening in her private world.
Deeply cut and dejected, she carried wounds that made her desperate to crawl her way out to freedom.
“I felt like I had no childhood. I was an adult in a child’s body, I had so much responsibility.” Lyss grimaced as she narrated her past.
And yes, she told me, childhood scars mar you, tearing you in irreconcilable places with irreparable damage. You see but feel so unseen, you never know how to hold, because you’ve never been held.
Driven by an inner void and parched for a normal life, Lyss became fond of a man who on first impressions looked the part. Seemingly cultured, he cherished, and charmed her, and spoiled her with love where she had felt so unloved.
When things began to progress very rapidly, Lyss silenced her conscience and ignored other people’s warnings about the relationship. “Why worry?”, she rationalised, “this could be my way out.” Feeling genuinely compelled to help this much older, already married gentleman, Lyss pressed on, down her wedding aisle, and said: “I do.”
She cried all the way to her honeymoon. Something didn’t feel right. The relationship quickly turned abusive, manipulative, and controlling. All her spending was tracked, her movement stalked, her freedom stripped.
Desperately desiring to honour her vows, even with suspicions of things going on behind the scene, Lyss was hanging onto every thread of hope to preserve her crumbling marriage.
Constantly at each other’s throats, and now with a child born, Lyss was forced to draw the hard line in the sand one day, wake to the fact that perhaps her marriage had been built on lies and deceptions, and stop all these perpetuating cycle of further dysfunctions.
Difficult court cases, threatening phone calls, and great uncertainties followed suit.
“I was really angry with God,” Lyss admitted. “I said to Him: You should have protected me. Where were you when the abuse started? Where were you when I needed You the most? My world is shattered and You have failed me!”
Days turned into months, and with her unresolved disappointment, Lyss began to deviate, deep into the forbidden, and devoured the destructive path that came her way.
But one night after escaping all things painful and alone with all the difficult feelings that finally caught up to her, Lyss looked down at her then 18 month-old soundly asleep, walked into her kitchen, held onto the sink, and let a stream out.
“I wept uncontrollably and told Him how sorry I was. It hit me. A light bulb had been turned on. I finally realised, I had to own my life. All these things were my own doing. I had to take my personal responsibility and stop this blame-game.”
Hitting rock bottom, she broke open and surrendered to the one Love that will never bruise, betray, or belittle her.
“What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life? The world would be split open.”— Muriel Rukeyser
“I begin to see that the hand of God has never left me. He actually isn’t a distant God. He is our close Father who loves and accepts us. He will never fail us. I begin to see — all those wrong choices? —- were made because of my own inner brokenness. Yet in all my wandering, God has loved me through and through, and waited patiently for my return. Here is Jesus on the side of the oppressed. He will always take us despite our brokenness, and there is never a darkness too deep that His light cannot reach. He will walk with us every step of every way.”
Right there she told me — for the first time, the unseen can feel so seen, peace can be really felt despite all turmoil, and forgiveness will free all, but mostly us.
“This forgiveness is a massive milestone in my story of separation and the legal mess that soon followed,” Lyss confessed. “I feel such freedom, despite my ongoing challenges, I feel peace.”
“Peace is delivered by God but it is ushered in by the way we guard our heart, keep our heart soft, and make the soil of our hearts ready for God’s activities.”Lisa Allen
Perhaps it’s true — to start over you can’t start with yourself.
Help must come outside of us to help us out of our own helpless selves.
You can stay angry —- bawl about your dysfunctional life, howl at everyone who maimed you, or you can believe —- what feels like a great failure today can be a great success in heaven one day.
I sat there, stunned with this epiphany — the perfect life isn’t the painless life.
The successful life isn’t the secure, stable, safe life.
The beautiful life — is the surrendered life.
Surrendering to the healing work of God who uses all our pain to rebuild and remake us.
My friend was showing me, and I believe it’s true — the politics of hope is never found in the fidelity of people, but in trusting in the only One who is our proven peace, our forever friend.
Wherever life has taken us on, in whatever way we may have been broken, there is a way towards wholeness.
There is a way to heal from all our hard, unprocessed, difficult moments and memories, and a path forward turning all these pain into peace and purpose.
Friend, are you in a place of pain right now? Have you ever thought about how difficult it is to walk this path alone? How can we pray for you today? Please hang around us here as we further delve into the steps on how we can all heal. See you in our Part 2 – Healing the Broken Life