Saturday, March 28, 2009

....But Now I'm Found!

Make sure you read Part 1 before you read this post :)

My Birth Story Part 2
(warning: this post is super-duper long, but I figured I'd get the story finished in just two parts, rather than leaving you hanging again!)

So where was I? Ah, yes....anger and brokenness.

From as far back as I can remember, after my moms death, it felt like there was a part of my heart missing. Naturally, I thought that it must have been because of the longing I had for her. (I suppose a part of that is true, my heart does have a piece that remains for her alone.)
But the emptiness I was feeling was so much more than that. I had a hole in my heart that only God could perfectly fit into. Only God could fix my broken heart.
I learnt very quickly that brokenness was a feeling that I just did not enjoy. I didn't have a clue as to how to fix it, all I knew was that somehow I had to find a way.

So, I tried many things....
School Achievement
But no matter what I tried to make myself feel better, I was always left with this nagging emptiness. I felt alone. I hated feeling like I was alone.

The next place I turned was to friends. Maybe they would fill that hole that I knew was there.
This is where I ran into trouble. You see, by nature I am a people-pleaser.
Now, I don't say this to cast off the blame in any way. I hope you can hear my heart through this. The choices I made were mine, and mine alone, but I allowed my need to please others to take over what I knew was wrong.

So....when nothing was filling the emptiness I felt, I, along with my friends turned to alcohol. I was in Grade 9 the first time I tried alcohol. It tasted HORRIBLE. But, I wanted to fit in so I kept at it. At first I was very cautious and only took a few sips here and there. But the more I tried, the more I felt like I could just escape. I immaturely and selfishly learned to actually like the feeling of being drunk. And like anything else in life practice made perfect. My friends and I began to drink almost every weekend.
Then in grade 10 I tried drugs. Again, I was very apprehensive about trying it, yet at the same time, I didn't really care. I know that doesn't really make sense. I was scared, but also could care less. I think it was because I had allowed myself to be convinced that I was worthless and it didn't matter what I did to myself.

Once I was in Grade 11 I was using drugs just about everyday. To be completely honest, I loved it. Drugs enabled me to escape. Escape the world around me. Escape what I was feeling and what I didn't want to feel. Escape myself.
I was in a downward spiral and heading down a very dangerous road, but I didn't care, I just didn't want to feel anymore. Drugs helped me not feel!

Just before the summer of Grade 11, my best friend's mom started going to a christian church. She was very excited to share with us about this new church, but by this time my heart had hardened so much that my immediate reaction whenever I heard the word God or church was to shut down. So I never paid much attention to her stories.
Her church was hosting a youth outreach team for the summer called Street Invaders. She had prepared some meals for them and asked us to come help her deliver them. Fortunately for me I was too polite to refuse so I went along for the ride.

When we got there I was very uncomfortable. I hadn't been in a church in a very long time.
After we delivered the meals to the kitchen we were introduced to the group of kids. They were our age, and looked nice enough. They invited us to stay and hang out, and we had nothing better to do, so we did.

We quickly learnt that they were from all across Canada and had joined this team to be able to share their faith with others. My initial reaction was: These people are WEIRD!
I had never been around people who were so confident in what they believed. The only problem was that what I believed was the exact opposite- There was absolutely, positively without a question NO GOD!

But, the more time I spent with the team the more I questioned where I stood. Here were kids my age who were genuinely happy. There was just something different about them that stood out and I desperately wanted to figure out. I remember thinking to myself:

"Ok, here are these people, who I think are cool and yet they don't need drugs to be happy. What's up with that?"

It was such a foreign concept to me, because everyone who I associated with was either drinking or doing drugs.

We ended up hanging out with the team everyday that week. They never shied away from talking about their faith and asked my opinion on various topics. Sometimes I'd share what I thought, and sometimes I'd guard my heart.

Near the end of the week one the the girls challenged me to ask God to show me that he was real. I wanted to run away and keep the strong walls I had built up around my heart in tact, but there was something about what I saw in her that I so desperately wanted, that I reluctantly agreed to try it.

This was a VERY big deal fro me. I hadn't been on speaking terms with God for years....but I remember that night like it was yesterday. I sat in my bed, and spoke these simple words:

"God, if you are real, show yourself to me. I want to see you."

And then....nothing.....

I think I half-expected a deep voice from heaven to say "SARA. I AM REAL"

But I didn't, all I got a silence.

I went to bed disappointed and wondering if my little prayer meant anything.
The next day, my older brother asked if he could come with me to the church. (I had invited him earlier on in the week and he hadn't wanted to come)
Now, I won't go into details but my brother was really struggling too, with his own stuff.

When we got to the church he was like a completely different person. Seriously. I literally hadn't seen him smile in months, and here he was laughing and playing basketball. As I watched him emerge from the pit of depression to the joy filled person I saw before me, I KNEW that it was GOD. I was completely overwhelmed and in awe of what I saw before me. Only God could have done that.

And so moments later I found myself with one of the girls from the team in that little christian church asking Jesus to rescue me from myself and come into my heart.

As I began to pray I instantly felt Him. Now, I know it is different for everyone, but I could just FEEL his presence overwhelm me. It was tangible and real. In that moment He took all my brokenness and hurt and held me as I would hold my own child who was hurting.
I would be forever changed.

I remember coming back to the rest of the group and everyone noticing that something was different. I was just overflowing with joy. I couldn't stop smiling. I felt alive. I felt loved. I felt free. Free from the chains that once bound me. Free form the pain of loss. Free from depression and free to be the woman he was calling me to be.

As I type this, I am, and will continue to grow in His freedom. I am so very thankful that while I was slipping down the slope of self-hated and self destruction, he was chasing after my heart. I will be forever in awe of how he opened my eyes and softened my heart.
I have no idea where I would be if He hadn't found me!



  1. what a beautiful story He has written for you.

    I too expected God to say "Here I am"... when I asked Him to reveal Himself to me; but I've learned that He seldom answers prayers in the way I want Him to... but He does answer those prayers in His perfect way.

    Thank you for sharing your story.

  2. beautiful sara.

    so very like our great God- to love and rescue.

    may he continue to use you for His big glory.

    thank you for sharing.

  3. I just love stories with happy endings! Thank you for sharing yours.

  4. That is so awesome!! What an Awesome God!

  5. Sara - what a beautiful birth you've had. From dark to light, sorrow to joy, death to life. Thank you so much for sharing your story!

    ps. I served Chris a cup of your Peppermint HoCho and got RAVE reviews :)

  6. God brought that group of new friends to you at just the right time. What a wonderful story!

    My mother in law died a few years ago. She left behind 5 daughters who were under the age of 20 (the youngest was 10) and three sons. Thank you for sharing what it felt like for you and what you struggled with.

  7. I'm still wiping away the tears. God's grace is amazing.

  8. I love stories like this. Makes my 'beginners journey' seem somehow non-crazy, LOL. Lovely.

  9. Thank you for sharing your birth story Sara! I love the last part and how you said that God was chasing after your heart. what a perfect description of what God does to win the hearts of those he loves. My husband and i work with the youth at our church, and your story is an encouragement to me, as we attempt to influence their lives.
    i'm so glad that God called you out of the pit you were in to serve him in new and exciting ways!

  10. Hey Sara, Praise God for you. I remember seeing you on the floor flat out crying to Jesus at that 'little Christian church' so many years ago... You are an awesome person ~ God has brought you such a long ways and has a huge journey ahead for you. Keep searching and moving towards Him! Love you!

  11. What a beautiful story, sara. thank you for sharing your "birth" story. and like you, i'm a huge fan of denise too. love that girl.

  12. I came to your blog because I happened across your Triple layer brownie cake recipe, but I got so much more. I'm so glad you shared your "birth story" - it's truly amazing how real God can make himself to us - I knew exactly what you meant when you said you could FEEL Him.

    Thank you for sharing your story.

  13. Sara,
    I am speechless,
    This is just such a beautiful story.
    As are you.
    I lost my father when I was 10, and in a sense my world.

    Thank you for sharing this.
    You are loved.

  14. That is so awesome!! What an Awesome God!


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