“The Only One”
“You were the only one who loved me.”
The mid-20s crisis: it’s in the books now–the psychologists know. When the red carpet of youth runs out, and it’s time to man up. Your beliefs and values are put to the test. Fore me, it was the year I spent in bed, which became the cocoon of the biggest turning point of my life.
I was in my last year of college, and Henry Blackaby’s Experiencing God, was a kind of required reading for any coming-of-ager in my circles. I was intrigued by the piece of his roadmap he called the “crisis of faith.” I had no clue I had one waiting around the corner.
The last several months of college I went through a confusing heartbreak, but … you know, that’s life right. Well, then there were those 4 rounds of antibiotics for an upper respiratory infection I couldn’t shake. I was able to continue classes and track practice, but I was on my way down.
My parents had flown to California to see my final track and field competition. I napped HARD for several HOURS in the hotel room before my final race. I was falling apart. I woke up disoriented, and they were like, “Girl, you better get going!” I had no idea is was just an outer manifestation of what was happening in my mind and spirit in that terrible post-college transition into “the real world.”
I went home for a week-long stay before a summer missions assignment leading a traveling worship team. I was in bed with a flu-like non-flu. Two weeks later, I wasn’t any better and could barely function out of bed. I had to cancel my plans. This wasn’t acting like the flu.
Four weeks later, I was still no better. Low grade fever, cotton ears, cloudy head, debilitating headache and fatigue.
My childhood doc asked me 4 questions and called it depression. My mom and I looked at him like, “huh?” At 6 months, after blood tests and MRIs and CAT scans ruling out Lymes, Mono, etc, they could call it Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
I did my research. I met all the criteria. Type A, over-achiever, ending a project, in transtion. UGHHHH!
I couldn’t work. I couldn’t function. I stayed in bed. Not sleepy. But unable to get up. The definition of hell for a driven personality. Pain in my head and neck and eyes.
I had hours and days and hours alone in my parents’ house as they both worked.I can still feel the quiet womb of my childhood home. Waiting. Wanting to heal.
The inner dialogue had begun immediately.
How had I allowed pleasing other people to keep me from saying no and listening to my body’s clues that I had reached a limit. It was that simple, right?
So I quested to manage my yesses and nos.
It must be deep-seated sin that I must purge–that thing that was killing me… It must be my need to be in the center of things, moving forward, succeeding at something.
Surely this sickness was literally draining that sin out of my like the pus from a wound. I would get better now that I knew what I was dealing with, right? Now that I understood.
But I didn’t get better.
The highest dose of meds they would give me would barely take off the edge of fibromyalga down my shoulders in my back.
Desperate for escape, one I night begged the Lord to let me sleep on the floor of heaven (weird, right? I said desperate.) He DID.
Take me to your secret place… I can’t get there on my own.
I was headed for an encounter with the gospel that I thought I already knew.
All I knew was that if there was an answer man couldn’t give me, I would find it in the scriptures. I read and read and read and read. Alone in bed, between long sessions of sleeping. Jesus, You are my great physician. Surely you can tell me what’s wrong with me.
He woke me up one night with an an image from physics. A stark vision clear in my mind. I knew it was the Holy Spirit revealing it to me. These 2 vectors that you think are rocket boosting and piggy backing in the same direction are at odds and at a deadlock of stuck power in the middle of your being, He downloaded to my mind.
(1, my natural talents and abilities that had “set me up” in one of those “you can do anything you set your mind to” mindsets. And 2, the empowerment of God supporting me because I was supposedly “on His team.”)
The Spirit of God was revealing to me that I was functioning under an assumption that with all of my natural qualities, and with God behind me, I was bound for success. I had a double advantage.
But I was dead wrong about it.
Hmmmmm. What was I supposed to do with that?
I didn’t understand. But I knew God was helping me.
I read and read and read the Bible. Putting the pieces together.
I had moments of getting better, then I would be slammed back into bed.
One day at my lowest, I saw that I just didn’t know how to get better. Nothing was changing, and I was weary, contemplating death.
I reached the conclusion that God was good and I was too sinful to commune with Him in His holy reality. He would have to set me aside, but it would be ok. I was not demolished, because I at least knew I absolutely could not reach sinlessness on my own. He could set me aside, and I could still praise him, although I would be in the camp of the condemned.
Y’all this is CRAZY TALK! But do you see where my religious ideas had led me?
That was a somber moment in my bedroom in Denver City. I felt like I finally saw the truth of my life. I was a sinner.
I couldn’t make it through 3 hours without being annoyed at my mother–the one who was TAKING CARE OF ME. I could not watch TV without desiring to be famous “like them.”
I was supposed to travel to Albuquerque to meet a friend and stay with her. I was getting better, and I had the opportunity to look for a job there and possibly stay there with her, but I knew the change was going to be too much for me.
I couldn’t eat. I was too troubled to eat. I was a walking dead man. When I got to Albuquerque, I spent the weekend in my friend’s bed, sick again. This was ridiculous, y’all.
One particular worship song would bring my spirit peace: it was like a glimpse of light, and it was the only thing that brought me comfort. I played it on repeat over and over. My mind could not understand the words, but my spirit could. In that song was the message of the gospel, the good news of Jesus that I thought I already knew, the good news that I had grown up hearing in church all my life. But it was so contrary to the direction and momentum of my life that I could not comprehend It.
“I’m forgiven because You were forsaken.I’m accepted. You were condemned. And I’m alive and well and Your spirit lives within me because You died and rose again.”
The next day, I was pacing an Albuquerque parking lot, and the words poured out of my spirit. Words I remember reading as a 6th grader in my room alone from the scriptures that the Holy Spirit had pierced into my heart for such a time as this.
“If righteousness could be gained through following the law, then Christ died for nothing.”
I found myself saying that over and over, asking myself, asking God, “Then why did Christ die again.”
I really didn’t know.
I had growing up in church, and I literally did not know.
You see it, don’t you–where this is going?!
Everything I was trying to gain–He had already given me. His death in my place set me free from the penalty of sin. He did it for me.
Let me tell you.
My health changed.
My personality changed.
The weight of the world was lifted off my shoulders.
I had known God’s voice, and as it says in the scriptures, if anyone hears God’s voice, He will lead you to Jesus.
I finally had the joy of my salvation.
He was the only one who told me that I was a sinner. To the outside world, I had done everything right. Straight A student, college athlete, homecoming queen, cheerleader, student council president, prom queen and on and on…. A million sermons, a million prayers. The Holy Spirit had to reveal it to me in intimate conversation.
And He was the only one to privately minister to me through the comforting spirit and the scriptures that He had already given me everything I thought I had earned and would have to maintain through my efforts and amazingness.
The burden of my soul, the striving, had made me sick. And I could not heal myself.
At 22, living with my parents with no job, I discovered the beautiful truth of Jesus.
That crisis lasted one year. I was able to get a teaching job shortly after that and begin that elusive life as a new creation! I had been set free from lies that had completely shut me down. Only once did that familiar sickness land on my upper shoulders and creep up into my head as a headache. I took the day off of work and lay on the couch and preached to myself quietly in my heart and rested my heart in the truth that everything was going to be ok because I couldn’t mess this up! With Jesus having already declared me righteous by his blood, it was impossible to mess this up.
Most of the songs on my first album “In the Dark” are about my crossing over from a works-based Christianity to a faith-based one. I was IN THE DARK! I don’t know if that is a crude way of putting it, but it is a short way of saying what I did above. The song “Following Your Dreams” from “In the Dark” touches on that experience of being in bed at home, finally hearing the “Word” of salvation.
Praise God! My mother admitted she’d been embarrassed to have her superstar daughter living at home. Lord knows the town talked. Apparently, having cut my hair short and living the athlete’s life in college made people talk about me, too…. they have names for these kinds of girls! lol!! But without my parents’ love and support, I truly do not know what I would have done.
(For those who have followed my music for a long time, the song “Blessed“ from the “About Love” CD is also partly about my parents during that time.)
PRAYER for you to pray out loud with me!
Lord, You are my great healer, my salvation. Help me understand what you have given me so that I will be out of the limbos of life, wondering, waiting, reaching, striving.
You put all of yourself into Christ, and He put all of Himself into Me! I have received your great salvation! THANK YOU! It is mine.
I call myself loved and made whole and complete through your shed blood on the cross, because that is what you call me.
Lyrics for “The Only One”
You were the only one who was there on the day
when I realized my sin
You were the only one who was there to tell me
You had taken it away
You are my God; I am your familiy
I am Your child; You are my family
You were the only one who could tell I was lost
When I was faking my way
You were the only one who could recreate each part
Perfect in every way
You were the only one who saved me
You were the only who loved me
You are the only one who saves me
You are the only one who loves me
Music Charts:Click here for Charts for this song and the songs of Wild Hymn II, All Days Sacred
In My Songbook:
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