I found myself lying flat on my back in a deep, dark pit. The kind of heart-pit you can’t dig your way out of alone.
Paralyzed by depression and anxiety.
And when I say paralyzed… I mean absolutely frozen in the brokenness of mental illness.
I was empty. Desperate. Confused. Angry. Scared. And convinced this is where I would stay.
But that wasn’t the woven-together plan of my Father for my life. He had every intention for me to come out of that pit and He sent His Son to do the dirty work.
The night that I met Jesus, the real Jesus, the down in the dirt with you Lord…was about 3 months into my struggle with a life-altering panic disorder. I was young, newly married, (what a wedding gift…hey babe…remember how you said in SICKNESS and health…let’s give that sickness line a spin) and…wait for it…
I was a CHRISTIAN. Gasp. Clutch your pearls. I know. Scandal.
How could a Christian end up where I had?
Trust me. I thought it too.
One night my dad, desperate to see me come out of this incredibly desperate season, came to me with a Bible and told me to go out on the porch and not come back in until I heard from Jesus. And he meant it. Locked me out of the house.
I was pissed.
If Jesus was going to say something to me why would He wait until now? He surely sees the suffering I’m in, the 10 times a day debilitating panic attacks, the sleepless nights, the lack of eating, the way that I had slowly slipped into this shell of a person who couldn’t even form words. Surely He was there when the ER doctor suggested a mental institution? So why now? Why now would he decide to pipe up and give me His opinion?
Did his 2 cents even matter at this point? I didn’t think so.
I plopped down on the porch and opened the Bible arbitrarily, like a spin the globe and point kind of method.
“The Spirit of God, the Master, is on me
because God anointed me.
He sent me to preach good news to the poor,
heal the heartbroken,
Announce freedom to all captives,
pardon all prisoners.
God sent me to announce the year of his grace—
a celebration of God’s destruction of our enemies—
and to comfort all who mourn,
To care for the needs of all who mourn in Zion,
give them bouquets of roses instead of ashes,
Messages of joy instead of news of doom,
a praising heart instead of a languid spirit.
Rename them “Oaks of Righteousness”
planted by God to display his glory.”
In an instant I felt a feeling of lift, where I once felt paralyzed I felt the tingling of life coming back, movement where once I was frozen.
Jesus whispered into my weary face that night and said, “I have come for you. The real me. Not the me you’ve pledged your loyalty to but had no dependence on and no affection for. You are the captive I have come for tonight. I am going to set you free.”
I was pardoned. And I immediately felt it. I was going to be ok, more than ok, Jesus himself was here for me, he had climbed down to the bottom of that black hole and was speaking life back into me.
That night I knew that freedom was being declared over my life. That this anxiety…this controlling force in my life no longer could control me.
And as quickly as I knew that I was free, I knew this: that God had a VERY clear purpose for me.
He was calling me to my fellow pit dwellers and I knew that He was coming for me to heal me, redeem me and then immediately use me.
The rope that Jesus threw into that pit, the way He chose to pull me out, was to show me my destiny, the knowledge that I had a design and that all of the mess I was laying in, all of the moments stolen from me by this season, could be, and would be redeemed, lit a tiny spark in me that turned into full blown hope.
I had a head on collision with the reality that Jesus, the real Jesus, had come to set me free of anxiety and to piece my life back together. And that He was sending me out to do for others what had just been done for me.
It was my “Get up and walk” moment.
A short 3 months later the Lord blew through my heart a tiny vision – a crazy idea, a way to love the poor in my city by using His people, the church.
Three months after being flat on my back in that pit I was taking my first steps towards what would be the mantle of leadership I have carried at The Hub: urban ministries for the past 10 years.
Don’t let the title “Founder” fool you.
I was just a freshly healed girl, legs shaky but feet on the solid ground of Jesus…who came for me with a whisper of hope and a shouting of my purpose.
The Kingdom is upside-down in every way.
The choice of Jesus is never the choice of the world and hardly ever the choice that looks good on paper.
I sure didn’t.
“Take a good look, friends, at who you were when you got called into this life. I don’t see many of “the brightest and the best” among you, not many influential, not many from high-society families. Isn’t it obvious that God deliberately chose men and women that the culture overlooks and exploits and abuses, chose these “nobodies” to expose the hollow pretensions of the “somebodies”? That makes it quite clear that none of you can get by with blowing your own horn before God. Everything that we have—right thinking and right living, a clean slate and a fresh start—comes from God by way of Jesus Christ. That’s why we have the saying, “If you’re going to blow a horn, blow a trumpet for God.”
1 Corinthians 1:27-31
The story of The Hub doesn’t start with the story of an organization.
It starts with the glorious putting back together of a very broken girl.
He knew that the broken in my city needed someone who had tasted destruction and lived to tell about it. Someone who could only stand before them because of the power of the same God that was offering the same glorious rescue to them.
They needed to know that if He could restore me, He would restore them.
The story of The Hub reflects the heart of God from day one: that He is a pursuer of the broken heart, that HE is coming for His kids and His choice is that He do that through us.
That’s how much He loves us.
Man, what a good God.
Don’t disqualify yourself from the whispers of dreams and the visions God has given you.
It is precisely in your weakness that He will get the most glory.