“I believe; help my unbelief.”
Each year, I go on a spiritual fast to refresh, refocus, and connect more deeply with Yah. Though I typically do this particular fast during September, this year, He had me do it in February. Before the prompting by His Spirit to enter into a fast sooner rather than later, I knew something life altering was going to happen. It always does during my fasts. 100% of the time. It never fails that He affects my life in a dramatic way. At first, I thought He was going to speak to me about my business. There were some current matters for which I had been seeking Him in prayer. Some were material, but most were spiritual and mental. I needed a serious mind shift. Additionally, there were other things things happening in my life- one I had been struggling with for years- that had managed to bring me to the point where I was experiencing a crisis of faith.
At the beginning of the year. I was beginning to get very disillusioned. I started to believe that I had prayed for so long for a number of things and they never happened. Those things I prayed for had nothing to do with natural matters but peace in my Spirit. That peace seemed to elude me. At the end of last year, I had taken to praying Mark 9:24, “And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.” I was at a really low place. I was in the midst of what seemed like 100 storms, plus I was down on myself for having to pray that prayer. After all, real believers have big faith at all times, about all things- right? At least that is what many in the buildings teach.
I began to think God was not listening. Why did He not care about the spiritual pain that started to express itself physically? I prayed for years, more than a decade, that He would take away this thorn I had. Although many events have happened to me over the years, there was a specific part of my sexual abuse healing journey that had been a thorn in my side, and I did not know why. I had been healed in all of the other areas. I was able to minister and help many people with their healing in those areas where I had been healed. So, why did I keep experiencing this one side-effect that would not go away? Why, LORD? Why?! I cried, pleaded, fasted, everything, for over 10 years, and nothing happened.
I was tight with God…
Not tight as in close, but as in boiling ,white hot mad. It’s okay. I can say it out loud, because He already knows. I felt that I had already suffered the abuse; why did I have to keep suffering this one particular consequence of another person’s depravity? I was angry and hurt. I felt abandoned. I was reeling from discontent and hopelessness. I began to doubt He cared or that prayer worked. My feelings were so strong and palpable. Just as the father cried out with tears to the Father, I cried out to He who is named Faithful. It was my belief that He was who He says He is that allowed me to keep going and not lose my faith, even though I had doubts.
Finally, it was a couple of days before the fast actually started when He revealed to me the purpose. I was in shock, because I had given up hope and decided to stop praying for a healing. I had resigned myself to having to live out the rest of my days dealing with the aftermath of my abuse. However, God said, “It is not so.” The thing He wanted me to fast over was the exact thing that had plagued me all of these years. For the first time in year, I felt hopeful. I have fasted at least once a year for many years, for many reasons, but something told me that this one was going to be different. That may end up being the understatement of my life.
The Removing of My Thorn
First, it was one of my more intense fasts. I had not followed these guidelines since going through my big storm of 2008- seven years ago. It’s interesting that seven is also the number of completion. Second, I knew He was going to make a huge revelation. That is more than what happened. I started to see with fresh eyes as I moved through the book He brought into my life almost 2 years ago, “The Sexual Healing Journey” by Wendy Maltz. In 2003, I was not ready for the totality of what He wanted to show me about my healing journey through the book. In 2015, He decided that it was time to use it to reveal why He had not removed this one pesky thorn. He kept it there for my protection and growth.
He used it to deepen my love for Him, for my family, and my calling. My thorn was not just about me, it was about His ministry He has for me. He could not remove it before time, because I would not have been ready to fulfill his purpose for that thorn. The ultimate reason for my thorn was for His glory. It was not for my pain. God was not mad at me and punishing me. By not revealing some things about my sexual abuse history and stopping some of the side effects of this past crime at an earlier point, He was both protecting me and training me. He used those years to prepare my spirit for the truth and broaden my ministry territory. I was relieved, but it gets better.
Not only did He show me the reason for the thorn, He also revealed to me things my conscious mind had not been ready to handle before this fast. Over the last two years, there were shady glimmers of past events, but I put them out of my head. I was not ready to accept those things were apart of my story. I had already dealt with enough. I did not want another thing with which I had to face. I did not want to know that those events were the reasons for my Decades of Tears. Nevertheless, the Lord said otherwise. He decided I was ready for this piece of my sexual abuse history and healing to fall into place. Though the memories that came and the process undergone during the fast was painful, it didn’t break me. It made me feel stronger. I no longer had that feeling of helplessness and hopelessness. I thank God that He waited.
I am grateful that He took His time and protected my tender spirit until I could handle the ugly truths. I am grateful that He made me live “yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow death, I shall fear no evil.” The past decade- really my entire life- has been difficult. Many times, I felt it was unbearable. But, God. He is faithful and He used the pain felt during the fast to set me free. Pain has a purpose. He turns our ashes into beauty.
Follow Nicole on Twitter at @NowWithNicole