Minister Norita Marshall
The Harvest Magazine contributor
I found myself low and at one of my weakest points. I was on a bathroom floor telling God I can’t do this anymore. Crying, weary, and just unsure of how to go on in life; I was desperate for help. This is the picture of a woman who was broken from many trials and tragedies in her life. She is in a paralytic state mentally, frozen in time, overcome by grief and sadness. There hadn’t been enough good days and victories, of late, to compensate for the pain and disappointment that dominated her existence. She wanted out — out of life, out of pain.
She was me.
It wasn’t just one situation that brought me to this low place, but many that culminated over time into a climactic explosion. Abandonment, molestation, rape, sexual abuse, rejection, anxiety attacks, domestic violence and trauma mixed together slowly over the course of my life, stirred up by low self-esteem and fear and a heap of bad decisions were the ingredients that seemingly would lead to the end of me. While many of these occurrences were at the hands of others some were simply my fault.
Though my view of life during this time was dark and out of focus, God was at work. I know this because of what He promised in Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God to them who are the called according to His purpose.” God was with me in that bathroom that day and to my cry, He answered “YOU MUST GO ON.” There was something about the word MUST that made me get off the floor and find a dictionary for it’s meaning. Must defined means: be commanded or requested to; be urged to, ought by all means to; be compelled by physical necessity to…In that moment I realized through the power of God’s Spirit I had only one choice and that was I MUST GO ON. God gave meaning to my life once again.
I wasn’t out of the woods just yet, for trials kept coming and again I sunk to a low. While driving my car with my two young children in tow I stepped on the accelerator, screamed aloud words that expressed my pain in an attempt to take my life and that of my children. I heard the scream of my daughter, “Mommy No!” I came back to myself in that moment by the grace of God. Shortly thereafter, I received a notice from an adjudicator to appear in court regarding a tags/registration matter. The verdict was a suspended license. My brother stepped in and for the entire period of time, he drove my children and I everywhere we needed to go. God was at work and all things were working together for my good. I thank God for saving my life.
My story doesn’t end there for the trials never stopped and neither did the attacks from the enemy. Early one morning I was rushed to an emergency room due to heart palpitations. The attending physician suggested I take valium, but I immediately turned down the offer. For years earlier, a family member told me of her addiction to the drug and warned me never to take it. Realizing that there was no sign of a heart attack and no physiological reason for my racing heart, I told the doctor I knew what I had to do. I returned home and I prayed. I needed God’s help to calm my fears. Through my tears, I asked God to help me with all the pain, disappointments and the trials. He did. God helped me.
A hunger and thirst like never before to know God came over me. I recall staying up late at night and rising early in the morning to read and study the word of God. I never stopped attending church and Bible Study regularly and I watched the broadcasts of a well-known Bible teacher many mornings before starting my day. There were many family and friends who came to my aid with prayer and provision for physical needs. God was at work increasing my faith. God was at work renewing a right Spirit within me. God was at work lifting my head. God gave me “beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness…that He may be glorified.”
I am a living witness that “weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.”
Life’s challenges never stopped, but I learned to face them with new HOPE. Jesus Christ the Son of God gave me this hope. I heard much about Him, read about Him, listened to sermons about Him, but there was nothing like meeting Him for myself. I smile as I think of the joy that came into my life and I fight back my tears in this moment as I am overwhelmed by the awesomeness of His presence now in my life.
I was now armed and equipped as a soldier going into battle. Truth – Jesus had come to me. I was no longer in darkness, but living in the light. God used all of the pain that led to my breakdown to produce good in my life, breakthrough. Prayer and praise became allies I used to combat spiritual warfare. There was much work ahead in severing my past and establishing a new identity. The devil didn’t just give me up, I had to hold on to God through every layer that was peeled back and I am still healing. God kept His promise, “never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”
One thing I neglected to do during my darkest hours was to seek professional help. I believed that by faith I could get through it all. While this is true, a facet of faith is to move in action, do something. I also believed the lie that seeing a therapist was for people with mental issues. How lost was I? God encourages believers to seek godly counsel. And declares, “where no counsel is, the people fall; but in the multitude of counselors there is safety.”
Years later, I discovered first hand the benefits of working with a Christian psychologist. I experienced breakthrough that formed in my heart a desire to pursue Christian counseling as a vocation.
When you are called out of darkness into the marvelous light of God no amount of abuse, bad decision-making or trouble will thwart the plan of God for your life. Rejoice in knowing “that all things work together for good to them that love God to them who are the called according to His purpose.”