He Lit Up My Life (My Healing Testimony, Part 2)

“Retelling this story fulfills
our joy.” 1 John 1:4 (The Voice)
From enveloping, uterine darkness I came screaming into the
light on October 17, 1977. Thirty-seven bittersweet years ago, that I wouldn’t
rewrite, even if given the chance…
In honor of my debut, my parents dedicated the year’s
chart-topper to firstborn me, “You Light Up My Life” (Debby Boone), in what I like
to think was divine foreshadowing—of things to come in this vapor of a life I’d
live…
“You Light Up My Life”
Debby Boone
So many nights
I’d sit by my
window,
Waiting for
someone
To sing me his
song.
So many dreams
I’ve kept deep
inside me.
Alone in the
dark
But now you’ve
come along.
And you
Light up my
life.
You give me hope
To carry on.
You light up my
days
And fill my
nights
With song.
Rolling at sea,
Adrift on the
waters.
Could it be
finally
I’m turning for
home?
Finally, a
chance
To say,
“Hey, I love you,”
Never again
To be all alone.
It can’t be
wrong,
When it feels so
right.
‘Cause you…You
light up my Life
Depression has darkened many years of my existence, along
with it’s sidekick, anxiety; a lifelong struggle that’s classically resonated
with me in terms of darkness and light. But this debilitating affliction has
been my fertile soil–affording me growth and humbling, and invaluable insight
into the character of my God. After many years washed in tears, having been resurrected
in His power, I’ve landed in a joyful place of acceptance, and gratitude for
this instructional, life-giving thorn. Even readiness—to go forth with my
story, a voice of light for so many in the darkness I’ve known.
Only God.


Often it’s in life’s darkest trenches that our faith deepens
the most. This has been, and is, my story. A glorious unfurling, a divine Jacob-like
life-wrestle with my Father, Who will not let me go until I do—let go. Of everything else, hands free
to cling only to Him.
It’s the way of our Lord. We must come to the bitter end of
ourselves in the depths of our pit—hands to the heavens in utter surrender—for only
then can He do His redemptive work. Until then, He lovingly leaves us in our abyss,
so we’re not inclined to climb out on our own, believing we had any part in our
deliverance—then it would not be a rescue. A life-raising. A redemption story
wrought with His fingerprints.
You Light Up My Life was
the soundtrack of my beginning. In 2011, when the Lord mercifully lifted the 15-year
depressive sentence plaguing haggard, heavily-medicated me, it was “The Light
In Me” (Brandon Heath).
“The Light In Me”
Brandon Heath
My life before You
I was a flame burning down
I was burning out
But You knew me better
For You there was never a
doubt
Not since You gave me life
Something was different, I
knew it the instant
You put the light in me
The spark, the shot to the
heart
You are the hope that leads
me out of the dark
You let Your love shine down
So that the world could see
You put the light in me
The light, You put the light
in me
The light, You put the light
in me
The light, You put the light
in me
The light, You put the light
in me
You are the Maker, you tell
the sun when to rise
I’m just a house on a hill
But You make me brighter
than all the stars in the sky
Keep me from growing dim
‘Cause in Your perfection,
I’m just a reflection
So pull me closer to You
I’ll catch like a fire and
I’ll hold You higher
‘Cause You put the light in
me
This spark is shot to the
heart
You are the hope that leads
me out of the dark
You let Your love shine down
So that the world could see
You put the light in me
The light, You put the light
in me
The light, You put the light
in me
The light, You put the light
in me
The light, You put the light
in me
I’ll raise it high, I’ll let
it show
From the rooftops down to
streets below
In day and night, You will
be known
And all will see
You put the light in me
‘Cause You put the light in
me
This spark is shot to the heart
You are the hope that leads
me out of the dark
You let Your love shine down
So that the world could see
You put the light in me
The light, You put the light
in me
The light, You put the light
in me
The light, You put the light
in me
The light, You put the light
in me
He filled me–gave me a new song; and I was luminous for Him
as I went forward, testifying of His power and grace. {Read testimony of my initial healing here.}
                                                                                                                                 
I lived 4 years free…of
the affliction my doctors previously deemed my life-sentence, the thorn I’d
resigned myself to. All lit up, the recipient of a miracle, I never would have guessed there would be a sequel, so
illuminated by my Healer’s glory was I…and this is where part two of my
testimony begins–the darkness descends…
It was this past Fall, 2014–my favorite season, with all
its marked beauty and anticipation. And yet I found myself at a crumbling
precipice–suddenly sinking into situational quicksand, with problems tumbling
about me, closing me in. Choking out hope. The light within steadily dimming
over 6 month’s time…
…First it was my youngest’s first flight-foray into full-day
school, and adjusting to my “emptier nest”. I hadn’t forseen the loss, the utter
desolation I’d feel; and the ground beneath me began to crumble…
…Simultaneously, my fourth-grader’s rough first semester,
struggling to find her social niche—and the resulting uncovering of this mama’s
own school-age wounds—fossils of the soul, fresh pain covered quickly by life’s
tempests…
…Then, the death of our “firstborn” dog—the one that represented
an era, that had comforted my aching soul my first time around depression’s
block…
…My husband’s job situation worsening, while the demands of
running a small business built, creating suffocating stress…
…A good friend’s deterioration in the grips of cancer, and subsequent
death; witnessing the unholy unraveling of his young family …
SLAM. SLAM. SLAM.
Each blow knocked me further into depression’s depths…joy’s
light snuffed. Re-entry into the darkness I knew so well.
On a heart level I think I knew. But denial was easier…no
way was I going back there…to watch
the testimony I garnered slip through my fingers like finest sand. I reasoned
this had been a tough season—surely as soon as things looked up, I would too.
But my hope was fraying like a wind-beaten flag, trial-torn.
I told my husband in a raw moment, heart worn transparent from the pain, “I’ve
begun to believe things are never going to get better.” He looked knowingly at
me, pained. “That’s not normal,” he
returned. And silent screams began to rattle within…
It took the faithful counselor who had walked me through the
darkness of before to confirm my worst fear: “Leslie. You’re depressed.”
It was me, in that moment, that had unraveled. All of me, undone,
blowing in the cruel winds of circumstance. Again.
But. I had been
here before, for better or for worse, so I knew well the choice before me. To
spiral downward, quietly accepting my depressive demise–Satan the victor–or
to fight.
Perhaps it was a holy discontent that boiled up in me just
then; a righteous anger. Whatever it was,
I chose the latter—the fight.
(And it’s made all the difference…)
One day, warring in the depths, I was reading Nehemiah. How
he girded his loins for battle. Shored up fortification for the city of
Jerusalem in the face of enemy threats. In the form of a wall–an ancient
city’s most certain defense.
“But we prayed to our God and posted a guard day and night
to meet this threat.” Nehemiah 4:9 (NIV)
A prayer wall.
I heard the whisper, clear as day; and, now a warrior in my own
army, I acted immediately. I sprang into action in the face of impending
disaster, and with the Lord’s help, prayed into being a wall of my own, building
about myself an impenetrable fortress from my enemy. I identified seven trusted
girlfriends that would stand as pillars of prayer about me, for a month
straight.
And this they did. A
more humbling experience there never was, in all my thirty-seven years. Not to
mention more inspiring.
Enveloped in their prayer cocoon, God led me to seek help
from an authority on natural supplementation for mental health. He helped me believe
despite my reservations, assuring me with His trademark peace that this time
was different than before. The darkness of before was only lifted with the help
of pharmaceuticals—my Rescuer’s chosen method at that time.
And so I took the leap–into the “vitamin lady’s” (as I referred
to her) prescribed course of treatment, and felt noticeably lighter a mere week later. The dawn…
A month later, to the DAY that God had forged the prayer
wall about me, I emerged from my struggle—and from my chrysalis of prayer—all lit
within. My head lifted, I triumphantly texted the following to the faithful who
carried me on the wings of their petitions:
“My dearest prayer wall friends, I’m writing you today with
good news: I’m feeling much, much better…brighter, more optimistic and upbeat…you’ve
faithfully prayed me to a better place!”
The Lord had come through in a mighty way, once again, escalating
my belief in Him to an unprecedented peak. This time around, my anthem became “Great
Are You Lord” (All Sons and Daughters):
“Great Are You
Lord”
All Sons and Daughters
You give life,
You are love
You bring
light to the darkness
You give hope,
You restore
Every heart
that is broken
Great are You,
Lord
It’s Your
breath in our lungs
So we pour out
our praise
We pour out
our praise
It’s Your
breath in our lungs
So we pour out
our praise
To You only
You give life,
You are love
You bring
light to the darkness
You give hope,
You restore
Every heart
that is broken
Great are You,
Lord
It’s Your
breath in our lungs
So we pour out
our praise
We pour out
our praise
It’s Your
breath in our lungs
So we pour out
our praise
To You only
[x2]
All the earth
will shout
Your praise
Our hearts
will cry
These bones
will sing
Great are You,
Lord
[x3]
It’s Your
breath in our lungs
So we pour out
our praise
We pour out
our praise
It’s Your
breath in our lungs
So we pour out
our praise
To You only
[x2]
…Shoddy jars of clay, we are, and by Divine design. If it weren’t for our cracks…
For it’s through our unsightly scars that the glory of the
Most High can shine—lighting up our lives, and in turn, this dark, dark world.
“For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ made
his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of God’s
glory displayed in the face of Christ. But we have this treasure in jars of
clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.” 2
Corinthians 4:6-9  (NIV)
Twice now.
My life, a testament to His healing power, His saving grace,
His plans to prosper those He loves…
Twice now, “I waited patiently for the
Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out
of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to
stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will
see and fear the Lord and put their trust in him.” Psalm 40:1-3 (NIV)
Now, glorying on the other side of Twice, I believe, most ardently, my story does not belong to me. It
belongs to its Author–my Maker, who purposed it to testify of His greatness. And
so I’ll not keep it to myself, but let my light shine to advance His kingdom,
and hopefully, spark others on to belief in the Most High; the One that lit up
my life not once, but twice
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be
hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they
put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.” Matthew
5:14-15 (NIV)

6 thoughts on “He Lit Up My Life (My Healing Testimony, Part 2)

  1. Ahh, your righteous anger to fight! It does made all the difference…and such a good reminder for me! And that chrysalis of prayer is the most beautiful picture I've encountered in a long time. It's the body of Christ. You are all lit within, Lesile. You're a glorious testimony of His love and power!

  2. Leslie, I am rejoicing with you, friend, as you embark on a new chapter. You've fought hard these last months and you've clung to Jesus and pressed in. I am so grateful for the Lord's faithfulness, mercy and grace toward you. You are His beloved daughter. He HAS seen you through and will continue to sustain you. I'm so grateful there is a "new spring" dawning for you. May you embrace this new beginning and renewed life. Its so good to have you back, doing what you do best… Directing us to The Lord through your beautiful words. Paula R.

  3. Oh precious, Leslie, thank you so much for sharing! I give our awesome Lord all the thanks and praise for delivering you through a dark season. He is faithful. You so clearly have a gift with words. It's wonderful to be inspired by them again. I love how you relate everything in your life to Him. Great Are You God! And thank you, Leslie, for choosing Him through all things and glorifying Him with your testimony.

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