I am currently doing a big project at work where I need to sort hundreds of papers, to throw away the irrelevant papers and keep the relevant ones.
As I have been sorting, I have gotten down to the year of 2014. And that has caused me to think about where I was on the dates on the papers.
To be honest, I wasn’t doing well. I had wasted away to a tiny 90lb girl, manipulated by my own mind to forego food and sleep for what I thought was fasting and staying up to pray. I was dealing with intrusive, accusatory thoughts that commanded perfection, or else. I lacked sleep, I lacked food, and I lacked freedom.
I realized, through friends from an online devotional website, that there were 276 young girls, ages 14-17, who had been kidnapped by terrorists in Nigeria. These girls, no doubt, also lacked sleep, food, and of course, freedom.
I am just making this connection now, as I think about it. When I heard that these young women had been kidnapped, I fell to the floor and wept. Never before had I felt so deeply for people not directly in my life. As I learned about their plight, I also read about Nehemiah, a man used by God to re-build the walls of Jerusalem. He, too, felt deeply for his people, and did all he could to build up a very worn-down and oppressed nation.
And so, reading and going through all of this, I prayed and fasted about what Jesus wanted me to do. With the help of people around me, I decided to make bracelets, and a blog where I would be able to write about news updates concerning these girls– now called “The Chibok Girls.”
Honestly, it really hurts to go back to this place in my mind. I do not want to show pictures of those bracelets, and I don’t want to go back to those initial posts. I was in a mindset that was completely unhealthy, my brain going through chemical imbalances causing me to be obsessive and afraid of what I thought was “God.” In reality, it was my own mind speaking to me– diagnosed with schizo-affective disorder.
I have written about this, and will link the excerpt of it here. But as I think back to how God used my pain, tears spring from my eyes. This incredibly painful time blossomed into me being an advocate for girls who I love oh-so-much, although I don’t show it enough and don’t personally know them. And I too got the help I needed: I have been medicated for 8 years now, and while things aren’t perfect, I have experienced so much joy, so much healing. And for that, I have to praise Jesus.
“So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten,— Joel 2:25-26 NKJV
The crawling locust,
The consuming locust,
And the chewing locust,
My great army which I sent among you.
26 You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied,
And praise the name of the Lord your God,
Who has dealt wondrously with you;
And My people shall never be put to shame.“
As for these precious, abducted young girls, over 100 remain missing. I remember the days where I would pray profusely for Christ to free even just one; now, here we are, with about two thirds of these girls freed.
But my heart still wonders about the over 100 who are still in captivity. Are they now brainwashed? Do they have children from rape? Are they somehow free and the public doesn’t know it? My heart breaks over the girls who remain in captivity. Now, 8 years after their initial kidnapping, I continue to write about them and pray for them. I must confess, there are times where I have chosen to turn away, to forget their plight, but I praise Jesus that He never does– just like He never forgot me.
I just wanted to reflect on the tumultuous time of 2014. All I can say is that Jesus is good, and that where there is life, there is hope. There is always hope, always healing, and there is always joy found in the Lord.
With Love, in Christ,
Annalee, ISAIAH 62 PRAYER MINISTRY
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