You are Redeemed in Your Brokenness
"Don't be afraid, I've redeemed you. I've called your name. You're mine. When you're in rough waters, you will not go down. When you're between a rock and a hard place, It won't be a dead end- Because I am God, your personal God, The Holy of Israel, your Savior. I paid a huge price for you: All of Egypt, with rich Cush and Seba thrown in! That's how much I love you! I'd sell off the whole world to get you back, trade the creation just for you." Isaiah 43:1-4
Friends, I've thought of a dozen different ways on how to begin this blog post, but I could not think of any words that accurately captured how I am feeling right now in this moment. The best way I can put it, is I feel deeply broken.
This brokenness has been building over time; it is not un-surprising nor un-expected. After a while, I just started accepting the fact that things may even get worse... so here I sit, wondering what God meant when He said "I will never give you more than you can handle." because honestly, I feel I've reached my limit. Maybe I'm weak, naive or have had it really easy in my life. Regardless, I'm still a child of God and I know when I'm broken, He is also broken. Knowing this precious information, that brings the number one question up in my head: Where is He?
I've been asking myself this the entire year and wonder why He still chooses not to respond. The evangelical woman inside of me is saying He speaks in different ways. This may be the case, but it has not been obvious to little ole me whatsoever. I continue to sit and wait, patient and cautious for any information He decides to share with me... however, here I am, still sitting and waiting.
I remember clearly one Monday morning shortly after turning 17 on my way to a meeting with my producer. I was so looking forward to discussing more material to release along with "We Don't Need Money" and several others. Andy (my producer) and I spoke for several hours on many ideas we had and then moved our conversation onto more personal topics; One of them being my frustrations with the music industry. I expressed my confusion as to why people enjoyed leading you on and the problems with being easily deceived into thinking you're their favorite... then Andy said something that would be the haunting theme of my year. He said to me "Carmen, 17 is gonna be your hardest year yet". And it has been, it really has been.
I had a front row seat as I watched my life and my families life start slowly crumbling. Publishers would not acknowledge me anymore, and the ones that did refused to do more then just be a friendly face. I experienced multiple broken instruments and horrible shows. I found myself drifting from God and settling back into old habits searching for love in men who would ultimately break my heart. I fell off a horse resulting in torn ligaments in my shoulder and pain that would still last until this very day. I experienced multiple scares with sickness that would cause hearing loss. A week before I flew out to LA my voice completely shut down. I made it onto the Voice only to be cut the following week later because of my voice. October was an especially hard month. I experienced deep depression and anxiety with College because everything I'm studying is all music based. Sound's great, right? Well, not when you can't sing and are forced into not participating because of that fact. The icing on the cake was having mono. My tonsils looked like something out of a nightmare. I could not speak or eat until I got another steroid shot and steroid pills that would affect every single emotion I had, emphasizing every overwhelming thought and feeling because of the side effects of the drug. Now I look at a couple more months of vocal healing because there's a big chance my doctors want to take my tonsils out. I'm now going on four months with no voice and am still devastated they can't figure out what's wrong. Since these events started increasingly getting worse, I've just started shaking. My hands, my body... the stress and anxiety is all to much.
My family and I moved to Nashville for many reasons. My music career being the main reason, but my dad wanted to attend law school and get his doctorate, and my mom was supposed to start fresh with her career choice. My dad is struggling in law school, my mom can't get work, and I've almost given up music altogether. I cry out to God daily asking Him, WHY? Why did You bring us here, if You were only setting us up to fail??? Why God??
As I was writing this, I was reminded of a story from the Bible that seemed eerily similar to my current situation. The 40 years the Jews had to wait for God to allow them into the promise land. NOW, I am praying that I don't have to wait 40 years to sing again... or 40 years for my mother to find work. It's more of the sentiment behind the story I'm talking about. God released His people from slavery in Egypt, only to bring them into a 40-year long wait to receive the promise land. Sound familiar? God miraculously brought me and my family out of Florida and then led us to Nashville. God let His people wander in the wilderness for 40 years... why? Well, many reasons. This event transpired in the Old Testament, and I do not personally believe God takes things away from people this long anymore maliciously to teach them a lesson. However, I do feel there is a reason for all of the agony me and my family are currently facing. Even though the Jews wandered 40 years, they were always supplied for, taken care of, and loved by God immensely. SO much so, He rained down bread for His people and water from rocks. Although I am struggling, this is another resemblance that I have not gone unprovided for, nor has my family. The biggest similarity I feel is the waiting process. I feel God is preparing me for a flood of blessings to come my way. He is just trying to teach me something in this waiting period. I could easily say He's just trying to show me patience... but no way. There is so much more I feel God is trying to open my eyes to and learn. Sooo that's what I'm doing... once again, waiting and intently listening.
In this time, I'm still very much healing emotionally and physically. I pray every day that God will heal my voice; I also pray He takes away the anger I harbor towards Him because I can't do what I love right now. Thankfully, God has granted me a sense of peace through this time. I've been able to process all that's been going on in a healthy way with many incredible people in my life. I've received more then enough love and support from the Lord, my family and my friends... for that, I am so grateful. I'm choosing not to be a victim of my situation, but more of a conqueror. Whatever the Lord has planned for me I know is perfect and for my ultimate benefit. What has touched my soul in this period of deep brokenness more then ever, is Isiah 43:1-4. I could not think of a more perfect verse for a struggling human being. What's more affirming then God expressing His abundant and overflowing love for His child? Nothing. He say's things like "Don't be afraid, I've redeemed you."... so, I am already healed in the name of Jesus! He says "When you're between a rock and a hard place, It won't be a dead end-" ... so, I am moving forward even though it appears doors are closing; That doesn't mean anything in the eyes of the Lord! He is capable of EVERYTHING. The most touching part that makes me cry every time I read it is when He says, "I'd sell off the whole world to get you back, trade the creation just for you." WOW. If that isn't pure, remarkable love, I don't know what is. This verse has given me so much encouragement and continues to do so.
So here is my update. I've left out a lot of other horrible things contributing to my sadness, but I'll leave those for another blog post (; ! Even though I still have a long way to go till I get to where I want to be, I know I'm loved by my Savior. I know He's got my back, even when I feel He's forgotten me. There was a lot of negativity that transpired being 17, but there was a lot of good that came out of it as well. To answer that question of Where is He? I'm not sure. I guess the Christian thing to say, is my heart or my spirit or whatever cliche thing you learned in Bible study as a kid. What I do know, is He is working... He is working really hard in both my life and my family's lives. All I can really do is be in this moment. The past is gone, and I will not continue to BE my problems. What I do know, is I am healed, loved, and highly favored... and it's about time I start living that way.