Lynne Parr, part of our family at SMC, has been released from bondage,been redeemed,was baptized and set free! Her story is profound and life-changing. Here today, she's telling us about her rescue and journey of healing. As we approach our celebration of freedom in Christ through baptism this upcoming weekend, thank you Lynne for sharing your baptism story of rescue and redemption with us in this two part series.
As I held my head in shame, my heart was racing while sitting with my husband, Craig, and a pastor I hardly knew. While making every effort to avoid eye contact, I observed the compass inlay table in front of me and desperately tried to remember how I ended up on this destructive path. My soul was lost and my life was spinning out of control. I frantically found myself wanting to confess who I’d become yet I wasn’t prepared to accept responsibility for the consequences of my destructive choices. I certainly didn’t have the courage to admit defeat by coming out of denial.
I sensed this may be the worst moment of my life… the moment of truth. Where did the last twelve years go? My life had no direction and I carelessly avoided pain by giving into the viscous cycle of drug and alcohol addiction. I accepted suffering as an intimate part of my life by keeping my addiction hidden.
By now, the compass table became a focal point for me to seize courage to take new direction. I didn’t know where I was headed or which direction my life would take if I confessed my drug and alcohol addiction, legal issues, my failing marriage, professional ethic complaints, law suits and financial issues.
Could it possibly be any worse than the direction I was already headed?
There was never a day that didn’t go by when I thought it would be my last day. I desperately wanted the agonizing pain to go away by taking my own life. I’d told so many lies the last twelve years that I didn’t know what the truth was anymore. Coming out of denial seemed impossible even though the Pastor, Bob Disher, encouraged me to “throw” everything out on the table. My attention was grasped when he told me “When you take your own life, you die once; your family dies a thousand times over and over again.” With my head still down in disgrace, I looked intently at my hospital identification bracelet from Behavior Medicine, which reminded me why I was here… on a three hour pass for prayer.
Why had my life been spared? It was my fourth day in behavior medicine, which meant my body and mind were not clouded by cocaine, marijuana and alcohol. It was that critical moment when I realized I was in lock down for the fear of taking my own life. Not only had I left a detailed suicide letter, along with my personal journal disclosing everything, I prepared my own obituary. When the contention started to escape my mind, my heart felt a sense of comfort. There was a miracle of strength that came out of nowhere encouraging me I no longer needed to carry this burden alone.
The prison I was in was the addiction. I had locked myself away from everything that once mattered to me. I’d struggled for so many years by deliberately reminding myself that death was imminent. Focusing on the compass table, I knew in my heart this was the time and place to be set free, and I was finally prepared to set the course of my life in a more positive direction by humbling myself. I felt an incredible peaceful moment when the agonizing words I’d so long to confess poured out of my soul. The previous twelve years of my life were exposed in only a matter of minutes.
The peace I felt was immeasurable, and for the first time in over a decade, the truth set me free.
Thinking more objectively now, it was easy to breath and so natural to make eye contact with my husband. After asking God for forgiveness for the person I’d become and asking for Craig’s forgiveness, I knew I had to forgive the person who abducted me fifteen years earlier. The pain, anger and fear that I choose to bury deep inside from my kidnapping, armed robbery and rape had contaminated my soul with bitterness, hatred, prejudice and revenge.
After closing prayer, Pastor Bob gave me a compass encouraging me to always stay north and look above. “Christ will always be there as His love is as far as the east is to the west.” he told me. All of the fear, hatred, and pain that once encompassed my life were left behind when I walked out of his office. So was the drug addiction. No more guilt, fear, pain and oppression. I had just come out of bondage, taken the chains off and been set free. There was no greater feeling!
After returning to lockdown in Behavior Medicine that evening, I was so overjoyed this was the beginning of my recovery and I felt my soul for the very first time in many, many years. Only a few hours earlier, I didn’t have the courage to speak the truth. Something felt different and I knew I was going to take a better direction. I knew my recovery would not happen overnight as I had to reconcile many broken personal and professional relationships by asking for forgiveness.
For the first time in countless years, I made an entry into my personal journal with a prayer: “Dear God, You’ve known everything about me and, today, I will finally live in peace. I realize miracles will happen if I place my trust in You. You’ve offered me your helping hands over and over again only for me to run from your unconditional love. I abandoned your love even whenyou never stopped doing well by me. Now I have found you and I am seeking you with all my heart.”
Realizing I could no longer attempt to go my own way, but in the will of God’s, I started an incredible journey with Him in my healing process and recovery. For reconciliation and comfort, I immediately started reading a New Testament beginner’s Bible. I needed to learn more about the God I’d feared growing up and the same God who just rescued me. I knew it would be impossible making progress without Him. I had absolutely nothing to lose yet so much more to gain. After all, it was His Holy Spirit urging me to humble myself when the truth set me free.
The enthusiasm having a relationship with Him, on His time and my will, was overpowering.