my “so that” moment

It was February of 2015, the month my whole life changed.

Everything was light, and all the sudden there was a dark heaviness. All I knew to be true about myself and about God was questioned in the most twisted ways and I didn’t feel there was any firm place to stand.

Thoughts were consuming, my heart was pounding, and I didn’t trust anyone with the thoughts I had swirling inside my head. Suddenly my thoughts seemed not my own, but from a place I never imagined I would go.

It was the darkest time I’ve ever known. Even calling my condition by name wasn’t very helpful – but only by the process and the journey God gave me was I able to see light again.

OCD.

The most twisted, ugly, dark, unfamiliar, unlikely, unwelcomed companion.

Most think, as I did before, that people who struggle with OCD are just clean freaks or quirky with lining their pencils straight on their desk. But this mental disorder is so much more than that. OCD takes what you are most afraid of and makes it a possibility in your mind so much that it seems true. In short, it attacks what you love the most in your own mind, leading you to think that you are the one to blame for the destruction that isn’t even happening. Think of the most unlikely and terrifying thought you could ever have, and that’s what OCD plants in your mind, making it seem the thought is your own. There is so much shame, so much guilt, so much fear. It’s crippling.

February of 2015 was the first time in my life that my faith’s strength was truly rocked. It made me hard, cold, distant, and a different version of myself. I was being thrown lies about who I was and as a result, questioned God’s goodness and purpose for me. It was as if everything I knew to be safe and true was suddenly sharp and unnerving like broken glass under my feet.

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Today, I’m still fighting the darkness. Every day my thought life is a battleground I never knew I’d encounter. But there’s light again.

I still question God in the most vulnerable ways. Why would he let this happen to me? Why would he allow this mental disorder to be a part of my life? And although I think it’s okay to ask God those questions as Jesus did (see Matthew 27:46), I was neglecting for the longest time the more important question: “Lord, how can this be used to help someone else?”

You see, pain always has a purpose.

As my pastor wisely spoke on Easter Sunday, “Your purpose in life is not to understand your ruins, but to seek how your ruins can rebuild someone else.”

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One of my Bible study leaders, sweet sweet Lisa, used to remind us over and over again that we have a “so that” moment. She would read to us, 2 Corinthians 1:3-4,

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. (emphasis mine)

I love her for that because I can’t count on my fingers and toes how many times that thought has flown through my mind.

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On April 5, I woke up expectant.

Earlier that week, I felt God stirring something inside me, and I just knew He was soon going to give me His ideas. I had asked some friends to pray, and I knew that on that Wednesday there would be special time to sit in some quiet and listen for Him to speak.

He did.

He gave me a vision for an online ministry to help women heal and find freedom in the midst of their brokenness through the written word. My calling and my pain, combined into one vision.

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It’s my “so that” moment, my opportunity to share my broken places and the ways He’s touched me and healed me, so that maybe someone else can experience it too.

He’s calling me to step out in faith and be vulnerable in my weakest places, so the strength of His love and power can shine even stronger and provide hope for His girls out there that need encouragement and freedom.

He’s calling me to build a team of women to do it with me – to write about their broken places and use their pain for a purpose, and to create images and pretty reminders for His girls to be encouraged in His truth.

I wonder if this is your “so that” moment too? Would you pray about it? Would you seek the Lord in this, and ask Him sincerely if He’s calling you to share your gifts to help His kingdom grow?

*If you’d like to learn more about the opportunities available to be a part of this launch team, please email me at tagillilan@gmail.com. I’d love to share with you more of this vision, and about the Designer position in more detail! We are currently at our max for Contributing Writers, but are still accepting applications and are in need of TWO Designers to launch the site!

“Rain drops keep fallin’ on my head…”

It’s a rainy day. Outside my window and inside my head.

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It’s been a rainy week, really. I’ve been exhausted with trying to get relationships to work, with battling my own sin, with life things happening (like coffee stains on my shirt and hard conversations), with being broken.

This is the thing about rain, though: it’s dreary in its time, but it also changes you and gives life.

We may not feel it in the moment when we experience the storm and we have to go about things differently (whether that’s working on our attitude or putting on a rain jacket). We may not feel like it’s giving life when the thunder rolls and we’re soaking wet and just flat out tired of it.

But I think about my past rainy days and I can’t help but to have hope.

The pacing back and forth in front of the ICU door waiting on visiting hours. My face on my bathroom floor with the door closed crying out in prayer. My day-to-day drained of bright and the weight way too heavy.

The stormy days are worth it. I’ve noticed something beautiful about God and it’s that He always brings life, even from the dark. But we’ve got to trust Him. If we live life like victims and refuse to live with faith like Jesus did, we won’t experience the life growth that these seasons offer.

So let’s be hopeful today. Let’s believe that the storm is here because there’s a clearing up ahead and it’s more than we can imagine in goodness.