Pain is unifying. We may experience it in different ways, but we all experience it. And I’m not talking about papercut-level pain…I’m talking about gut wrenching, tormenting, question-your-existence pain. These can be caused by what we can control (sin) and things out of our control (death, illness, abuse, etc.). In my life, I have experienced deep pain – and I’ll bet you have, too. Sexual abuse, drug use, binge drinking, depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts and self-harm, the struggle with sin, and the death of my best friend are all things that I’ve lived through. I’m 28 years old, and I’ve spent the last half of my life wanting to die. In fact, I’ve begged God to let me die…too many times to count. In the dark hours of the night, draped over the cold porcelain toilet after binge drinking, I sobbed and pleaded with God to release me from the hell inside my own head.
I found relief from my torment when I had finally given up hope. I had accepted that my life would always be that way…that I could do nothing to fix it. And in a desperate, final attempt, I reached my hand up towards the heavens and said “God, take this from me. I can’t do it.” And He did. But instead of letting me die like I so desperately desired, He lifted the world off my shoulders. He shared enough of the weight that I could plant my feet firmly onto the Rock instead of the sinking sand. The more I pressed into Him, the more my anxiety subsided. Laughter didn’t feel foreign anymore, and I could lift others up without feeling like I was giving the last ounce of my sanity away. I wasn’t drowning…I was saved.
So what is Sōtēría (soh-tay-ree’-ah)? It is a Greek word meaning deliverance, preservation, safety, and salvation. Deliverance from others, yes…but mostly from myself. My journey has been rough and largely hopeless. But it wasn’t because hope didn’t exist – hope abounds eternally. It was more like hope was just hidden in the dark, and needed some light to be discovered. Now that the light is shining, I want to stand on the rooftops and sing the Lord’s praise. He is the Savior…the soter.
I am partnering with the lovely Jess Ekegren, who shares a similarly powerful testimony, to bring you Sōtēría Joy — a blog of hope. Real people, raw pain, redeeming love. Our goal is to see others come to know the JOY of deliverance. Jess and I will share more detailed versions of our stories when Sōtēría Joy officially launches on December 1st.
“That which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. And these things we write to you that your joy may be full.” -1 John 1:3-4
We write to become companions with you – to share our pain and our experiences, to make our joy complete.