My Story: “Another in the Fire”

I haven’t done this in awhile, but I just feel the need to pour my heart out. To type some words and craft a piece of art with letters—all about my past, and how, praise Jesus, I am not there anymore.

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“There’s a grace when the heart is under fire/ Another way when the walls are closing in/ And when I look at the space between/ Where I used to be and this reckoning/ I know I will never be alone.”

There I was. I was 90 pounds; my clothes hung off of my 18-year-old body, small as it was from refusal to eat “because God told me to fast.” I was working at a big retail chain working in the clothing section and at the register; and, in my pride, I was living with an insidious mental illness: schizo-affective disorder.

Everyone knew it. My co-workers were surprised by bold attempts at proselytizing and asking them if they needed any prayer; my boss had gotten more than a couple of complaints that I was sharing my faith, while working, with customers who felt bothered by me. My parents could do nothing about it, but they knew—we all knew, honestly—that I was only doing such things out of an insane fear of God and what He would “do” to me, should I disobey Him and not try to share so forcefully with others. He was, in my mind, not my Protector; He was my Judge and Punisher, ordering me through intrusive thoughts to do such things.

“All my debt left for dead beneath the waters/ I’m no longer a slave to my sin anymore/ And should I fall in the space between/ What remains of me and this reckoning/ Either way I won’t bow to the things of this world/ And I know I will never be alone.”

I stayed in my room, most days. I isolated myself from all friends and family; sunrise and sunset came over and over. I remember staring at my sand-colored bedroom walls and thinking, “is this it?” If I wasn’t staring at my walls, I was reading random snippets of the Old Testament, trembling at the fearful things I read. I wouldn’t move.

He was, in my mind, not my Protector; He was my Judge and Punisher.

My sister, good as she was, would come in, angrily asking why I was still in my room, when I could be out enjoying the day. I never had an answer… all I could do was force her to go away, and leave me alone.

I am afraid to type what comes next. But type I shall.
One night before bed, I became so delusional that, in my illness, I thought I heard God tell me not to breathe.
So, trying to obey “His Voice,” I held my breath until I became faint. The fact that I did not actually pass out is a miracle from Jesus. I now breathe every breath as a war cry against the enemy, knowing that he could not take my breath that night, and he can’t take it through the same means now.

“There is no other name but the name that is Jesus/ He who was and still is, and will be through it all/ So come what may in the space between/ All the things unseen and this reckoning/ And I know I will never be alone/ And I know I will never be alone.”

Now, 6 years later, here I am. I am on medication for the schizo-affective disorder, and weigh 120 pounds. I am almost done getting my Associates Degree. I am free.

Now, I am free.

A lot happened to get here… and now I am faced with new struggles, and new fears. But just as this song goes, “So come what may in the space between, all the things unseen and this reckoning, … I know I will never be alone.” There was another in the fire I went through. I walked through seas of water with Him, and He Loves me with a Love like no other. And if He can get me through that, I will trust Him now.

“There’ll be another in the fire/ Standing next to me/ There’ll be another in the waters/ Holding back the seas/ And should I ever need reminding/ How good You’ve been to me /I’ll count the joy come every battle/ ‘Cause I know that’s where You’ll be.”

– Quoted sections from Hillsong United’s “Another in the Fire”

Frustrating

I am so frustrated.
I know it’s not my fault, I guess… and I know I’m right where Jesus wants me…
but it’s frustrating sitting on the bench to better take care of an illness that I didn’t ask for.
No one asked for it… sucks to suck, I guess. And I am anxious about the future.
Forgive me for that, Lord. And not a man is in sight at the moment,
not that I need one.

Jesus, You’re the Answer to all my “how’s,” “when’s,” and “where’s.”
I am trusting on You, sewing my garment to the bottom of Yours,
going where You call me to go.

I hate feeling so weak. So unable. So vulnerable. So easily knocked over
when the wind gets heavy.
But I know that I need more compassion towards myself. More grace.
and to sit it out in the rough times, underneath Jesus’ Wing (Psalm 91),
even when
it is
frustrating.

Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him.”
(Psalm 91:1-2, NLT)

“Her”

There I was.
One flat chested little girl
On the cusp of adolescence,
and all I wanted to be was “her”:
the one who enamored the boys,
the one who got attention
because of the curvature of her body.

But I was not her. I was gaunt,
gangly,
trying to survive middle school
and finding myself flirting with the boys,
all because I wanted their roses on Valentine’s Day.

The pictures of her, dressed scantily-clad,
told me
that to be loved meant you needed perfection.
It meant full, and alluring–
And that, I was not.

When I should have been enjoying an innocent stage of youth,
I instead wanted to push fast-forward:
becoming a lady by
stuffing my push-up bra and wearing tight clothes,
so tight they might as well have been skin…

Oh, Annalee of 11 years ago, how I wish I could tell you:
You don’t need to become her to be Loved.
You are pursued by the God who placed each
beautiful star in the sky,
the God who fearfully and wonderfully made you (Psalm 139).

He says,
“Why are you so desperate, longing for affection from the hands of a man,
when I have held you all along?”

I am not “that” girl.
I never will be. And that’s okay.
Because I am Loved beyond belief–
no matter how I look.
And that brings me more peace and happiness
than being “her” ever could.

© 2020 Annalee Hoover

Please Pray!

Hey friends! Quick post: Please be in prayer over five people from the Czech Republic. Their names are Terka, Petr (Peter), Monika, Adela, and Elishka. Petr and Terka may not know the Lord yet, but my friend has asked me to pray for their salvation. Please pray for them, too!

Thanks,
Annalee


Do you know Jesus?

Jesus wants all people to come to repentance and the knowledge of Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Learn more about Jesus, here.

PRESIDENT TRUMP HAS DECLARED ALL PLACES OF WORSHIP AS “ESSENTIAL!” 

CHURCHES ARE RE-OPENING!!! ❤

PRAISE JESUS!!!

Let us never take church for granted, again! May we pray over our pastors and church leaders to be wise in their decisions as churches are re-opening.

In Christ,

Annalee


Learn more about Jesus, the church, and His Love for you, here.

Ravi Zacharias has Passed Away.

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Ravi Zacharias fought the good fight of trying to beat bone cancer in his spine. But, this morning, on May 19th, 2020, he went to be home with the Lord.

He is in no more pain, and every one of his tears have been wiped away by our Loving Jesus.

Please be in prayer for his family and loved ones. Thank you!


Do you know Jesus?

Ravi Zacharias is currently in heaven– in complete and total bliss, where he gets to be with his Savior and where there is no more grief or tears. Learn more about heaven, and how to get there through Jesus, here.

There Needs to Be Justice.

This is jarring to hear. All I can do is pray that the Lord would bring about justice, righteousness, and truth in these situations! To hear of this– and from only one woman who actually seems to care for patients– is so heartbreaking and angering!!

Jesus, please end this COVID-19 soon. Please.


Learn more about Jesus, a God of Justice, here.

HAPPY (LATE) TEACHER APPRECIATION DAY!

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Thank not only your school teachers, but your mentors and pastors too, who are your teachers when it comes to Jesus and life!!! Let them know they all matter today 🙂

And last but definitely not least… thank Jesus, for being the One who has saved you, and now leads, guides, and teachers you! He deserves all the praise!!!