She’ll let you in her mind
If the words you say are right
If you pay the price
She’ll let you deep inside
But there’s a secret garden she hides
Two years ago, hiding behind a computer, I made a step of faith and shared my deepest secret. I had no idea what would happen, I only knew I wanted to be free. That little step brought Dr. Juli Slattery and Linda Dillow of Authentic Intimacy into my life. They followed the call of the Father who knew that his broken daughter needed the truth they held. They made a step of faith toward me and they changed my life.
We prayed about my story being included in the Surprised by the Healer book. I knew it could expose me beyond the friends who read my blog. I knew, from being a book reviewer, that it could open me to people whose soul purpose in life is to mock and criticize women’s stories. I knew that it would call me to come even further out of hiding. I knew that it would stretch me beyond the comfort of my own secret garden. Yet I knew that my Abba was calling me…”Daughter, come and see the wonders I have in store for you.” So I said yes to Juli and Linda.
The day arrived. The book was in my hand. There, in printed words, is my story, Hope’s story. A story of a broken woman who came out of hiding and let the healer change her. Let the healer reach into the deepest place inside and touch her wounds. Set her free so much, that she allowed herself to let her husband into the secret garden where she hid. It is my story, yet, it seems so detached from me.
I knew I needed to take the next step, to meet Juli and Linda. To see them face-to-face and thank them for their part in my healing. I bought a ticket to the Surprised by the Healer conference. I changed my mind a few times but I decided that fear no longer could rule my life. And then I received a request. Would you be willing to share your story at the conference? How do you say no to that…how do you say yes? Fear said no. I’m not a speaker. I’m too shy. Why me? Why my story? But love…love said yes. Love said yes to my Abba. I told him if he took me to it, he had to bring me through it. He said he would…so I said yes to Juli.
I am overwhelmed.
There are no words to explain how Abba took four women, with different stories, all touched by the healer, and knit us together with a bond that I’m still trying to process. And as we walked onto the stage, and we answered the questions, and shared our stories, you could see the beauty of ashes form this beautiful picture of the healer in front of our eyes.
But it’s the women who came to hear how the healer could heal their brokenness that…I cannot express enough what I feel. To have women say, “Your story gives me hope.” “You wrote my story. How do I come out of hiding.” “I’ve been praying for you, for your strength.” “Can I just give you a hug?” And sit there and cry, because I have no idea what happened and all I can hear is Abba say, “I know my daughter who you are and why I called you.”
We ended the day with worship. And a word. Come front and meet the healer. And these precious women. These young, broken girls…with stories that broke my heart and made me want to pull them in and keep them safe…these girls who sat behind me, telling me that they were praying for ME…that they loved ME…that they were thankful for ME…they walked to the front. And I lost it. I could not quit sobbing. Because I was in a sacred place…in a secret garden where Abba was calling to heal his broken daughters. And I couldn’t speak or sing or pray…I could just sob and feel the rawness and beauty of the moment as I watched him call these girls out of their hiding…their pain…into the beauty of who he is. When you have tasted a love this deep you want everyone to taste it. And when you see that happen…there are no words.
I am still digesting this morning and I began to hum the Secret Garden because I feel like that’s what happened yesterday. The healer came and these women let him into their secret garden where they hide and their lives will never be the same. And then I began to cry…and sing….
I come to the garden alone…
I was so alone…in my secret garden. I was safe. But I was hiding.
And the voice I hear falling on my ear…
His voice. I heard his voice. And I began to seek it. And then I found him.
And He walks with me and He talks with me. And He tells me I am His own. And the joy we share as we tarry there. None other has ever known.
He came to me. My Jesus Where I was at. In the depths of my sin. My shame. My pain. He came to me and walked with me. And talked with me. And then he took my hand and he lead me to our Father. My Abba. And Abba took me into his arms. And he called me his daughter. He told me he wanted me and he delighted in me and he loved me. And I belonged only to him. And oh the joy that floods my soul.
And now I patiently wait to see the path that he will lay before me. I only know that I want to be someone he uses to set his daughters free. I want to be there as they come out of their hiding place. Introduce them to my Jesus. To see and witness the joy as he too leads them to the Father. To rejoice as another one of his daughters is freed and she knows the joy of being loved by the one who knows the depths of her soul.
I am awed. Humbled. Changed. Overwhelmed. And incredibly thankful.
GARRETT, SIEDAH / JONES, QUINCY / TEMPERTON, ROD / DEBARGE, EL
Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.