Finding Freedom, by Heather Deroche
Nash’s Note: Over the years, Heather has become my second mom. She’s also become my assistant, my therapist, my chef, my stain remover, my seamstress, my pharmacist, and most importantly, my friend. I continue to watch her grow each year, as she breaks free from her past. Through all the highs and all the lows, her faith continues to build. I’m honored to have her words on my site, because those words are filled with power and freedom. This is one of the most relatable guest posts I’ve released.
My life has been in a season of turmoil lately. I am currently focusing on finding my way back, reconnecting with God, and getting to a place of peace. Here’s a glimpse into that journey.
Freedom is such a loaded word. What does it truly mean to have freedom? The answer to that has changed over the years for me. It’s looked very different in each season of my life. As a child, it looked like escaping from abuse. As a teen, it was finding my place in a world that I never really felt like I belonged in. As an adult, being married, and having children, the look of freedom changes even more. I would try to find time to escape and be alone: a few precious moments to breath. In more recent years, my definition of freedom became finding peace. Peace from the noise that fills my mind. Peace from the lies that had been spoken over me. Peace from depression and all that came with it. Peace from the overwhelming weight of life, and all the drama and chaos that surrounded me.
Stop the World
I found several things that would give me momentary glimpses into what peace felt like. Brief moments where the world around me stopped and allowed me to focus, even if only for a minute. Worship music calms me and helps me to find my balance: lifting your hands in worship and surrendering to God creates a bond, and it opens up a beautiful conversation.
I have also discovered a love for hiking. For some people, it represents endurance and fitness. For me, it’s the physical definition of what freedom should look like. When you’re in the woods, there is such a calmness and serenity. Out there, you have no choice but to have an intimate connection with God. When you stop to take in all that is pure and natural (the sound of the wind, the song of the birds, the rushing of the water, the rustling of the leaves), it’s all so calming to the soul. Life gets so busy and so loud, but out there, it all goes away. It opens up that true connection with God.
Twelve Years Ago
I’ve come to realize that throughout all of the seasons of my life, I’ve had the ability to find freedom in whatever form or definition I needed. It has been right there at my fingertips the entire time. Twelve years ago, I gave my life to Christ, and for those twelve years, I convinced myself that I was living for Him. I’ve had ups and downs and grown a whole lot. I know that no matter what, He has walked with me and carried me through so much—sometimes, even as I’m kicking and screaming. Even though He’s always been right there beside me, loving me unconditionally, I realize now that I have never fully accepted all that He has for me. When I look at freedom from Christ’s perspective, it is so much different than any definition I could imagine on my own.
What Freedom Really Is
People always ask why God allows us to go through all that we do. I have heard many explanations to this, but I truly can say that I understand it now. Recently, I have gone through a season of change that has caused me to stumble a bit. Through this season, I have gained a new sense of what freedom really is. While I have lost so much, I believe it was God’s way of helping me to see the freedom that He has for me. I focused so much on my own understanding. I couldn’t see past all of the noise. In order for me to really and truly see Him, lean on Him and live for Him, He had to break me from those things. I will never find freedom in people or objects, not in money, or in any worldly possession. I certainly won’t find it while trying to maintain control. God gives freedom willingly and freely. All we have to do is submit our lives to Him. Not some of it, not bits and pieces of it, but fully and completely.
I am currently working on making some positive changes in my life. I will no longer let my past define me. I have been made new in Christ. I will no longer try to control situations or people. “Helping” isn’t always helping, as much as it is controlling. I will no longer try to fight against situations around me, because the fight is not mine, but God’s. I will no longer try to force life to look like what I want it to, because God has bigger and better plans for me. I will no longer allow myself to feel alone, because God has brought some amazing friends into my life. I will not allow myself to lose sight of that again. I will no longer live my life afraid. God says “Fear not. For I am with you.” So I plan to take every opportunity that He puts before me, and I’ll listen more intently, not letting the noise interfere. I’m sure I will stumble again, but I know that, no matter what, God will be right there with me, lovingly guiding me right back where I need to be.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” - Matthew 11:28-30