christianity · Faith

Hell on Earth

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Tears flowed, memories came rushing back, as I read this post.

My heart became full of fear, pain, memories…

Hell on Earth

Who was this Crayon Wrangler person, anyway?

She had a huge following on Twitter and that sense of humor was contagious.

She was very personable, and seemingly had a perfect life with a husband and three beautiful daughters.

I, on the other hand, was suffering and the world of Twitter knew it.

My son was raging two plus hours, my marriage was falling apart…

My babies were terrified of their big brother, in fact, we were all terrified of him…

Crayon Wrangler reached out to me, letting me know that she was praying for my family…she reassured me and lifted my spirits.

Her life was so perfect … not like mine.

Crayon Wrangler to Alycia

And then, I learned the truth…

I will never forget, sitting on my bed, kids finally asleep after another rage. One where my son, so young and small, had enveloped the strength of a grown man, and beaten me black and blue. I was turning to Twitter, for a few minutes of emotional release, when I read it.

Crayon Wrangler became Alycia, and her perfect life wasn’t so perfect at all … It is Alycia’s story to share, not mine. My heart broke. I had been so selfish, asking for prayer, never stopping to ask how she really was, never seeing that she was hurting and broken too. I wanted to reach out to her, apologize, but there was no way…she had left the only place I could connect with her.

Biblical Hell

The Biblical descriptions of Hell are not for the faint of heart.

  •  A lake of fire and sulfur, a second death (Revelation 21:8)
  • Lake of fire (Revelation 21:8, Revelation 20:14, Revelation 20:15, and more)
  • Shame and everlasting contempt (Daniel 12:2)
  • Eternal destruction (2 Thessalonians 1:9)
  • Separation from the presence of the Lord and the glory of his might (2 Thessalonians 1:9)
  • Smoke of torment forever and ever (Revelation 14:11)
  • No rest day or night (Revelation 14:11)
  • Chains of gloomy darkness (2 Peter 2:4)
  • More verses about Hell

Hell On Earth

Alycia and I reconnected after a short time, and she holds a special place in my heart. We were going through what many would consider to be hell on earth at the same time. Our darkness was very different, but we were still searching for light at the same time. We both knew God, loved God, but it was still dark.

My tears flowed, the fear and memories hit like a ton of bricks because, as I read her post, I realized that more than three years has passed.

More than three years since my husband and I realized we had to journey through residential treatment with our son.
More than three years since my husband and I had a marriage in shambles.
More than three years since I first realized and admitted that my babies and I were afraid.
More than three years since we took D to residential treatment.

Three years since Alycia and I were going through what seemed to me like hell on earth, and somehow I still feel connected to her. Again, our darkness was very different. Different did not change the fact that while my life was crumbling, I was praying for her, hurting for her, loving her. Different did not change the fact that we were hurting at the same time. It seems weird, I’m sure, but when I look at her timeline of significant events, I see my timeline matching up pretty closely. The post was full of realizations.

Biggest Realization

The biggest realization I had, while reading Alycia’s post, was something that was as breathtaking and life changing as anything else I have read or felt through this long and twisted road.

The only hell on earth is the one we create for ourselves.

See, God is omnipresent. He reigns over Heaven, Earth, and Hell.

We, as humans, choose to separate ourselves from God, his glory, his grace.

We make our choice through sin, running from, turning our backs on God.

26 For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth,
there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins,
27 but a fearful expectation of judgment,
and a fury of fire that will consume the adversaries.
Hebrews 10:26-27

We make the choice to leave God, therefore spiritually separating us from Him.
We make the choice to create, within ourselves, a Hell on Earth.

God Is With Us

He goes before us (Deuteronomy 31:8)
He is behind us (Psalm 139:5)
He is in us (Ephesians 3:17)

Through my darkness, I kept searching for and clinging to God’s promises. I screamed out loud many times, begging God to comfort me, hold me, protect my family.

No matter how dark it felt for Alycia, her children, my children, or me…no matter how dark the days may seem three years later…

We never were, never will be alone.
YOU are never alone.

Are you in darkness? Do you feel trapped in Hell on Earth? Can I pray for you, or with you, or help you find resources? You are never alone – God is with you, loves you, and wants to be your strength.

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Isaiah 41:10

Note: I encourage you to read Alycia’s story, get to know her. You won’t be sorry, she is a beautiful person.
For those who might be reading here for the first time, D is home from residential treatment. Today is much better than 3 years ago, but the days can still be more difficult than words can say. My marriage has taken several hits over the last three years, but I am blessed to say that this last year has drawn us closer, and our family is stronger now than ever before. God is at the rock that holds us up, and the glue that binds us together.

 

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