“I pulled into the parking lot of my little apartment. Close to Vilano Beach, it was the closest to freedom I could find in Florida. The studio was a fresh start. It was a new life. I could fill it with whatever I wanted. I remember the tears when I first realized that I had the freedom to choose.”
I had been living in a house in Keystone, wondering what was next. I couldn’t stay in the haunted house, filled with memories of abuse. I couldn’t leave the state because of the custody agreement. I was trapped.
I remembered a day when I’d driven south down A1A from Jacksonville. We’d never taken that road before, and drove into a mini paradise called Vilano Beach. As I wondered what to do with my house, the memory was brought to mind out of the blue. With nothing to lose, I did a search to see if there was anything available I could afford and found a little studio near the beach.
I hadn’t known then, but God was already setting a pathway of healing before me.
It was the first time in years that I had picked a place that I wanted to live, and was able to choose what I wanted in it. I was free from the criticism of another voice lording over me. It was a place just for me and my daughter, close to the ocean.
The beach became a profound place of healing for me. Even before getting saved, I would take walks along the sandy shores, feeling at peace and rest. I was still fighting an internal war against the darkness, but I never felt more free than when I was staring out at the expanse of water, wondering what it looked like on the far shore.
I felt like I dropped my baggage off where the pavement hit the sand, and could walk weightless for short periods of time. The problem was that I always picked up the baggage on the way back home. I could never get rid of it, only ignore it for a time.
It was this baggage that I brought into my Seasons of Sonship as a spiritual daughter of Dr. Joshua Todd. Initially, my beach had been an escape from the problems, but as he started speaking truth into my life, the healing was lasting. The heavy burden I carried started to lessen, piece by piece.
I felt like God met me on the beach those days. I walked with Him in the heat of the day as He poured love I didn’t know how to accept over me. God was passionate to shine a light on the dark places inside me so that I could stop carrying the burdens and start living in real freedom.
Not freedom as an escape from the problems, but freedom as a way of life. A restoration from the things I’d done, and what was done to me.
Even now, when I hit what seems to be an impenetrable barrier, I make the trip to the beach to meet with HIm. The more I grow in the Lord, the more He is with me always, but the beach has a special place in my heart, as a place of love and healing and restoration. A place where I buried the old me in the sand, and took home someone new.