When I Was Lost

Sunday, October 27, 2019
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Listen while you read: "At The Cross"1 (Lyrics)

Psalm 119:176 – I have gone astray like a lost sheep; seek your servant, for I do not forget your commandments. (ESV)

I've always been geographically dyslexic. My family used my inability as a reverse GPS. They'd ask me which way to go, and the opposite direction was always right. But I never thought that I could become spiritually dyslexic. It started out simply enough. Although I attended Bible school, I grew up as a rebellious hippy. A prominent religious journal chose me to be one of four national columnists for their monthly publication. The other three were serious men in suits representing politics, arts, and theology. I would be the voice of youth, questioning the old ways and writing about life outside the church. But lacking a church home because of frequent moves from city to city, and being inundated by my husband with classic philosophy and existentialism, gradually, I began to run out of answers.

Finally, we settled in a town where I joined a church with a boys' choir. Unfortunately, the boys were routinely abused by their choirmaster, resulting in the suicides of two boys and the death of one of my sons. The church authorities refused responsibility until, as a last resort, we parents picketed every Sunday for nearly a year. The congregation spat on us, pushed and shoved and screamed at us. When the choirmaster was finally imprisoned, everything that I thought I knew about God was gone. These people had claimed to be believers, and we who had suffered were the outcasts. I was left with a bleak emptiness inside where faith had once lived. I fell into despair, empty and lost.

That was when God, who knows all about us, gathered me up in His arms. I was walking by a church where the homeless slept on its steps, and I could not pass by, spiritually homeless as I was. Something happened to me, like what happened to Saul of Tarsus. An overwhelming longing filled my soul to return to faith, to God who had always guided my life. I prayed as I turned and went inside to find the minister, an urgency pushing me forward. He listened quietly as I sobbed it all out. His quiet confidence in the God I had known so well, spoke to all the skepticism inside me. Tears still come to my eyes as I write this.

The chorus of a hymn kept coming back as I embraced God's grace once again:

    Keep on believing,
    God will answer prayer;
    Keep on believing,
    Never despair;
    Though you be heavy-laden
    And burdened down with care,
    Remember God still loves you
    And He answers prayer.
           – Frank C. Huston

When we go back to God, He opens His arms wide and says that He had never gone away. Someone said, You can never reach the bottom of God's love.

Matthew 18:11 – For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost. (NKJV)

Prayer: Dear God, how grateful we are that You guide our every footstep, and that with You there are no coincidences, only appointments. You come to us and restore our souls when we are broken and our dearest hopes are gone. Keep us continually thirsting for Your living waters, and cause us to walk in the straight paths which Your only Son has walked before. In His name, we pray. Amen.

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About the author:

Rose DeShaw <rise370@gmail.com>
Kingston, Ontario, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Completely relatable, Rose! So grateful He waited around for me to come back!

    Thank you for opening your heart. May God continue to fill it and to give you joy in himself.
    For Jesus’ sake.

    Powerful! Words fail me.
    Thanks for writing this – it must have taken great courage.

    THANK YOU FOR YOUR POWERFUL MESSAGE! You and your family have been through so much and now you have given all who may have turned their backs on God the encouragement to return to Him.

    Rose: it had to be you. As I started to read this morning, I knew that it was another chapter of your memoirs unfolding. God bless you, dear soul, for taking us even into the dark recesses. Your story, wonderfully told, inspires and heartens.

    Dear Rose,
    Thank you for sharing so deeply about your life. I have lived in Ontario all my life, but I didn’t know this had happened. I looked it up on the internet and people who were abused are still coming forward. I am glad you found your way back to God knowing he is journeying with you. May you continue to share to help us all on our faith journey.

    Dear Rose,
    Thank you for writing and expressing the deep heart break you endured and the beauty of returning to the never-ending love of Jesus. I loved that expression you included that we can never reach the bottom of God’s love. The Lord’s blessings upon you.

    Hi Rose,
    Thank you for sharing this raw part of you with us. My heart goes out to you, for the loss of your son, the way the church treated you, and the years you felt lost following this tragic event. Your words will encourage many who are also feeling lost and will give them hope that God leaves the 99 to bring that one lost sheep back home. God bless you and keep writing.

    Thank you for sharing this part of your story Rose. Learning to separate God and Church is a very hard lesson but once learned totally changes us spiritually for the better. One is human the other is not. One fails the other does not. One can always be counted on, the other cannot. One can leave and forsake, abuse and use, the other cannot. I’m glad God lead you back to The real Him.
    Be blessed Lynne.

    Thanks for this, Rose. Encouraging words for me today as I sit in a quiet house tending to a loved one.
    Thank you for sharing the pain and the healing, the loss and the find.
    Almost every day I look at the title and decide before opening if it I think you authored it. Today it felt like a Rose DeShaw original. Made me smile to scroll immediately to the end and find the impression on point.
    I trust you will continue to be found.

    Dear Rose
    As always, a deeply moving message.
    I sense that in many ways we are kindred spirits. We have each survived many traumas and use our experiences to help and encourage others. I can relate to your past struggles, as well as the loss of a son.
    Thank you for allowing us into your heart and spirit.

    Oh Rose, your words touched me as I read them this evening. I could sense the urgency and passionate longing to return to God’s loving care! Aren’t we privileged and blessed that He, the Creator of ALL things, knows each of us by name and loves us unconditionally.
    The chorus you wrote is so much like the chorus of a song I listen to frequently (on a CD of my late husband singing with a quartet many years ago….). It buoys me up, strengthens my faith and is a wonderful reminder to:
    Keep on praying, God is ever near
    Keep on praying, He will surely hear
    Keep on praying, Keep on trusting too
    Keep on praying, God will answer you!
    Blessings to you on your journey!

    Dear, dear Rose,
    I read about two lines of this devotional this morning and thought, “I’ll bet this is Rose’s!” So I scrolled down, and sure enough it was! I loved the part about being a reverse GPS. I had the best sense of direction in our household, and I know it seems to be innate ability as well as learned! I love how I continue to learn little bits and pieces about your background and your life as I read your devotionals. We all have the things that have made us who we are, but your background – difficult and unorthodox as it was — definitely molded you into the unique, talented person that you are. God is so wise in the way He creates and leads each of us in totally different ways.
    Blessings to you.

    Thank you Rose for sharing your spiritual journey with us. Blessings.

    Thank you for sharing such a moving life story, Rose. Your courage in such difficult circumstances is a great example for us all! God bless!

    I hope you can tell me the name of that hymn and where to find it. I would really appreciate this as so far, my search hasn’t found anything yet. Thank you.

    Thank you – took a lot of courage to do what you did.
    God be with you,

    You have helped people who you may never know, who are struggling, believing they are abandoned by God.
    Now they will know God doesn’t give up on us.

    Thank you for a beautifully written and very powerful devotional. It took courage and skill to share this with us.
    Thank you again.

    Dear Rose,
    How moving and beautiful is your devotional and how fortunate we are at St. Andrew’s to have someone who has survived such trauma thanks to God.
    Thank you for sharing your hurt and your faith.

    What a horrendous experience and yet through it all He was there and brought you home. You are an amazing person indeed! Thanks for sharing such a heart-wrenching experience. A sign for us all to take heed.

    Thank you very much for your post. Sometimes with my morning devotions I can get very distracted and not focus on what I need to hear. Your posts always penetrate my heart and I thank you for the faithfulness of your writing. “Awake O sleeper and rise!” – yes, it is as if I get “woken” up by your posts.
    Thanks again.

    Dear Rose, so sorry you had to suffer so deeply. Through our personal suffering we can sometimes be of comfort to others. As a young teen away from home I was so lonely. Friends in class talked about their church activities but never asked me to join them.
    As I grew up, I decided to ask any and all if they had a faith home. If not, I asked them to come and share the blessings of our fellowship. I always remember what I experienced.
    Praying that you and all who suffer in the church will have special healing from our Saviour. Shalom to you and yours.

    Oh, Rose. Once more you have blessed me with your life story. Thank you for your openness.

    Thank you for your heartfelt insights. Yes, God is so good to heal our broken hearts and disappointments.

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