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The Pain of Relapse

by Heather Day, a member of the safe house staff

*Names have been changed to protect identities

When Chrissy first came, she was strong-willed and cynical; a combination that created tension for those around her. On top of that, her hopelessness was so intense that it seemed as if a cloud hung over her.

Every time Chrissy spoke, you could hear the tinge of regret sweeping across her thoughts like a dark shadow. It seemed there could be no small talk with her. There was only pain that brought a depth to everyday conversations.

The pain often manifested as anger, and Chrissy wasn’t always receptive to us. Nevertheless, our call is to faithfully love and trust that God will be the one to touch the heart.

When Chrissy left, I remember how amazed I was. In a short time, there had been profound transformation. She was gentle in speech and hopeful in heart. We were beyond ecstatic for what the Lord would bring next.

It has been several months since then. Unfortunately, we recently heard that Chrissy has relapsed.

Though it feels like she is gone, she is not. Despite feeling like we have failed, we have not. Love is as strong as death (Song of Solomon 8:6). This we must remember! Because of this, I know He will continue to pull the strings of her heart.

This is, by far, is the most difficult part of the job. Relapse into “the life” is the most painful thing to witness. I want to fix. I want to correct. I want to control. But I can sense the Spirit speak to me, “I am sovereign.”

Though He does not encourage or condone our departure from His way, He is right there wooing us to return to Him. He redeems the years of abuse and pain for His glory. Out of His kindness, He brings beauty from our ashes. Whether those ashes are something as heavy as exploitation or something we would consider trivial, He will continue to draw the human heart to Himself.

He really does long to bring us all Out of Darkness.

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