I’m so excited to have Hailey Hudson here today to talk about what God has taught her this year! She can introduce herself best in her own words, I think!
ABOUT HAILEY HUDSON
Hailey Hudson is a young author, blogger, and freelance writer based in the mountains of north Georgia. She loves fastpitch softball, Harry Potter, and her beagle puppy, Sophie. Learn more about her faith journey and her writing journey by following her blog.
2017 was possibly the most difficult year of my life so far, but it’s also been the one where I have grown the most in my faith. Today I’m here to share with you how I was set free.
I chose a word for the year: “serve.” I determined to not be overwhelmed, to make time for Jesus despite the busyness of life, to not be bound by fear, and so much more. My goal for the year was to pursue God above all and to spread love like fire.
Everything changed. A blur. Words feverishly scribbled in my journal, tears in bed every night, trapped and in chains and almost giving in. No motivation, no joy, only despair. I was deep in the slimy pit (Psalm 40). But there was something else, too, in my very darkest moments—His faithfulness. He did not forsake me. I was deeper and darker than I’d ever been, and I begged God to show up, and He did. He is El Roi—the God who sees. I prayed constantly for freedom, for reconciliation, for redemption. I learned that on the darkest of nights, when I wanted to give up, God saw me. But more than that—He was fighting for me. “Let me come expectant that You will show up. Use my story for good. Turn my fear into courage and death into abundant, glorious life.”
Hope came dancing on an empty grave. I walked by the ocean and heard the waves speaking freedom to my heart. Slowly, He began to lift me out of the pit and set my feet on a firm place (Psalm 40). I preached grace to myself daily, for I knew in my head that it covered my shame, I just didn’t quite know it in my heart. Fear began to lose ground to my hope in Him.
Restoration; I felt it, those days. I felt Him giving me the oil of joy instead of mourning and a garment of praise instead of the spirit of despair (Isaiah 61); I saw Him doing all the good and beautiful things He promised His people. I studied Galatians and had my world rocked by chapter 5: Christ has set us FREE, and my freedom is meant for the freedom of the world.
We live in the Saturday before Easter Sunday too often, but there’s no reason to stay in the grave when we can taste heaven. He called my name, and I ran out of that grave. Halcyon summer days were spent with friends, discussing His goodness; I desired Scripture, more and more. I realized that Love was on my side.
Freedom is a choice. We are no longer captives, yes, but we have to reach out and take it. Time does not heal—Jesus heals. I spent time with Him and time preparing to teach little girls that we are set free in order to love others.
I fell in love with the book of Lamentations. It spoke of a city in ruins, nothing left to do but weep; yet because of the Lord’s great love, we can still dare to hope. What would it look like if we all lived truly knowing that we are beloved and chosen? As He speaks, a hundred billion failures disappear.
Surviving is for those who have no hope, and that is not me. I am wild and free, set here on earth to live an abundant life. When I see that cross, I see freedom; I see the beauty of heaven wrapped in my shame.
I found reconciliation and forgiveness and let go of bitterness. It felt like the final piece of the puzzle to healing from everything I had gone through during the past year, and I could not contain my joy. Freedom is my inheritance. And you know, it was only when Jesus showed Thomas His scars that Thomas believed. Our testimonies, however dark, are powerful weapons of light. God rescues the broken and turns them into rescuers. I chose to be baptized and it was so, so beautiful.
I was attacked, but I clung to my freedom and refused to give in. My scars reminded me of how He pulled me out of death. The Israelites didn’t just have to get out of Egypt—they had to get Egypt out of them. I told myself the truth that I am a prisoner of nothing but hope (Zechariah 9:12). If the enemy brings up my past, I bring up his future.
“You will forget the shame of your youth” (Isaiah 54). There is only Jesus, and there is only joy in knowing Him. Everything I prayed, He has done. I am restored, redeemed, and free. And one day when our King returns, it will be as though our pain was only a dream, and our hope is the only reality we know. Looking back over the year, if I could choose another word for 2017, it would be “free.”