Kelli Zaniel’s Thin Place: Learn It Looking Backward


Kelli Zaniel’s story reminds us that some Thin Places appear in the midst of evil. Check out her blog, Mothers On a Mission to see more evidence of God’s redeeming power. Feel prompted to share your Thin Place story? Here’s how you can.


My modest apartment is flooded with darkness when I enter. As the lights flicker on, I notice my ex-boyfriend crouching like a wild animal in the shadows, an uninvited guest. He stands up. He walks towards me. He towers over me like a large run down building. His piercing green eyes are blood shot and fiery red. His mouth clenches. His teeth grind. His fists tighten in anger. He shouts, “If I can’t have you then no one will.” He no longer controls me. When I refuse him, the terror begins.

He slaps me. The first blow invades my face like World War III. Hard slaps become violent punches. Blows continue like rolling thunder as my frail body dangles over the stair rail. I dive over the bed for the phone and dial 911. “Hello,” I hear the woman say before the phone is jerked from my blood stained hand. He rapes me, knowing the police are on their way.

Though the invasion runs like a bad movie, I experience no pain. My soul floats up to the ceiling, leaving a tattered and broken body behind. I see myself tossed and jolted from side to side like a raggedy old doll no one wants. Discarded. Maimed. Broken. I am ready to die.

A thin place reveals itself – a place where my earthly hurt is interrupted by heavenly hope.

I am still and God is active.
I am weak and He is strong.
God kisses my face as the devil hits it.
Sorrow and elation collide.
I see the face of God shining His light through my present darkness.

Stephen, in the midst of his stoning, sees God. He is not experiencing the pain of the present because he only sees the invitation extended from the Father. He sees Jesus seated at the right hand of God. Jesus is saving him a seat! I am Stephen. Torn down. Ridiculed. Deserving of hell. Yet, I am victorious because I see the face of God.

God shows me that dried up religion has replaced daily relationship with Him. Conviction is bottled up inside of me. He releases it.  This thin layer of hope provides security and significance. Second chances are within reach. On the outskirts of heaven, in the mercy seat, God whispers, “It’s not your time yet; there is more for you to do. You are Kelli, my daughter. I know you. I want a relationship with you. You need to become the woman I designed you to be.” My body shakes in reverent fear, “Is that you God?”

In that second the beating pauses. I want to worship and praise God but am muted by dried blood on my cracked lips. I sit on the second stair, huddled and curled in a fetal position, as arms from heaven wrap me with blankets of mercy and grace. Screeching tires and blaring sirens interrupt my thoughts. The police arrive. My ex is arrested. I am transported to the hospital, lucky to be alive.

I am no one special. I am ordinary. That night God rearranged me and turned my ordinary into extraordinary. I am nothing more than a broken down woman who has experienced the healing power of Jesus. I have wounds, but because of HIS wounds I am healed!

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