Blogging over at throughvalleys.blogspot.com today. Because I can’t make up my mind which platform I prefer. Sigh.
Three years, one month, and seventeen days ago, my life changed. Something deep inside me died. It sounds melodramatic to say, and even more so to state that I felt it happen, but it’s the truth. I felt it – this indefinable something, small and precious – flicker out of existence, and it was terrifying. It felt like the end; as though God had ceased to care about me and had turned his back on me.
And now, three years, one month, and seventeen days later, I am here to state with absolute certainty that truly, God never leaves nor forsakes us. God is good, even when the healing doesn’t come. That is true. That is SO true. But there IS healing – complete and perfectly absolute healing. People talk about the dark night of the soul, and mine lasted for well over a year. There was despair blacker than anything I’ve ever known, depression that felt like a bitter acid destroying me from the inside out, anger, and utter hopelessness. Throughout all of this, however, and though I couldn’t see it from the depths, was the grace of God.
It seems absurd to look back over the series of events that transpired between then and now, and to realize how they have brought me to where I am today. Ridiculous, silly things. Things that were probably poor life choices on my part. Things that hurt. Things that were hard. Some things that were fun. But over all of it, God remained sovereign, working out his redemption plan with absolute love and grace and forgiveness. Who knew he could use a complete stranger private messaging me on Instagram to work out his plan of grace?
I love it when God uses people to reveal himself, yet it continues to amaze me, every single time. It seems so unfathomable that a perfect God should use such imperfect beings to showcase his glory. And yet he does. The danger in this is that it could be easy to glorify the bearer of light rather than the source, when in reality that person may have no idea whatsoever that they are acting as messenger.
He spoke the words, asked the question. My heart gave a quick, unexpected thud. And then, suddenly, miraculously, I felt something change. I felt three years of questioning and growth and struggle coalesce, the months of doubt and anger and uncertainty and blindly trusting and desperate faith suddenly making sense, swirling into place and setting something alight deep down in my heart. It was as though the glory of God had suddenly broken over me and the Hallelujah chorus was being sung by choirs of angels. What I’d thought long dead and gone was alive again. Restored.
And he has no idea. No idea that his words broke something loose inside of me, that my heart feels like it’s been made new, that suddenly there is life and healing made manifest.
“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39
Webster’s 1828 dictionary defines “convince” in part as”To … satisfy the mind by evidence.” God does nothing senselessly, and what he begins, he also finishes. I am convinced. My mind has been satisfied by evidence. God doesn’t have to explain himself. We don’t always have the privilege of seeing what he is doing. He doesn’t have to show us the reasons why. But when he does! oh, how our faith is strengthened!
I don’t know what my future holds. But I know the one who holds my future, and he is endlessly faithful.
I have started a habit of opening up a word document at work, and keeping it in the background (behind my actual work) as a method of keeping myself sane. I don’t write much fiction – I’m not quite back there yet. But it’s not quite personal-journal, stream-of-consciousness, just-get-it-down style, either. I think I’ve been strongly influenced by the blogs I read, and have taken upon myself a sort of inspirational, meant-for-public-consumption style writing, while keeping it all quite private. My life as well as my writings aren’t quite inspirational enough to inspire anyone. Not to mention the massive redundancies… 😉
Anyway. I was so excited to share what’s been on my heart lately with the perhaps TWO loyal readers who happen to still check this blog from time to time, but alas. I am constantly forgetting to email myself this word document from my work computer. You know what they say. Patience is a virtue. 😉
So often we put off doing the things that we really want to do, settling instead for that which is merely easy.
Nothing worth having ever comes “easy.”
The whole reason I am sitting here, writing, is because I left my phone at work. There. Let us be honest. If I hadn’t left my phone at work, no doubt I would be sitting here, losing myself on Pinterest to be “inspired” by other people who don’t just settle for the easy, reading blogs by people who actually sit down and write, or perhaps checking out the latest on Netflix, all the while wishing for more. Wishing I was better. Wishing I had the self-resolve to make things better. Thinking to myself one day. One day I’ll.
No, one day I won’t. It’s either today I will, or today I won’t.
Do you know how many years I have spent thinking in terms of the nebulous, uncertain and certainly un-promised future?? How many hours I have spent thinking in terms of when the workday is over – how many workdays spent thinking in terms of when the weekend is here?
Too many. Far too many. But do you know what the very best part is? In God’s economy, nothing is wasted. Nothing. Ever. If that is not a thought to make you want to go and take your future by storm, I don’t know what is.
Sometimes I wonder about my life. I lead a small life. Well, valuable, but small. And sometimes I wonder, do I do it because I like it, or because I haven’t been brave?
– Kathleen Kelly
“I’ve noticed you’re not complaining about the cold as much this winter,” he said.
I blinked, surprised to realize that it was quite true. I hadn’t felt the cold quite as much; it hadn’t crept into my bones and immobilized me the way it had last year, where every breath I drew was “surviving, despite.” I had clung to the summer and to the sunshine, because sunshine was where I felt God’s love the most strongly, and sometimes that felt like the only thing keeping me sane – being able to actually feel something that I knew was there. Somehow the glow had continued with me into the winter months.
That was a little while ago – several weeks, at least, if not months.
Since then the darkness and the cold has been creeping back in. I’ve realized that part of what was keeping me in the sunlight is something I must fight and have been fighting against – because it is something that has not been given to me; a completely unfounded hope that would only bring pain if left indulged.
I promised myself this blog would be about honesty; there would be no stretching the truth in these posts. I’m not going to lie about where I am at. It is always best to focus on what is good, and what hope there is (and there is always hope in Christ!) but I also believe you cannot simply ignore things and hope they go away. And the truth is: I have never felt so alone in my life, so utterly useless. I don’t know who I am or what I am doing or where I am going.
There will be light. There is hope. I do know these things. And I must hold to them.