No one ever learned that God loves you by being told. You have to be in positions over and over and over again where you feel God has abandoned you and find out you were wrong.
It has been two years. Two years since the storm hit. The storm I never knew was coming. Taken like a blow to the gut, it completely knocked my breath away, drastically altering the course of my life and my family’s future. One of the hardest things to process through and recover from was witnessing my biggest fear in life unravel right before me; completely destroying my family. It is one thing to fear something from ever happening, and another to see this fear now come to completion, affecting those you hold most dear. It is difficult even describing the kind of pain and confusion and heartache that accompanies this. The pain sinks in and tries to make a home where trust and love were previously found. As this storm kept coming and the waves kept rising, I could sense how much the enemy was at work trying to use my pain to create a divide between me and God. Letting each wave push me a little further from the shore, away from His light and truth. I felt like this constant fog had crept in and created confusion and a distortion of things that had been true my whole life. As if in an instant, everything was a blur and nothing seemed as it should. If I’m honest, there were days and still are days when it gets very tiring trying to keep pressing through the fog. It feels hopeless not knowing where I’m headed or how to get me out of this place, this season.
As soon as the dust began to settle and life seemed to resemble a semi-stable state, my brain went into fast-forward mode trying to anticipate the how, when, where next steps for how God would go about putting everything back together. Maybe it’s my pride or my self-reliant nature wanting to get myself back to one-hundred percent again, or maybe just the desire to be out of this dark and stormy season finally. Maybe it is all the above. All I know is, like with so many previous times in my life, God hasn’t quite worked in the ways I would have expected. Selfishly, I envisioned my healing would first work on things that I felt comfortable with: building with community that I loved, creating new memories with family, learning and growing in ways I thought needed or helpful. Those things have definitely been a part of the healing process. However, God’s design for this rebuilding was to include a route that began much differently than expected. I thought I was ready to get to work and make grand steps towards mending all that felt broken. Let’s get back to “normal” I thought. Instead of the foundational pieces I thought most important, God set the intended focus on a much more uncharted path, the heart.
The heart is a funny, fickle thing that, leaves me confused even with every year of life. Why do we love the things we love? Fear the things we fear? Hold onto the memories and heartaches that we do? Never let our hearts receive certain joys in life? Even before the storm hit our family, my heart was in an ever fragile state. Plagued with anxieties and fears of the future, deep hurts that had been left unhealed, and unanswered “why” questions for God that allowed distrust to linger. It should come to no surprise, but it did, that God would allow this broken heart and it’s fragile pieces to fall in the storm. To fall because He desires to show me, to teach me, how to rebuild it into a heart that can truly understand His love. Not to bring me harm, but to bring something beautiful and new.
Even in the fog, there have been markers towards the path I was being asked to walk. Unlike the colors on trees on a hike that guide you, these markers in my life were people standing strong alongside the path, as beacons, to guide me. When my strength was gone and my hope fading, there were people standing side by side me and loving me even when the hurt I felt often kept me from returning that love. Others that prayed for healing and rebuilding before I even knew the words to whisper. People that believed for me the redemptive work God would do, the rebuilding that He was already at work doing to put all the pieces back together. These beacons of truth, love, and grace allowed me to keep moving, hold fast until the storm lifted and the skies cleared. Admittedly, the path ahead remains uncertain and steps towards healing seem often unclear. Graciously, God brings with each new day the reminders of how careful He is with me and how gentle His ways are in which He leads me. Using those beacons of truth to surround me and rebuild that trust with God again, reminding me that He is always going before and alongside me through each journey in this life. He will never leave me, for He loves us so. He loves His children with a kind of reckless and wild love that I will never be able to fully understand. A love that is “every moment, every day, ALWAYS.” A love that “lifts me up above the waves, I don’t need to be overwhelmed.” A love “never leaves you to walk the road alone; it’s voice calls out above the noise.”
“He takes you in and He lifts you up. He give you faith so you can lift your head and you can run real fast and you can feel His joy. It’s not like anything you’ve ever known. It doesn’t make sense. It’ll ruin every fear. Makes it so you can finally be free.
It has been an interesting journey, this rebuilding. The storm that hit two years ago left so much debri and pain in its wake, leaving the broken pieces of a life shattered all around me. After what feels like many dark nights and long days, there seems to be a break in the haze and glimmers of hope reveal that there is healing at work. I see it in the little details of my life, woven into the daily routine where I can sense the pieces being put together again. Healing in the way of laughter; a long, deep laugh that comes much quicker these days. Finding my memory is sharper, fatigue grows slower, and my stride is becoming faster and longer. With the waves at bay, my chest now opens wide for a long, unstrained breath, a deep exhale, replacing the previous gasps for air; evidence of a heart on the mend and a testament to His reckless, wild love that chases after me and will not leave me where I am.