"I don't understand," I told my friend through my tears. "I thought that I'd be over this by now. What is wrong with me, that I can't just move past this?"
"Honey," my friend replied gently. "You've been living with this situation for years. You think you're going to heal in just a few months?"
Yes. Yes, I did think I would. I didn't want to believe that I was so weak. What design could God possibly have in my weakness?
Fear has been a near-constant battle for me in the last few months.
Recently, my life changed significantly. When I came to grips with a number of difficult things I had been denying or minimizing over the years, it all led to making significant changes in my life. Suddenly, I found myself in a completely unfamiliar place, surrounded by strangers, battling constant doubts and fears, unemployed, and uprooted from almost every familiar or comforting thing I knew.
Every tomorrow seemed like a yawning chasm of the unknown.
Every day of 2016, I opened my eyes to a new morning and God's Spirit whispered, "Treasure this."
He did not say why, but I sensed a preparing in my heart. I felt a whisper of change boiling in my future, like storm-clouds brewing just beyond sight. Whether weeks or years away, this change would alter the life I had built.
This post first appeared on LessonsFromPain.com on February 17, 2016.
This week my community lost a 23-year-old young man. He was ice-fishing on the lake with friends and, through a series of circumstances, was alone in sub-zero temperatures when his truck broke through the ice. He extricated himself and tried to make it to shore. He never made it.
How do I know if a man is worth developing a relationship with? How do I know if he has the character to be a good husband? Well, here are my top six ways to know if a guy is worth it.
Note: I hesitated to post this, because of the fear that people would mistake it as a "This is my laundry list of qualifications for my future husband," which is not at all the intent. I wrote it--and now share it--because I think my thought processes here have some value for the young woman who seeks guidance in these matters and wants to set her standards responsibly.
I started this post with a totally different title. I wanted to write about energy and how variable it is for me, with the usual mix of honesty about a rough situation and optimism for the future. And I started to write, "I can handle any situation so long as I have the energy to do what I want."
But that made me think. What do I want?
To my sister:
When you said that you wanted to go to college, I was glad for you, but I was afraid too. College is a world of its own, and there are so many pitfalls there for the Christian woman, even at schools that claim to follow Christ. Were you ready? But who is ever ready?
A few weeks before you began, you and I went on a long walk and I told you the things that I had learned about my own college journey, and the things that I wish I had done better.
If you're a married woman, here's a great list for including your "single sisters" in your life. If you're single, share shamelessly with your friends! They will enjoy knowing better how to bless you.
This year I've really put effort into knowing the people in my church better. We've been going to this church for at least 8 years, but last year I realized I don't know people there very well. The distance to the church (and most of the attendees' homes) is a major hurdle for me, especially since travel is one of my triggers.
Despite the difficulties in deepening relationships, I've been persistent, and as I get to know the church women better, I've realized something important: Everyone is in pain.
Recently, a friend and I were reading through a book entitled Transforming Grace by Jerry Bridges, and we were both struck by the same passage. I don't have the book right in front of me, or I would quote it for you, but here's the basic idea:
When I sin and then repent of it, God does not put me in some different category in which I must serve a penance before I can be fit for His work. When I am righteous, that does not entitle me to greater blessings nor make me necessarily more "fit" for God's work.
Let me explain.
None of my life has gone the way it was "supposed to go," but I don't love my life any less because of the hardships and new directions. I see so much unexpected good in it, and I want others to see the good in theirs.