"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?
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.
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.
My Bargain With God
When I realized that my singleness was going to last years longer than I anticipated, I made a bargain with God.
“For as long as I am single, I desire only this: Let my singleness be more productive and glorifying to You than if I were married. Only let me marry when my marriage will serve You better.”
It sounded spiritual, but it was really a cry of desperation. If I can’t be married and fulfill my greatest desire, I want to know that my singleness is worth something. I’m so terrified of wasting my life.
“You know, despite everything that’s happened, I still really love my life.”
These words came from a woman with whom I had just spent several hours discussing some intense situations in her life, situations that trigger thoughts like, “How did the world get so messed up?” and responses like “I don’t know what to do but pray for you.”
I knew far too well that she struggled with deep emotional pain, but she knew to Whom she could go to find healing and rest. And somewhere, in the midst of all the chaos, she still loved her life.
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.