I find God in all kinds of places. As much as I’m tempted to take credit for being super spiritually attuned to the world around me, I think it’s more likely that God knows how easily distracted I am, even when I’m trying to find Him in the world around me, and He just makes Himself known – it’s how I’ve been wired my whole life. Which is why, when the darkness of grief and pain fell so heavily after my son died, and I couldn’t see or feel or even know for sure if God was there anymore, for the first time in my entire life, I felt absolutely alone. I know it isn’t popular for Christians to talk about this type of despair, after all, wouldn’t it be a far better testimony to the power of God in my life to continue to “praise Him in the storm” and be a beacon of hope for others? I don’t know, because that’s not how it happened for me, but I’m finally beginning to see that God has a different story planned for me – it’s one that can’t be written by anyone but me because it has been incubated and birthed, not in spite of my grief, but because of it.
When old dreams don’t seem to fit any more, like a favorite sweater that shrunk in the dryer, you have to allow space to mourn them, but the time comes when the only steps you can take are forward, so you tentatively begin to venture out of hiding and, even though it’s so painfully hard, begin to imagine new things. Such was the beginning of the journey of returning to college to complete my degree. It was the only thing I had wanted to do in such a long time, and in this new season, I had nothing to lose and everything to gain by trying. I thank God that He set my course in that direction!
There aren’t words I can find to describe how difficult it was, and sometimes still is, to do anything that meant forward motion, let alone big things, which is why I know it was absolutely God’s spirit that picked me up and carried me to the offices of Fresno Pacific Seminary where I had my first meeting to discuss entering the master’s program in pursuit of a counseling degree. This was a seedling of a dream from long ago that just never took root and one I had all but forgotten about. But God hadn’t….and I do believe that He saved it for this season of my life when I would need something to help focus my energy, mind and heart.
As I drove away from that appointment, I was suddenly flooded with false doubt and the familiar feelings that no matter what I try to do with my life, it will never be what it once was, what I longed for it to be because I had lost one of the two halves of my heart. How could anything possibly be alright ever again? And that’s when I first heard this song….
Speak, even if your voice is trembling, Please, you’ve been quiet for so long Believe, it’ll be worth the risk you’re taking
You’re afraid, but you can hear adventure calling There’s a rush of adrenaline to your bones What you make of this moment changes everything
What if the path you choose becomes a road The ground you take becomes a home The wind is high, but the pressure’s off I’ll send the rain wherever we end up, wherever we end up
Set your sights, sailing far beyond familiar In the rising tide, you’ll find the rhythm of your heart And lift your head, now the wind and waves don’t matter
I am the wind in your sails I am the wind in your sails I am the wind in your sails
I will never hear this song without reliving that moment when I had to pull over to the side of the road and I sobbed the way you only can in the presence of God, letting Him embrace me with such beautiful assurance that He knew I was afraid, but “what if the path becomes a road, the ground you take becomes a home…” He was telling me that it was time…..it was time to try again, and time to live again. It was a promise that good things are ahead if I’m brave enough to try and in the end, no matter what I choose or don’t choose, He’ll “send the rain wherever we end up” because He’s not leaving me, He’ll bless whatever path I choose, but if I’ll trust Him, there’s something good yet to be done with this one, broken life….
I told someone recently that writing this Lenten journal sometimes leaves me feeling like I’m walking around in public with no clothes on! I know these are very personal things to share and I do struggle with the appropriateness of it sometimes, but I think of those who are still in that darkest place, and it’s for them I write so honestly – it’s so important to know that we don’t walk alone! I know what it’s like to be lost in the darkness, and by His grace, I believe God is showing me the way out.
So…..I’m pretty sure I’m going to have to write about my dog, Boaz tomorrow just to balance the angst! Know you are loved, that you are seen and heard by God who is with you on the voyage.
PS The meeting went great, and if all goes well, I’ll begin the program this fall. =)