I had a moment the other night when this strange feeling washed over me. I knew I had felt it before, but I couldn’t quite place it. I pondered it for a while and prayed until suddenly it hit me, like a ton of bricks. I felt…. safe.
I’m not just talking about being out of immediate danger, but actually safe and secure, like a small child feels being held in their mother’s arms. I felt loved beyond measure and I had this moment of knowing that dreams do come true and I was entering into my promised land.
It was an overwhelming experience and I delighted in it, until a shadow of doubt slipped into my mind and quickly my feelings of safety and anticipation sunk into an ocean of anxiety and sorrow. One basic thought echoed in my mind…what if this was all an illusion? What if the promise land is just another fairy tale? What if I don’t deserve happiness?
Physical and emotional trauma can take it’s toll on anyone and I am no exception. I held on to hope firmly for 37 years, until a devastating series of events unfolded and my hope shattered into a millions pieces. I was broken and ashamed. So much so, hope became a four letter word banned from my vocabulary. I needed to see the world in back and white. I needed order in chaos. I no longer had room for silly things like dreams. No, I only needed carefully thought out goals, that could be reached through a meticulously thought out plan of action. I was done with hope. I would never need anyone again. I would be enough for me and I would be enough for my girls.
Thinking back on it, I find it funny how God works. He looked at my carefully thought out plan and laughed as He tossed it into the trash. He wisely knew that what I needed wasn’t what I wanted. He wanted to bring healing, but I was willing to settle for feeling numb. He wanted to restore hope but I was content to let it die. He wanted me to be made whole; I just wanted to survive.
I wonder, how often we try and settle for less than what God intended for us. How many times did we go for the quick relief instead of waiting for the cure? How many times did we walk away from our miracle because the journey appeared impossible?
I’m afraid that the answer to those questions, for myself anyway, is far to many to count. I became the queen of “I can do it myself”, meanwhile reducing God to the role of head cheerleader.
Not only did I put God in a box, but I handed Him a list of things He was and was not allowed to say. I was in control and that was that…
Of course, that is never really that and God will only stay in our comfort zone for so long before He starts moving our boundaries. He loves us way too much to sit quietly in the corner of our lives. Yes, we can choose to ignore Him. He did give us free will after all, but why ignore the only one that loves us far beyond our ability to measure?
I am amazed at God’s handiwork in my life. He took this broken vessel and began crafting something completely new and amazing out of it. The “scars”, I once carried with shame, where now something beautiful, like carefully placed cuts that allow a diamond to sparkle in the light.
I am still a work in progress. I make mistakes just like everyone else. Sometimes, I am even foolish enough to listen to fear and doubt, just like I did the other night, but then I remember: “I am more than a conqueror through Him who loves me” (Romans 8:28.) I am a living example of God’s grace, mercy and miraculous power, and so are you.
You can let your wounds define you or you can let them reflect the God who loves you. Having tried both, I wholeheartedly recommend the latter.