"Hang in there." ...one of my father's most frequently used phrases for us kids.
Life gets crazy, no doubt! But I've found it's really true that there's a silver lining, peace after the storm.
The other night, I read through my old blog posts and was blown away at the faithfulness of God. I still miss Mom and Dad, but as I read through those posts, I was reminded how heavy the cloud used to be compared to now. I remember the raw emotion and tears that were cried as I spilled my heart. I realized how much healing has already been done.
Sometimes the scabs are ripped off, and I have to start over, but one thing has not changed. My Rock and Redeemer has never left my side. He has been my strength. He is redeeming every heartache and moment of brokenness.
One day in class, we had a guest speaker...two, actually. It was a young lady and her mom. The girl, Jen, was in a car accident with her family in 2006. They were hit by a drunk driver going 80 mph, only a little over a mile from their home. All four members of the family survived, a true miracle! However, Jen, 15 years old at the time, suffered such severe brain injuries that she was in a coma for 5 months. They went on to tell us how when she awoke from the coma, instead of being angry and swearing like patients often do, the only time she could speak clearly was through praise songs and while speaking with the Lord as though He were right there in the room...because, of course, He was. While she is still mostly blind, has little short term memory, and often thinks more like a child than the adult she is, she's alive. She's alive and sharing her story all over the country, giving people hope and a reason to continue on.
I have a confession: when I first heard her story, I was a little bit bitter. I mean, I was happy for her and all, but a nasty little thought cut through that happiness. What about us? Why does her story get to be one of continuing life instead of seemingly life-cut-short? Why does she get a different story?
And then it hit me. Our stories are really no different at all. You see, as followers of Christ, we're not really living our stories...we're living His Story. We are characters in one Story, living out different chapters, playing different roles--both rather insignificant supporting roles. It's the Protagonist we're supposed to be focused on.
The crazy part is that while we play rather insignificant roles, we as characters are deemed the farthest thing from insignificant. We are, by His grace, "His own special treasures," and you can be, too. Because of the blood of Jesus spilled on the cross, we both live stories of victory, not for ourselves, but as messengers of the One who saved us from utter despair and depravity. We may not see how the chapters fit together now, but we have the promise that in the final chapter, the Protagonist of our story wins once and for all. This gives us, as warriors for the King's army, worth beyond measure.
I was struggling the other day with what to do with my chapter. How do I best love people and use the comfort God's given me to be a comfort to others? At least, that's what I thought I was struggling with. After discussing it with a dear friend, I realized that in all honesty, I was becoming much more interested in promoting my story than I was in promoting God's story. I was trying to write in my own bits and then tell the story on my own terms. Control and recognition were becoming gods I wasn't sure how to obtain. And it was just terrible! I was miserable and disconnected without even realizing how much self-absorption was clouding my view.
After becoming aware of this fact, I was able to resurrender my life--past, present, and future--to the only One who's been by my side without exception. He will determine who hears Our story and when and how. He will decide what the next page brings, and my job is to actively trust Him. This means living in obedience to what He's telling me to do right now. It means taking a deep breath and not worrying about the future, trusting that He will tell me what to do then, too.
I get so stressed out about what I'm supposed to be doing now so that I can be all God wants me to be in the future. While this is good to an extent, I'm realizing more and more that seeking "God's will"--a plan, a formula--is rather stressful. Seeking God, however, is as simple as a prayer or 5 spare minutes in Scripture. God promises that we will find Him when we seek Him, and each time He's found, His face--His character and the things He wishes from His children--are ingrained into me a bit deeper. As He becomes familiar, the things I should do as His daughter are easier and easier to identify. Following His wishes becomes more and more second nature. Opening my heart and eyes to the works He's doing and wants me to do is less and less challenging, less and less frightening.
Life gets crazy, but God is trustworthy. Your life is important to Him. His desire is to give your toughest moments meaning in the end. So..."Hang in there." Don't quit on God. I promise He hasn't quit on you.