More then once in the last couple of days I've had friends mention that my Facebook status' have seemed "deep" and reflective. This was definitely not intentional, but I guess it's true. Lately, I have been rather reflective, or maybe a better way to say it is deeply grateful for and inspired by the last two years.
Two years ago I didn't think I was going to be able to survive much less ever foresee myself happy or fulfilled again. One year ago I thought the pain might swallow me whole, causing me to vanish completely. A year ago, there were moments I couldn't breath without tears in my eyes. I remember pacing in my room for a hour, crying out with everything inside of me, begging God to make it stop. In those moments I understood despair, regret, shame, humiliation...but even more...I understood that only God (and the friends He placed in my life) could carry me through.
So you might see why, in reflection and gratefulness, I am humbled and surprised to say I'm more content and happy then ever (knock on wood). If you asked my dad, he would say that he's never seen me so settled, adjusted and happy. "You're back. You're back to normal," he says with every ounce of southern drawl emphasizing his sincerity. lol oh la papa! But it's true!!! I have found myself content with a simpler, more productive and peaceful life. Maybe not always drama free (I still have my job) but consistent, steady and...well...I'll say it again...peaceful.
Why? Well that's where the reflective piece comes in. I've been thinking about the beauty of pain. I truly believe pain and brokenness can be a purging, a way to force the wrong, yucky and dark places of our hearts to surface. My mind pictures the refiners fire. The picture of the fire boiling out the impurities in the gold and silver. All that heat, all the process, causes the metal to become that much purer, that much more beautiful and desirable. That much more workable. And, of course, as with everything we have a choice when faced with those impurities. Many times we might run, avoid at all cost, seek refuge in other people, substances, things. Other times we might turn and face them, work through it, find a way back. Owning and taking responsibility for all the undesirable, hard things about ourselves. And for me...I think I did a little bit of it all.
I definitely ran at first. I didn't...couldn't face my reality. I couldn't see how any of it was fair much less how any of part of it could have been a little bit of me. But eventually I decided to turn and face it. Sit in my emotion and pain. Confront the areas of my own heart and soul that were not easy to own, but necessary to get to the other side if I wanted to be healthy again. Surprisingly, what I found was the pain became less, my mind got more quiet, and my heart and spirit began to expand. I discovered joy in areas of life I had overlooked before. I learned how to hear God's voice through the storm, and I developed a confidence and strength that has been surprising.
When you're in pain, when you're broken it feels as though that will always be the case. But there is always another day, another side to your story. Out of the ashes God can and WILL create a thing of beauty. And while I wouldn't wish what I went through on anyone...I am so very grateful for the peace and joy I have now.