I've seen the faithfulness of the Lord! I know this is a sentiment that I've expressed often here, but from where I sit today the land of the living and the dark places were a journey only about a week apart. God's deliverance for us came tangibly, supernaturally, relationally, emotionally, and superseding anything we ever could have imagined. The road to deliverance was long and rough. NO--it was brutal. Never before in my life have I thought I would die, actually die from the daily heartbreak we woke up to each morning in that season. But now, by God's mercy it is THAT season, and not THIS season. I learned so-crazy-much, I hope and believe that I also grew accordingly.
I learned to be thankful for God's discipline in my life. While I do believe that moving home was ultimately a blessing for us, I also believe that God used it as a tool of discipline for a season. I see now what God was seeing much much earlier. There was an arrogance in my heart that was growing, pinning myself with the badge of wisdom that wasn't mine and patting myself on the back for the life I made. I believe that because of God's unconditional and far reaching love, he chose not let us fall into self-idolatry. He gifted us with a season for humility that has changed us forever. In the midst of our storm I never imagined being able to truly thank God for letting us walk through it all. Yet one morning when the storm began to clear a bit, I sat in the dining room chair that had held countless breakdowns and tears, the chair that became my throne of sorrow, and I lost myself in gratitude as I recounted all the inches and miles of my life that God had reclaimed for Himself. I stand today feeling that I'm more His than I am mine, and it was worth it. And it never ever felt like it would be, what victory.
I learned that every woman's husband is working hard. This sounds so simple, but as a woman who married into ministry from day one, this was a realization that has absolutely changed the way I view other families and will change the way I walk through busy seasons of our own. Sure life has its unique challenges as a pastor's wife, but so does being a car salesman's wife, as I'm sure being a doctor's wife or a fireman's wife or an entrepreneur's wife all carry unique dynamics.
I learned never to take having a church home for granted. It is exhausting looking for a church, exhausting. It is no fun being a new person each week or each month until you find the right place. It's heartbreaking to see your kids without a group of sunday school buddies and to confront their fears each Sunday morning as they try to claw and cry their way out of a new place. It's lonely and it's awkward. But I also learned that friendliness, true kindness is a gift from God--it has the power to change someone's entire experience of a place.
I learned that the best people on the face of the planet are those people who take you in and let you spill your junk and then offer to let you do it again. I learned that parents are just as comforting and safe a place when you are nearly 30 as they are when you're in 3rd grade.
I learned that all those mornings of waking up and investing time to imprint God's word on my mind and heart serves a purpose. Waking up in the night shaking with anxiety, reaching and grasping for God's words that I'd read in mundane moments is what pulled me out of many dark moments when nothing else would.
I learned through our suffering that more than anything, when someone is suffering they just need you THERE. They need you to take on the burden of listening to their pain yet again, they need your prayer, they need YOU to believe that God is working. They need to know that it's ok that this thing is so hard, they need you to keep encouraging them even though sometimes they don't accept it. They need you to let them cry over the phone, they need you to sometimes cry with them. They need your prayer, they need your loving reminders of God's goodness while you walk the one-hundreth mile of the wilderness together. They need their friends and family to imperfectly love them as a tangible reminder that their perfect Father still perfectly loves them and chases them and makes GOOD plans for their life. Having walked this road, I'm convicted that through the ministry of our friends and the impact of our own wilderness, I am responsible to love others with the same love we needed so badly.
Whom have I in heaven but You? And besides You, I desire nothing on earth. Psalm 73:25
So Jesus said to the twelve, "You do not want to go away also, do you?" Simon Peter answered Him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life. John 6:67-68
My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. John 10:27-28