As I look back, I see you now: sitting in your room staring out the window, questions racing through your mind. You wonder if you are loved; you ask yourself if you are good enough. Angry, you tell the Almighty that He has gone wrong. Somehow, in your disillusionment with the faith you have been taught, you fight His plan and think that He is not enough. That He does not care for you...that, if He did, He wouldn't have allowed you to walk this valley. You count your losses, mourning that you seem to have nothing left. I feel your darkness of the soul as you stare at ceiling at night, trying to resign yourself to the fact that life might never be happy again. In the depths of the heart, you feel as though the hardships of life have left you dead. Ruins are all that are left. Oh sweet girl - if only you knew what God truly had in store...
When I think of where the last 7 years have led you, I see the Grand Weaver spinning a glorious plan that you cluelessly tried to reason away. You asked God to explain Himself when all He really asked for was faith. What He was after was trust. But for the longest time you thought you knew better. Oh what cause now for regret! And yet...into the midst of your doubt He stepped anyway. Through the example of one whose life was open to Grace, you saw a vision of hope. You tasted what you could become. If only you would let Him do His work. If only you would invite Him into your shame, your darkness, and let Him shine His light. You asked yourself if it was worth the risk - if opening your life to the possibility of a new beginning was worth it. After all, there was an odd sense of security in the dark places...to the point that the light felt strange. But what if it was the way out of the pain? What if there was meaning behind such a leap of faith?
Over time, God would walk you into paths that you did not wish to take. Paths that caused you to rethink all you knew: about yourself, about Him, about life. Paths that you were quite uncomfortable traveling at first...because they were unknown...because the truth hurt. The stripping went on. The cutting of the Word ran deep. Tears were your friend as you took on the challenge of finally facing what you had long ran from. You had to learn to forgive; you had to accept what you could not change; you had to embrace what led to hope.
But somehow...even in those times when the process seemed to hard and the pain of letting go was too much...the allure of His love wasn't enough for you to resist anymore. You somehow couldn't leave. There was this grace being offered that kept drawing you in and telling you that nothing about you was too shameful for Him to turn you away. He loved you anyway. Because He chose to before the foundation of the world. It blew your mind. And you kept walking toward Him. Until one day...it finally all made sense. And you surrender fully. You told Him, "No more half-heartedness. I am ready to follow You."
Girl...there is so much I wish I could tell you back on January 9th, 2009. Hope wasn't even a dream to you. All you wanted was for the pain to end. To go away and leave you alone. But really...you wanted God to leave you alone...because you thought you knew best. If I could tell you what I know now, how I would try to spare you from your wanderings! What things I would share with you about life and how joy can come from suffering! How I would let you know that thankfulness is the key to having a spirit of hope in the midst of the worst that happens! So much living had yet to unfold before you...and once you understood that His chastening were for your benefit, you began to open to all He had in store.
Today finds you still on a journey toward grace. You still continue to press toward the things that lend healing, the people that speak life, the places that bring you back to Him. This world is full of beautiful reminders of His love if only you will continue to notice and appreciate them. This life is overflowing with His blessings if you will just keep taking the time to see them and thank Him. You are entering another year of walking with Him. Sweet girl...stay strong! Pray more. Wait patiently for His timing in everything. And most importantly, live in grace everyday. For that is where the old you found hope.