It has been a really interesting few months. God has led me through grief, through facing some things in my past and in myself and in the carefully constructed (false) narrative I had built to protect both. I found myself standing in difficult truths—some that were beautiful and some that were painful, but all were healing.
I caught up with a friend this morning and shared the nitty gritty details. It went something like, “OK, I am going to tell you some really painful and ugly things. But, don’t worry. I am already healed. All I have right now is tremendous gratitude.”
The thing is that it is not hyperbole. I actually do feel tremendous gratitude.
God has loved me so well. He has carried me so faithfully and in ways I could not imagine if I had tried. In the last few weeks He pulled back the veil enough for me to see specifics areas where he protected and carried me. And the revelation left me literally speechless.
My friend this morning said my tale brought to mind Exodus 13 where God says that when he led his people out of Egypt he could have taken them by the Philistines, which was the shorter way. But, he said if they saw the Philistines they may have become frightened and returned to bondage. So, respecting human will, he led them the longer way, probably the more difficult way—because he loved them and respected their freedom.
Yes, it was the longer way—but he didn’t let their sandals wear out.
Yes, it was the dryer way—but he gave them water from the rock.
Yes, it was not a straight shot—but he gave them clouds by day and fire by night.
True, there wasn’t much to eat on that desert path—but there was manna from heaven.
When I tell you I am overwhelmed with gratitude, I mean that as I type this I am weeping. God has loved me so well. And I didn’t even know it. I couldn’t even see it. I spent so much time being angry at him for the way he let my life unfold. I didn’t even see the clouds and fire. Yet, he kept leading me and feeding me manna.
While I am sure that my healing journey is not finished—I am not dead yet—the amount of healing that was manifest in my life in the last few weeks has been so substantial, it’s beyond measure. It’s like 40 years of hurt was lifted from me and I was suddenly able to breathe and sleep and digest food again.
I wish so much that the details could all be shared. Alas, at this time, they cannot. However, I want to tell you something clearly:
God’s default position is healing.
Trauma is not our identity. I think so often we can always be in a process of healing, but never healed. We can wind our hurts around ourselves and wear them like a badge. We can color our world in shades of grey to explain why crying comes more naturally than laughing. We can glorify the grit of our lives and forget that maybe, just maybe, we are living the great romance that we always wanted. But, we get bogged down because we are in that part of the story where we are just sure that none of it is going to work out—they are never going to find each other. But thanks be to God of all plot twists, sometimes we are one emotional sappy ugly montage from resolution.
The courage to face the things I have faced in the last few weeks was not available to me before this moment. God gives the grace we need for the moments we need—not often early, but certainly never late.
If you are in the trenches like me, if God is leading you by the long way, if you are wondering if this journey actually has a destination, same. Same.
Maybe that is the most comforting thing to hear: Same. Someone else also following the cloud and fire and drinking water from a rock and believing in a promise land we haven’t yet seen.
Gratitude is what I feel right now. I will pray God gives you that grace when you need it too. We will get there.