On Life, Loss & the Blessings that come after Struggle
“I am leading you, step by step, through your life. Hold my hand in trusting dependence, letting me guide you through this day. Your future looks uncertain and feels flimsy – even precarious. That is how it should be. Secret things belong to the Lord, and future things are secret things. When you try to figure out the future, you are grasping at things that are Mine…” (from “Jesus Calling,” by Sarah Young)
I have lived enough years now to know that it is the times of struggle in my life that have produced the most growth and deep meaning. I have sifted and sorted these lessons over the years and believe that the call on my life is to be there for others who are in need of love and support. I try my best to be open to those that God puts in my path and to be of service where and when I can. I have found that serving others, rather than dwelling on myself, is what gives me life and brings me the most joy. I know that life is not about me. Rather, it is about how God uses me and the gifts He has given me to make someone else’s day brighter or to help show who He is. I am a work in progress. I trust that as each day goes by, God is changing me into the woman he intended me to become from the start, a woman more and more like Him. Simply put, He is the good in me. My hope comes from Him and not the world.
“Most humbling of all is to comprehend the lifesaving gift that your pit crew of people has been for you, and all the experiences you have shared, the journeys together… “ (from “Help, Thanks, Wow,” by Anne Lamott)
We all struggle with loss. Miscarriage took my baby and then twins. Cancer has taken my cousin and many friends, all way too young. A cancer diagnosis has threatened my mother, father, husband and dear ones. A genetic mutation took my toddler’s hearing. How do we deal with life when it is not fair? Sadness can overtake us at times. There are my burdens and then there are the burdens of those I know and love, which I also carry. How can we find meaning when we don’t understand? I have come to realize that there is no way I am ever going to understand the mysteries of God. I cannot see the bigger picture playing out like He can. I cannot fathom how He weaves our sorrows into greater good. Yet, I believe He does. I can only trust and know He is ultimately in control. This gives me peace, his peace that passes all understanding.
None of us can make it in this life alone. I look back at the many dark times I have lived through and instantly remember how my family and dear friends were right there beside me. This is one of the most precious gifts of life: the bonds of friendship strengthened by pain and suffering. Loved ones have comforted me and shown me how it is gracefully done. I am who I am because of the people who have invested in me and loved me. I have been brought to my knees over and over again by all kinds of prayers and have been shaped by heartache. I am a child of the Most High and there is no mistake in who I am or who I have met. I believe it all has a purpose. The more I open up, the more I know I am not alone. No matter what the hardship, others have been through it, or worse.
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” (2 Corinthians 1:3)
I know faith and trust have turned all this loss into something beautiful. God has used each and every story to build my life. I have learned that if you lead with your heart and are willing to be there for others who are going through hard times, it can change life for the better. This way of living can bring happiness that we could never plan or foresee. Sometimes our deepest passion comes out of our most devastating days. Now, I see the purpose for my life clearer than ever. God has given me a heart for the hurting. If I hadn’t been through tests and trials myself I would not know how to relate or what to do. My friends have taught me what it looks like to love someone through to the other side of sorrow. I am not scared or shy about reaching out to those who are suffering and offering what quiet help I can. I feel nudges all the time and I don’t even question if I should enter in. I know if I do, I am living out what I was created to do. It is usually hard and sad, but more importantly, it is also like spring after winter where beauty comes forth slowly but surely. The joy is mine and the blessings abound.
My words of wisdom: Live by faith and not by sight. Live one day at a time and if necessary one hour at a time. Remember, tomorrow is God’s secret.