How do days long past, sometimes seem so recent and familiar? We close our eyes and there we are, right back in a sketch of a moment that changed everything…
For me, it was a key season in life that hadn’t turned out like I had planned over nineteen years ago. I was mommying three sons and one daughter under the age of seven and was twenty-nine years old. We had just made our second tedious cross-country move to balmy south Florida for a ministry position. Our snug little blue Dodge Caravan wrapped our family tight. Even sloshing fish in our tank survived the trip. The Christian college students from the university anticipated our arrival, ready and willing to unpack our boxes and eat pizza in an uneven exchange for their help. This new season brought with it a beautiful new home, a new church family, and a new beautiful ministry. I had more than I could have ever hoped for. After the boxes were unpacked and all the kids’ belongings were stowed away though, the adrenaline drained from my body. I soon began to feel lonely amongst the bustle of our household. I felt like I had lost control of all my preconceived plans and I wasn’t thankful.
Instead of feeling joy, I allowed myself to slip into a cloud of restless homesickness and self-centeredness. If I felt angry, everyone in my family knew it. Tears poured from my eyes like a faucet often. Our beautiful home shaded by lit palm trees offered a spectacular view but it didn’t satisfy me either. I wanted more, something to fill the void within my longing heart. I wanted the best friend I left behind in the Midwest. I wanted her as my neighbor and our plans to work out. I wanted my family near. I wanted familiarity. I wanted comfort. I pouted long and hard. I felt like I had been tricked. I would question myself and replay everything while lying in bed at night. I felt somewhere along the way, I lost sight of my true identity and reason for moving to Florida. At some point, I felt embarrassed for my naivety and the poor example to my family. As a pastor’s wife, I honestly began to doubt God’s care. Deep shame set in. In a darkened bedroom while my husband slept, I didn’t resist the lure towards an idea that my family could live just fine without me. I didn’t fight the concept, I played with it for a little while. I wasn’t in a good place and I knew it.
But God…He didn’t hate me or let go. He reminded me in the darkness, He loved me and held the plan for my life. He reminded me I had a purpose, a hope, and a future in Him. The clarity of His voice drew me back from something I hadn’t known how to guard against. I was a weak girl but God wasn’t weak at all.
“Go into your closet and read from Proverbs,” I remember perceiving one morning. Proverbs. I hadn’t read from that book of the Bible much, or read anything alone in my closet before. Why would God want me to read in the closet? I questioned. But, I went the first morning and closed the door behind me. Then, thirty more mornings after that, I returned again and again surrounded by hung clothes and piles of shoes. I read the Proverbs and began the habit of seeking the Lord in prayer every day. Soon, I cherished our moments alone before scampering children leapt into my unmade bed. It became my very own private place with God.
He broke me in that closet and shattered every wild idea, every out of line thought and feeling–they were all destroyed. I changed, I surrendered my will and my old plans in that closet. They all fell to the floor. Through the word of God, new living tools were placed inside me to utilize. Even though the enemy had a plan to steal, kill, and destroy God’s plan for me–God held one far better for my life. He wanted to make me alive and new. He revived my heart and mind in that closet. It’s where the idols I had created died and God saved my life.
2 Timothy says–
“If we died with him we will also live with him;
if we endure, we will also reign with him.
If we disown him, he will also disown us;
if we are faithless, he will remain faithful,
for he cannot disown himself.”
I’ll always remember this critical growth spurt season–how I came to my senses, grief found true comfort, loneliness found an eternal relationship, hopelessness found lasting hope, and darkness became light. I’m thankful to say, I’m no longer that same weak girl but now by His grace, clothed in the strength of God Almighty for His purpose and pleasure.
- Which season are you in right now–one of hiding in weakness or one of seeking His strength?
- What are some things God’s asking you to do in faith?
“Strengthen the feeble hands, steady the knees that give way, say to those with fearful hearts, “Be strong, do not fear; your God will come, he will come with vengeance; with divine retribution he will come to save you.”
Then will the eyes of the blind be opened and the ears of the deaf unstopped. Then will the lame leap like a deer, and the mute tongue shout for joy. Water will gush forth in the wilderness and streams in the desert. The burning sand will become a pool, the thirsty ground bubbling springs. In the haunts where jackals once lay, grass and reeds and papyrus will grow. And a highway will be there; it will be called the Way of Holiness. The unclean will not journey on it; it will be for those who walk in that Way; wicked fools will not go about on it. No lion will be there, nor will any ferocious beast get up on it; they will not be found there. But only the redeemed will walk there, and the ransomed of the Lord will return. They will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads. Gladness and joy will overtake them, and sorrow and sighing will flee away.”