This year has had one distinct and crushing theme.
I have made a terrible habit of ignoring the still-small voice inside of me, what some might refer to as “women’s intuition” but I believe to be the Spirit of God. And because of my dangerous insistence on second guessing my gut instincts I have allowed an unnecessary amount of heartbreak to infiltrate my family and tear apart our foundation.
I am broken.
I recently turned 33. The age my father was when he passed. The age my mother was when she suffered her miscarriage. The age Jesus was when he was crucified.
There is a theme there. And it is death.
A forced change in its most unpleasant form.
These past few months have been the hardest of my life. I am being forced to change, to reevaluate, to allow parts of myself to die.
And it is beautiful.
I know I will look back on this time as the turning point. The time when everything had to get a whole lot worse before it got better.
I have been betrayed and broken in a very public and heartbreaking way. The people I held closest to me have turned their backs and it hurts.
Damn it all, it hurts so bad.
And yet. I have been surrounded by others who didn’t have to show me kindness, but did anyway.
I bask in that beauty.
Folks have stepped into my mess of a life without concern for how it might affect them and spoke truth to me,
I am forever grateful.
I have received books, and emails. Coffee and HUGE donuts.
I have had tragic phone calls, and home visits with my counselor.
(you know your broken when your counselor will drive two hours to your home just to talk you down from the ledge.)
I haven’t felt, until now, that I had the ability to write or share anything about all this. I didn’t trust myself to be civil for one. (Lets be honest, I wrote plenty. But praise Jesus, I’ve been able to gather myself before sharing any of it.)
But I also wanted to wait until this shame had passed from me. Share my story from an already redeemed platform.
No longer broken.
But I am not.
I believe I am slowly working towards it, but I am definitely still raw. Vulnerable and exposed,
but clinging to hope.
There’s a verse in Psalms 84: 5-7 that my pastor spoke on this past Sunday:
“Blessed are those whose strength is in you,
whose hearts are set on pilgrimage.
6 As they pass through the Valley of Baca,
they make it a place of springs;
the autumn rains also cover it with pools.[d]
7 They go from strength to strength,
till each appears before God in Zion.”
Valley of Baca can also be read as “valley of weeping” and I feel like these words were written for me. As I pass through this dark valley, on my pilgrimage to a new life, I am filled with sorrow but I find myself surrounded by deep wells of love. The rain has washed away all that needs to die but has filled in the aching empty spaces with living water.
I too move from strength to strength. Surviving on the hope-filled moments in order to weather the next down turn. Clinging to my faith like a shield to protect me during this time of weeping.
This valley is cold, and I am broken.
But there is always hope.