Pain can either be the most useful or most useless part of your life. It all depends on how much you trust God in it.
I wrote the phrase above in a blog post from last September. I had just gone through the refiner’s fire. Looking back I wonder how I got from that day to where I am now. Something changed. I forgot that I had surrendered. I took back control of all of those things I released. Or maybe it’s that I never fully gave it up. It pains me to think I have to continue to learn this lesson the hard way. I become angry when I know change and growth have occurred in my soul but I can’t see it.
And therein lies my problem.
I can’t currently see. I’ve been living by sight, not by faith. When things get dark, I panic.
Today I opened my hands and my heart. I told God I was ready to release my grip on all that I hold dear. Everything I have based my identity in. Everyone who I have allowed to validate me in unhealthy ways. This morning I stood at the edge of the hardwood floor where the kitchen meets the outside deck of the cabin I’m staying at. On the side I was standing at is a space where I have allowed my dignity to be abused and taken away. There is fear and pain and I’m exhausted from it all. On the other side is love. There is hope. My dignity is held intact. I can call out lies and exercise my right to walk away from unhealthy relationships and situations. There is freedom.
I stood on the side I’ve been standing on for, well, years. I cried, I yelled at God, I tried to compromise. But then I let go. I opened my hands and I walked across the line. As silly as it may sound, physically walking over the line dividing the two rooms was so freeing. I stood on the outside deck and looked back. I suddenly experienced a new freedom I haven’t felt in a long time. If I really say that I want to live a life of love, not fear than I need to be taking steps to get there. I’m painfully realizing that in order to love God and love others well, I have to first learn to love myself. I have to love myself enough to walk away, to take time and rest, to put my needs before others sometimes, to value the woman God created me to be.
There are several things I am holding in my hands. But I no longer clench my fists and pray God gets tired before I do. I willingly am holding onto these things lightly, hands open. God may take it all away. He may reshape each to look completely different and new. I have no idea. But at this moment I am choosing to trust Him. I want to live walking by faith, not by sight. All that I have held onto and tried to control I’ve done so that I don’t lose sight of any of it. But in the process I’ve lost sight of Jesus. My vision is no better and my faith is wavering.
I will walk by faith, even when I cannot see. Because this broken road prepares your will for me. I’m broken, but I still see your face.
I think of these lyrics often. They hit something deep within my spirit. It’s dark all around me, and I’m sure it’s going to get a bit darker, but I feel Him.
I trust Him again. Even in the darkness.