You know what’s mind boggling? It’s amazing how many “fish in the sea” out there are SO incompatible to me. Cheers to online dating and how much it totally shows you what you DON’T want. Haha! Yes, I have entertained the online world. I never thought I would. But I also never thought I would be a hundred things I am now: divorced, single, not on stage leading worship as often, alone, searching, crawling. Yeah, nothing in life is surefire. So take it from me: don’t put all your eggs in one typical expected basket. God has plenty of other baskets in mind.
But in all seriousness. It has been a whirlwind past couple months. I ended a relationship that I wished so deeply would work. I browsed others. I’ve experienced thought processes I never thought I would. I walked in the shoes of people I used to judge for years. (God kinda does that)
And the most daunting of it all, I had the overwhelming scary conversation with my daughter that I totally hoped wouldn’t come till like five years from now. Well no, it happened. In the car about two weeks ago. I am so grateful that I now understand God’s grace so much deeper that I could actually have a conversation about my husband’s decisions without a single bash at him. Let’s just say, that wasn’t completely me speaking throughout that conversation. That was a mix of my amazing counselor’s words of grace and wisdom, and God’s very obvious presence and words spoken through me.
I’m sure you’re curious how on earth I navigated that conversation. Well, in a grace-filled nutshell, I shared with my daughter a concept that was probably very foreign to other eight-year-old’s in the 50’s. I shared about the choices people make today to love whoever they want to love because they can’t help it, even though it’s nowhere near God’s original design for them. And I shared why God wants us to love through that. To love through our disagreement, through our pain, through our shock because in reality, that’s exactly what He would do if He were in our shoes. It doesn’t seem right to us, to the church, to my mother for that matter. LOL. But it’s who He is and if we claim we want to be like Him, it might take a little discomfort and offensive grace to get there.
Speaking of discomfort, for some reason, something hit me this morning.
I caught up with a precious friend this weekend. It was like an ordained conversation in the fabric isle of Hobby Lobby. (You never fail me Hobby Lobby. In more ways than one). I shared with her that I feel like I’ve been crawling. This valley is darker than I ever imagined it to be. I’ve become things I never thought I would be. This journey of divorce is lonely. Loneliness that one could never understand or relate to unless they’ve walked it. You don’t know where you belong anymore. And although you know you will belong again someday, right now, in this tunnel, you don’t have a place to belong. You’re just crawling, surviving, making mistakes and then experiencing little victories. But overall, it’s dark. And you wonder, how can God see me through this? He is light. I’m in the dark. I’m lost.
I’m trying to find my way, fighting off my flesh and moments of self-pity. Fighting off the anger of comments left and right from people who don’t have a clue what this is like. Pushing through the exhausting nights of single motherhood only to brush off the comments ringing in my ear – “You’re too nice to your kids,” “Really it takes you that long to get them to bed?” “They’re tramping all over you. Lay down the discipline. You won’t break them. Just do it.” And then there’s fighting off the temptation to settle and miss my destiny, because really, nothing ever turns out how you planned, anyways? Right? What’s the point?
Maybe He’ll meet me at the end of this. He’s loving enough to meet me at the end of this tunnel, but for Him to dwell here? That’s impossible.
And then, it hits me.
He never would have said He is the “light in the darkness” if He didn’t plan to be WITH me IN the darkness. He may be the light at the end of the tunnel, but He’s also the light IN the tunnel. He’s watching me crawl, settle, succumb to my flesh, fail, come up for breath, come back down and then come up again. And He’s walking it all out BESIDE me, not ahead of me. He’s not so “great” that He’s above this darkness and every ugly moment, but His patience is great enough that He will stay IN it with me.
Just like He endured the darkness of the Cross…He could have come above it. Because of course, He’s greater and stronger. But He endured right in the center of the darkness. He endured the whole process. And He’s enduring MY whole process for the sake of what comes next, with no judgement and condemnation along the way.
“…for the joy set before Him, He endured the cross…” Hebrews 12:1-2
He knows what is set before me. So He’s enduring everything it’s taking to refine me and get me there. I can’t wait to “see the light” at the end of this season. But what’s so unexpected is that I also see it NEXT to me…even in the darkest of moments – places where you think He would cringe and disappear; places where His holiness wouldn’t fit. And yet, He’s there. And He’s not going anywhere. Talk about a lesson in GRACE.