In spite of this, you did not trust in the Lord your God,
~Deuteronomy 1:32 (NIV)~
I didn’t go on a trip, at least not one that I had planned or looked forward to going on. What I did was to embark on a more than forty year journey around the mountain, passing by the same few spots at least a dozen times as I struggled to figure out just where in the world I was and where I was headed. As I am sitting here on the eve of my 43rd birthday, listening to my favorite program in the background, I am filled with an almost unexplainable sense of anxiety blended with an immeasurable peace that I have never experienced before. I think, for the first time in my life, I know that God really has me in the palm of His hand and this is both comforting and terrifying at the same time.
This past week was very difficult. For about a year and a half, my ex-husband and I had been battling in court over the custody of our daughter. We both love her very much, but we have very different ways of showing this. And in my stubbornness, I failed to see that although we are walking in different directions, we may very well eventually end up at the same destination. Seeing things through my own eyes led me to believe that someone else’s obstacles and challenges were actually sitting in the middle of my path to God and that simply isn’t true.
Where I am meant to walk to get to my God is not where my ex-husband is meant to walk and his path is not my path. God brought us together to make our daughter and we are both given the task of loving her and showing her how to get to Him. There are times when one of us may get down the road a little more quickly than the other and times when one of us may completely lose direction, but we both have the same job to do and the same opportunity to do it. So, I was hit in the face with the reality that I cannot control his walk any more than he can control mine. And it stung.
I loved my husband dearly when we were together, but the devil saw an opportunity to rip two people to shreds and he jumped on it. We were not in church when we got together and as a result, our marriage was built on absolutely nothing but our flawed ideas about love and commitment. So when the storms came, they basically blew us apart. And we never found each other again. Eleven years of my life and one beautiful daughter later, we each found ourselves struggling to present the picture of a whole parent to her when we both must have been so broken that it was obvious to her we were missing some vital pieces.
I am divorced. I do not like divorce. I do not wish to ever be divorced from anyone again. And it hurts so much that sometimes I’m not sure I ever want to be married again. The pain of getting over someone that was the center of your world for so long is at times, unbearable. And though I don’t want to retrace those steps with him, I do feel immense regret and sorrow for the loss. The loss of relationship, the loss of trust, the loss of hope, peace, and of course, the loss of love. There is no real recovery from this. All you can do is press on and realize that the core issue was that the wrong thing was at the center of your life and as a result, what you thought meant the world was what was actually keeping you from truly loving. We cannot place our hope and our trust in a person and expect never to be disappointed or hurt. The only way that we can love someone deeply and mean it is if that love if filtered through our undying devotion to our Lord, Jesus Christ. We must love Him first if we are to love at all. Instead, we often filter our love for Christ through how others treat us…giving Him credit when they get it right and blaming Him when they don’t. This is not how it is supposed to be.
So, I have been in a period of deep reflection and I see that the only way I am going to reach the light is to fully allow it to dwell in me. I absolutely must stop hanging on to what hurt me in the past and ideas about what I believe will hurt me in the future. Christ is the only way for me to do this. I have said in prayer many times, “Lord, I give it all to You.” But then I held onto it anyway. I failed to trust that He really wants to take my burdens and give me rest. For years, I have spoken to Him, pleaded with Him and cried to Him about what has hurt me and He’s patiently been listening. He has provided me with many clues to His existence. In every blessing, I catch a glimpse of His face and can almost hear Him say, “Everything is going to be alright.” And while I believe in Him, sometimes I just won’t allow myself to believe Him.
All of my wrestling with purpose and striving to become what He wants me to be will bear no fruit if I don’t truly trust in what He is showing me and what He is telling me. So, today I set down my baggage. I have decided to not only hand over the reins, but to turn off my own GPS in favor of listening to His instructions. He has been this way before and He was actually paying attention during His journey. That’s why He is God and I am not. So, for the next leg of this journey I will not pass by the way that I came. I’m following Him from here on out.
Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.
~James 1:22 NIV~