Hi friends. It's been a hot minute over here since my last post, and for that I am truly sorry. Somehow the months have gotten away from me, and now we're nearing the end of our short-lived Newfoundland summer. I've wanted to post, but it has been quite. the. year. and it's actually been quite a challenge to know where to jump in.
I think I've been holding onto the idea that I would post something again when I reached a point where I felt like things were resolved with my health, so I could turn the page on that chapter and just resume sharing photos of Walter and our weekend activities. But life is not neat and tidy like that, is it? The journey towards any kind of health is always ongoing.
So I believe the posts must go on (see above photo of Walter), despite the in-conclusion I'm still experiencing.
I was listening to a podcast the other day, one about relationships. The host was talking about seasons within marriage, and how he tries to view them all equally- some are more painful or easier or fuller or less memorable than others, but they all serve an important purpose in a different way. One is not more or less valuable, they're just different. When you remember that, you don't get caught up in wishing time away. It frees you up to experience gratitude for what you learn and take away from each season.
Perhaps that's the best way for me to put into words where I'm at currently.
In December, anxiety crept back into my life. I started worrying about what each day might bring and whether I could do another day like the last. I've experienced just how little control we actually have in life in a way that was almost foreign to me before I "got sick". It was jarring and I absolutely felt like the proverbial rug had been pulled out from underneath me. Didn't God know I had a PLAN to stick to, for goodness' sake? Goals and dreams that needed to be realized in this calendar year and could not possibly be pushed back?
So I dug my heels in. I cried. A LOT. I had meltdown after meltdown. I stewed and I overthought and I demanded that God tell me WHY this was happening. I tried to control my situation by researching my illness and trying every kooky home remedy on the internet in an attempt to heal my body. I spent so much of this year being stressed out, I am now suffering additional bodily repercussions months later. (side note: guys, no one is joking when they tell you how hard stress is on your body. Get yourself a yoga class or a meditating app, pronto.)
Since we're all friends here, I'm not going to lie. It's just been super, duper crappy.
Yet (PRAISE for the yet), all through that time, I experienced moments of God's grace that He never could have supplied to me in my times of joy and ease. If it were up to me it wouldn't take suffering to experience them, but His ways are indeed mysterious and it's not my job to know why He gives the way He does.
On the days when I'd had all I could take and could do nothing more than sob in a broken heap on the floor, He gave me my husband to love me and hold me and help bear my pain.
When I decided to cut out all kinds of foods to give my body time to heal, He helped me fight the daily and relentless temptation to continue my unhealthy eating habits and make positive changes I never would have if I hadn't arrived at a place of necessity.
When I felt so overwhelmed by fear of the future, He reminded me of verses like Deuteronomy 31:8 to memorize and speak over myself.
He gave me conversations with people who said exactly the right words at exactly the right time. He reminded me that there were people praying for me. He gave me moments and days of care-free fun; a trip to Florida, days at the cabin, evenings to escape with Netflix or a good book.
He even gave me Walter, the furry, sometimes turd-y, friend whose company I couldn't have known I'd need and love so much.
And He continues to provide for me with a deeper understanding that no matter what we face in this life, He is the one thing that is truly unshakeable and unchanging. I know that with my whole heart because He is close to the broken-hearted. I felt completely broken and at the end of myself, and then God showed me this was the only way for me to understand how much I needed Him and that when I am weak I am strong.
I wanted to wait to post until I could say I was out of the woods and that I had my life back. But here's the thing.
This is my life.
This is your life.
Sickness, crappy moods, anxiety, unfulfilled life goals, having to wait, being disappointed. These are all just parts of life and we don't always get to choose otherwise. I can't get back all the moments I spent working myself into a panic because things seemed to be taking a different trajectory than I'd hoped and planned. But going forward, I can accept each part without desperately fighting against them as though they're foreign and they don't belong here.
Yes, even our hard times, dare I say especially our hard times, serve a necessary and meaningful purpose to grow us into the people God has created us to be. As much as I wish there was a way we could learn these lessons without hardship, it just ain't so. Perhaps the downswings in life are intended to prepare us to experience the fullest joy in the soaring upswings.
I feel stronger than I did before I entered this season. I'm more hopeful. I'm more empowered, and I know God has GOT THIS because He's used my suffering to teach me so.
I don't have to understand, I don't have to come up with the answer, and I don't have to try to predict what might happen tomorrow. I just have to trust that He is working all things together for my (and your) good.
And He is.
Thank God for that.