Wandering in the wilderness can be lonely at times. The wilderness can be dark and terrifying and at other times it is eerily quiet. Even the melody of your soul seems non-existent. You know it's there but you just can't quite find the right notes. You begin to sing and somehow you're singing in a different key. The wrong key.
You wonder why it seems like everything is falling apart when you've been searching for the right thing. You wonder where God is when He's the one you've been searching for. You wonder why it feels like you've been left on your own. Left with no answers. Left with no direction. Left with no connection of any kind.
All you have is the cup of regret that no one wants to share with you. A cup filled with bitter tears.
Trying to navigate my way through the wilderness with regret and bitterness as my companions has proven to be difficult. When I feel like I get some kind of handle on Grace, some glimpse of Hope, bitterness rears it's ugly head. Reminding me of the ways I've been wronged and how I'm entitled to be vindicated.
And I have believed those lies.
Those lies that come from the deepest places of hurt. Those deep, dark places that I haven't let anyone see. No one, especially not God. Those places that I haven't wanted to even admit exist. Because how can anyone still love me if I let them see the parts of me that I won't acknowledge?
And that's the lie that has kept me in this darkness. Broken and bleeding. The broken pieces of me like glass embedded at the top of the wall around my heart. Sure that they will keep me safe. Keep me from being hurt. But those shards have cut those who are closest to me the most. Fear and pride keeping me from seeing the affect I was having on those around me.
The enemy whispering all the while that I was entitled. Entitled to hold on to those hurts. Entitled to my bitterness. Entitled to my darkness. Entitled to wear my brokenness like a badge of honor.
And there in the darkest night of the soul...His grace found me.
And it wasn't at all where you would think it would be. It wasn't in church. It wasn't during prayer or quiet time. It wasn't in a bible study or small group meeting. It happened on a Sunday afternoon at Olive Garden. There were three of us. My oldest and dearest friend from high school and a new friend I had only met the previous Friday. It was there at a table covered in dirty dishes that Grace found me. As I sat with tears streaming down my face, these friends spoke truth into my life. Not the easy, yes you were right it's everyone else's fault, kind of truth. It was the hard truth. The truth we so often run from because that kind of truth shows us things about ourselves we don't want to see. The kind of truth that reaches the deepest, darkest places. The kind of truth that exposes the hidden things we haven't been willing or able to let go of.
In the days since, many tears have been shed. Tears for my hurts. Tears for the hurts I have caused. Tears for things that should have been. And tears for things that might not ever be. Tears that filled those deep, dark places. Tears that have softened the hard edges of hurt and regret.
That's the beauty of Grace. Grace manages to find us in the most unexpected places. Grace always meets us exactly where we need it the most. And even when we have to face the hard things, Grace is always gentle. Grace is always about love. Grace is always about change. It's Grace that makes our brokenness beautiful. It's Grace that puts us back together slowly, carefully, piece by small piece. Thankfully, Grace never leaves us as it finds us.
"I wish grace and healing were more abracadabra kind of things.
Also, that delicate silver bells would ring to announce grace's arrival.
But no, it's clog and slog and scootch, on the floor, in the silence, in the dark."
Grace (Eventually): Thoughts on Faith