...my life has undergone a great deal of change in a short period of time.
Certainly, not all of it was positive.
Undeniably, not all of it was negative.
There has been pain.
There has been sadness.
There has been joy.
There has been gratitude.
There have been blessings.
There has been beauty gracing the pain.
Despite what I have been experiencing that has caused me to register definite pain, I cannot say that it has been a wholly dark time.
God's grace has been sufficient.
It always is.
I couldn't always say this deeply from my heart (vs. on cognitive, chosen faith alone) because in earlier years, I didn't know how or I wasn't yet willing or I didn't yet have the pain threshold to keep my heart open to God during such a change.
The key to transforming a trial so that it makes me stronger and makes me grow is not to clam up. That is the secular, sad, self-reliant method that ultimately implodes. I've tried it. I don't recommend it. I feel like I lost years that I could have been much closer to God because of having flung myself on that option.
The key to transforming a trial so that it changes me for the better is to - in private with God and always in my heart where no one else can see it - keep the lines of communication open with Him and never stop praying for Him to knock walls of mistrust down that I know I have and to keep them knocked down. The key is to know that the trial is too big for me alone.
God can handle the big stuff and I can't and that is okay.
Look at the Psalms. God can take any emotion I have to give. He doesn't want me to only give Him the emotions I think are sanctified and worshipful. He loves even the parts of me that are broken. Not because they're broken, but because they are part of me...and God loves me. His love for my broken parts doesn't mean they're going to stay broken. It means I don't have to fix them before I can have the transforming, unhinging, beautifully shattering experience that He loves me personally and passionately in my fullest, fullest, most overwhelming form that nobody else can stand or fully understand.
God loves me in my fullest form.
He has experienced all of who I am.
He understands all of who I am.
And He loves me all.
And nobody can touch it.
No one and nothing outside of my choice to trust can change or hurt my knowledge of this Love.
You see, I need that experiential knowledge of His intense love for me - I need to have a guttural trust that His unbelievable love and that our relationship is real and that I matter to Him and the promises of Scripture apply to me personally - because it pours a warming strength into me that loosens what rusted shut and gives me courage to both embrace growth and uproot sin in the abandoned places of my soul that I once poured acidic self-loathing on and walked away from.
Experiencing that I have a safe haven in God's unbelievable but utterly real, life-changing and personal love for me no matter what is going on makes whatever is going on bearable...and even graced.
The miracle is not that bad things don't happen.
It's that not only can we heal from bad things but that peace beyond our understanding and inexplicable beauty can coexist with suffering.
It's not unnatural.
And it's available.