Time heals all things.” We say and hear this phrase often and it provides us with a glimmer of hope and promise. Hope that discouraging situations will improve. Hope that negative things will come to past. But the truth is, time does not heal all things. Jesus does.
Over the past few days, I have been reflecting on how this truth has played out in my own life. Two years ago this time, I was living for me. My dreams and desires, my will and my way. Sure, I knew the Lord, but I could wait a little longer to fully commit, right? That is what I thought, until God stopped me dead in my tracks. I recently saw a quote that said “You don’t know God is all you need until God is all you’ve got.” It took a humbling experience to show me what that quote is all about.
It was December of 2013. Like any normal year, I was getting into the holiday spirit. Frantically shopping for the perfect gifts, enjoying holiday parties and celebrations, getting the house cozy and “Christmasy”, and making plans with loved ones. All was joy and folly until a wrench was thrown in the plans that I had for my life. Over the span of a few hours, my reality switched from holiday cheer to an officer standing before me to deliver bad news that I prayed was not true, “I’m sorry.” My world stopped. My joy was instantly annihilated. There was no way it could be true that the guy I had grown to love and given all of my heart and time to decided that this life was not worth living.
It was as if time stopped. Just ten days before Christmas, holiday preparations were replaced by funeral preparations. The special gifts I bought for him became meaningless accessories, and the time I planned to spend joyfully with loved ones turned into time spent shedding tears and soaking up encouragement from my closest friends and family. I looked at the world around me. Other young people were enjoying the prime of dating, marriage, and starting families. Why did God choose me, a 22 year old, to lose love so unexpectedly and tragically? Why did he choose me to suffer this sadness and embarrassment. There were so many questions and for the first time in my life, I had no answers. Not one. I could not explain what I did not understand.
I fell at the feet of the Lord in prayer and soaked the pages of my Bible on countless nights with my tears. One night as I was reading Proverbs, the words resonated with me in a way they never had before.
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight.” Proverbs 3:5-6.
After sinking into the depths of my own emotions, I eventually realized that there was no way I could ever understand. Sometimes we drive ourselves crazy trying to understand God’s plans for this rollercoaster we call life. We hold on to the guilt and the “whys” from the past and we dwell on the uncertainties and “what ifs” of the future. All the while, God is giving our anxious hearts reassurance to trust his plan. Whether or not we choose to seek His guidance is up to us. Everything is not meant to be understood. Every ending is not meant to be happy. And most of life’s questions do not have answers. It stinks to accept this sometimes. But you know what makes it better? Trusting that the Lord will see you through any and every circumstance, no matter how ugly or unpleasant.
I decided to choose an attitude of joy to help me cope. I looked around at all of the beautiful things that remained in my life. I decided to live my life for Him, with the realization that He is the ONLY constant. During the quiet moments of grieving, when friends and family have to go about their business, you are left alone in the presence of the Lord. Yep, just you and Him with no distractions. And He is ready to listen if you call on Him for help. We can choose to be silent and stubborn. Or we can choose to cast all of our cares on Him. People will leave you temporarily and permanently, and when that happens, God is always ready to embrace you with open arms and ears.
As I accepted gratitude and faithfulness as a lifestyle, I began to notice my life taking a turn for the best. Although it felt like my life was in shambles because of the loss, the Lord gradually began to put the pieces back together. And in the midst of it all, he made my story more beautiful than it was before:
Acceptance into graduate school, followed by gaining new, forever friends with beautiful souls in my grad program. He gave me a church family of people who I have grown to love like real family. And He gave me the chance to love again- this time with the perfect man who understood and accepted my brokenness. A man who even after years of living without his parents, models the perfect example of choosing joy in the midst of unfathomable losses. A man who only makes me cry when I am laughing too hard at one of his jokes.
And here I stand, two years later. Same old me, but a brand new outlook on life and priorities. There are still some things I will never understand, but you know what? I’m okay with that. We have to trust the Savior with all of our heart and all of our mind.
Your story probably looks a lot different than mine. But I am willing to bet that there is something in your life that needs healing. Maybe it is regret. Maybe it is constant worry over a mistake you made. Maybe it is feeling rejected by something or someone. Or maybe you have yet to experience these things. Trust me when I say that there will come a time, my friend. And when that time comes, the Father will be waiting for you to turn to him for comfort. And just like that, a story can go from broken to beautiful.
“The LORD is my strength and my shield; My heart trusts in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart exults, And with my song I shall thank Him.” Psalm 28:7
Sending Holiday Blessings to you all.
Remain Hopeful. Stay Anchored. Refuse to Sink.