I apologize that it’s been so long since I’ve posted and I apologize if this post is super lengthy and long-winded. I hope you hang with me and read what I have to say.
I’m not sure how many of you are familiar with the idea/thought/belief that we go through mountaintops and valleys in life. If you’re not familiar, it’s pretty much the idea that we cycle through periods of high times where things really seem are going our way or low times when thing are just though and hard. I think if we were all honest with ourselves, we’d all agree that we do cycle through high times and low times, mountaintops and valleys…. And lemme tell ya, I am in a valley. The past six months have probably been the hardest six months of my life.
The Downward Descent
My downward descent into my valley really started after my recent breakup. The details of the breakup aren’t really important, but the loss of the relationship was really the catalyst. All of sudden, I felt like the future I once envisioned had evaporated in one night and that scared me. I felt really lost, really confused, and extremely alone. It was/is probably one of the most painful experiences of my life and I felt crushed by the pain I was feeling. Actually, I really wallowed and stayed in the pain for a good two months. It really took my mom and best friend having a long conversation (separately, I did not have an intervention…haha) with me about how I had changed and wasn’t acting like myself anymore before I would even acknowledge the pain I was feeling.
Pastor Rick Warren recently finished a sermon series regarding pain following the death of his son, Matthew, who struggled with mental illness. It is a really powerful sermon series and I’m still finishing it, but I love what he says about pain. He says, “I can endure pain if I see a purpose in it.”
The Purpose In My Pain
I’m still in a tough period in my life, but I’m at a point where God is really teaching me so much and after a lot of prayer, I am finally seeing the purpose in my pain…so here goes.
1. It’s just me and Jesus. I could stop after this point because this is by far the most important thing I’m learning. Sometimes it takes losing everything else we cling to in our lives and go through a world of pain before we realize…it’s just God and I. I cannot move beyond him. I cannot replace him. No job success, man’s love, relationship, money, house, car, etc. is going to let me move beyond that because those things will never completely fill me. A husband, boyfriend (not a husband and boyfriend at the same time…hello, nothing scandalous from this girl), friend, parent, co-worker, will fail me and I will fail them…because I’m imperfect. The only person that is capable of never letting me down is Jesus because he’s the only perfect person in my life. It only makes sense that I find my joy, happiness, and contentment in the only person that is capable of giving perfect love.
2. Therapy is so, so, so good. My endocrinologist and parents have been telling to me talk to someone since I was diagnosed with diabetes two years ago. It took me finally acknowledging my struggles this summer before I actually went to therapy. I love therapy. I know that to some people it might be a sign of weakness or a taboo or whatever, but I don’t care. It has been one of the biggest blessings in my life. I am so grateful to have an unbiased, trained, knowledgeable Christian, to help me process life. tI know for me personally, I get cannot see the forest beyond the trees and when I sit down and talk to him, he can see the forest and help me see beyond the trees.
3. I am better having loved and lost. If you’ve even read this far, you’re probably thinking gross….vomit…cliché statement, and I was right there with you a few months ago, but luckily God has changed my heart and perspective. First, I am thankful for the love I shared and received with this person because it taught me what it feels like to really be in love. Never again, will I question “am I really in love?” I am now intimately familiar with the joys and pains that come from loving somebody.
Second, like I said above, sometimes it takes losing something so important to you for you to realize that we have nothing apart from Christ. I love the way an article on Desiring God’s website phrases it…”when one prize is stripped away, we can graciously be reminded of how little we have apart from Christ and the fortune he’s purchased for us with his blood.”
That same article says it better than I ever could…”In Jesus, God is always and only doing good to you. There’s no circumstance facing you that he’s not engineering to give you deep and durable life and freedom and joy. He loves our lasting joy in him much more than he loves our temporary comfort today. He’ll make that trade any day, and we can be glad he does. Know that God is doing good, even when we feel worst.”
I guess the reason why I’m sharing all of this with you all is because I don’t want to waste my pain. I want to use what God is teaching me through my pain to help others. To quote Pastor Rick Warren again…”Don’t waste your pain; let God heal it, recycle it, utilize it and use it to bless other people,”
He said. “Use your pain as a model for your message and a witness to the world. But to touch other people, you need to be honest—with God, yourself and others—and you need to be vulnerable”
So here I am, being vulnerable and honest with you all. I’ve been honest with God, friends, my family and myself and now it’s your turn. I’m still in the valley. To paraphrase Rick Warren again, Psalm 23:4 refers to walking through the valley of the shadow of death…but the thing about a shadow is that it needs light. So I’m just focusing on the light until I’m out of the shadow. I’m not on a mountaintop, but I have faith that I will not stay in this valley because my God is faithful…one day at a time.