[There were so many immature titles I wanted to give todays post, but I restrained myself. Now if I can manage the same amount of self restraint throughout the entire post I’ll be really impressed as I feel like throwing a temper tantrum on the year as a whole. Read at your own risk.]
I see so many people posting on social media their fond memories of 2015 and thankfulness for another great year. While I am grateful for their cheer I cannot share in it. This one was a doozy for me. And it started off really well…
Remember when I restarted this blog? I said I was starting from the bottom. Well, I’m still at the bottom but gradually, very gradually, taking tiny steps up. The cliché says, “Hindsight is always 20/20” and I could make the argument that so is rock bottom. From here you can take a good look around and gather much from the experiences you gained in the fall. So as I’ve sat down here for a while now taking register of my life and year, especially as this year draws to a close, I’ve realized that 2015 was a year of learning.
I learned what it felt like to watch someone you love deeply die slowly and painfully. I learned what the trauma of such a loss can do to a family in the darkest sense. This year taught me how hard it is for my three little nephews to process their dad being lost to them forever and how unable I am to fill the void left in the heart of my widowed sister. I learned what it was to watch my parents suffer debilitating job losses and live on nothing but faith for two whole years, while losing everything in the process. I learned what it felt like to walk in on the man you loved in bed with another woman. I learned how far people will go to lie and deceive to get what they want. I learned how weak and masochistic the human heart can be. I learned who my real friends were by who stood by me in the darkest times; the number is staggeringly small. I learned that people find it hard to believe that pretty girls who smile may actually be full of sorrows and most people don’t want to know the truth. I learned that suicide is never the answer, even though there are times you’re sure it’ll offer something better than remaining here. I learned that with every blow, Satan was right there waiting with the temptation of sin and doubt to whisk me away to his world. I learned that taking him up on his temptations was easier than hoping in a God I no longer trusted. I saw myself act and think in ways I never thought possible. And I learned that I, too, could fall. The list could continue…
But fall I did. Trusting God I stopped. And that’s the brutal truth.
I fell in and out of the worst depressions and seasons of disillusionment I have ever experienced. When the dust began to settle near the end of the year I finally had the revelation that most astounded me: I didn’t trust God. It set off a chain of thought that caused me to question whether I had ever really trusted Him at all. But all I was completely certain of was that I didn’t trust him with my heart and life presently. How could I trust Someone who sat back and let hell itself loose in such terrible ways on so many people I loved? Aren’t You supposed to protect us from this? What are the benefits of being your child if pain and suffering is all we experience for months or years on end? Your Presence would at least make the suffering tolerable, but You took that away too….why? I’ve loved and served you for years and this is what I get? Where did You go? Why did you stop speaking? Why did You go at all? Why didn’t my tears and screams move Your heart? Why did you let this happen?
And then I heard it. “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?”
“My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” -Matthew 27:46
I don’t have all the answers. Hell, I don’t have any answers to my questions yet. What I do have is that verse. That verse that expresses the exact same pain, desperation, confusion, and sorrow that I have felt for two years now. And those words were spoken out of the mouth of the Son of God; Jesus Himself. I can’t begin to imagine knowing what was going through His mind in those moments but the Bible does tell me that He was in all ways tempted just as we are. I wonder if, in those moments, He was tempted to doubt, question, or distrust His own Father as I have in this season. I don’t know. None of us do. But His honest words have been my great comfort. The most important person in the universe gets me at least.
The Father truly is a mystery. He moves in ways I cannot understand. Just look at the story of Job. But like Job in all his suffering, I have to have time to process and ask my hard questions of God. My hope and prayer is that I reach a place where I exhaust myself with questions and finally admit, “though you slay me, yet will I trust You.” I’m not there yet.
If you’ve had a year filled with joy, love, and blessing don’t take it for granted. Savor it to the fullest. To those of you who have gone through hell, I’m right there with you. Let yourself rest and begin again. Ask the hard questions. Don’t run from pain. Stare it in the face until you’re no longer afraid of it. Scream and go a little crazy from time to time! And most importantly, learn. Learn from what the year has tried to teach you. Maybe, like me, all your prayers have managed to be for the last year are the words, “help me.” That’s okay. You may not trust God right now (and you certainly don’t trust yourself), but you haven’t lost Him. You’ve not walked away from Him entirely. He’s still got you. You’re still His. He will see you through this. And He is still good. I remind myself of this every day.
Together you and me will overcome and we’ll be better than the people we were before these trials hit.
So, 2016. I look to you with hope. I look forward to all the learning I’ve done actually amounting to something. I look forward to new opportunities, new friends, and new challenges that I am more equipped to handle than ever before. I look forward to meeting and knowing God in an entirely new way. I look forward to good happening to my family. It might be the same old, bitter and embattled me coming into a new year, but I want new. I want change. As for 2015, you can go screw yourself. And that’s how I choose to end this post. 🙂
Tomorrow we start fresh,