I always try to write from my heart, a place where I’m real, but today…it’s going to be extra “raw.” I write from a place of pain. My heart aches excruciatingly. But deep inside, I know that it’s a “good pain.” I’m not an athlete, but I think those who are will be able to relate to this kind of pain.
Growing pains. Strengthening pains. And someday, I’ll be able to look back and call it “rewarding pains.”
It seems ironic that peace and pain can co-exist inside my heart…but this is not my first time.
The immediate example that comes to mind is the time I made the decision to leave California. If you had asked me if that was even a remote possibility one year before I made the decision, I would have told you, “No way. You’re crazy to even suggest that I’d ever leave California. This is my home. This is the home of people that I love. This is where most of my friends are.” Yet, in His small still voice, God told me that it was time to let go. As I type this and remember the experience, it still brings me to tears. It was by far one of the most difficult decisions I ever had to make. As painful as it was – and walking through that decision was even more painful – I had peace, deep in my heart, that it was the right decision.
I had to walk out in faith…that indeed God had spoken to me and that it was the best decision for my life. I was not able to know then what I know now. I had no idea what my life in Florida will look like in one year…in five years…in ten years. In fact, my 10th anniversary from the big move will be this coming August. I look back in awe. God, You are SO good, and SO faithful. I am in tears (again) for a different reason. I am overwhelmed by the thought of how much I would have missed out on, had I not followed God’s lead because it was going to be too painful for me. I look at my husband of almost seven years…I can’t imagine life without him by my side. I look at the faces of my two little girls…they wouldn’t have existed!
How joyful are those who fear the Lord—
all who follow his ways!
You will enjoy the fruit of your labor.
How joyful and prosperous you will be!
Your wife will be like a fruitful grapevine,
flourishing within your home.
Your children will be like vigorous young olive trees
as they sit around your table.
That is the Lord’s blessing
for those who fear him.
Psalm 128:1-4 NLT
Now, I find myself in another season of “growing pains.” Another season of “labor” as the psalmist puts it above. My heart aches and the tears won’t stop. But deep inside, I have peace.
It was a little over a month ago that I claimed this was going to be a year of being Truthful – to who God has made me, to what God has placed on my heart, and to what God has called me to do.
I’m glad He didn’t give me a preview of what just the first month of 2013 was going to look like. If He did, I would have undoubtedly chosen a different word. God has definitely provided me with ample opportunities to put myself to the test in this area. I’ve had to choose what’s right over what’s easy. I’ve had to choose to be truthful over being agreeable. I’ve had to speak the truth, in love and grace, even if doing so meant causing a rift, or a ripple, in my “perfect world.” It also has meant that I can no longer appear “perfect” in other people’s eyes. It has meant opening way to some criticism or disagreement. It has meant giving room to being misunderstood or misperceived. Again, it’s only been the first month, and I can’t believe in how many areas this word truthful had to apply…in friendships, with family, and in our adoption process.
These words have brought encouragement as I have been learning to walk out of my comfort zone:
Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church.
“Criticism is the cost of influence.” – Rick Warren
“If you do things God’s way, He will give you double for your trouble.” – Joyce Meyer
For the Lord God is our sun and our shield.
He gives us grace and glory.
The Lord will withhold no good thing
from those who do what is right.
O Lord of Heaven’s Armies,
what joy for those who trust in you.
-Psalm 84:11-12 NLT
I wouldn’t be lying if I said I’m a little scared of what the rest of the year holds for me. But I choose His way, over and over again. I choose to trust Him. I believe, with all my heart, that in ten years (or even less), I will look back on this season and say to myself, “Wow, look at all that I would have missed out on…had I not followed God’s lead because it was going to be too painful for me.” I believe that I will look back and see how much I was able to grow in Christ, how much God had increased His sphere of influence through my life, and how much good I was able to receive…all because I chose to answer His call to be truthful.
No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good,
and this is what he requires of you:
to do what is right, to love mercy,
and to walk humbly with your God.
-Micah 6:8 NLT