I had the best conversation today.
It was with a young girl, 19 years old. Beautiful as can be with one of the most radiant smiles I’ve ever seen.
As we chatted and shared stories, I knew I was going to love this girl. We talked about family, faith and friends. We laughed about how we are both the only “normal” ones in our own families. Her eyes looked sad when I talked about divorce and then mine returned that sadness as she shared about her own broken background.
It was a great reminder to me that we are all broken people. I would have never guessed in a million years the things that this pretty little thing has been through in her short lifetime. I’m embarrassed to admit that sometimes I get so caught up in my own circumstances that I forget that other people are hurting too.
Although we shared a lot of crazy, sad and terrible stories, it wasn’t like a pity party at all. It was more like a celebration. It was an “oh my gosh, your life sucks sometimes too!” party. It was fun and refreshing and I am thankful for this new friendship since I’ll be spending lots of time with her during her internship at Kensington.
During our talk, she made a comment about what a rough year this has been for me. And without even thinking about it, I replied that this has been one of the best years of my life.
I COULD NOT BELIEVE THOSE WORDS CAME OUT OF MY MOUTH.
But in the silent seconds that followed, I realized that I meant it. I mean it now.
This has been a year of struggle and discipline for me. I have, at times, felt like I would drown. But instead, I learned to be a better swimmer. I’ve felt desperate and afraid. But each time, God has revealed himself to me through things that are nothing short of miraculous. Things that I may have missed if I’d have been able to do things on my own. I’ve felt alone and abandoned, but God sent people to me. Over and over again, phone calls, texts, offers of help, words of encouragement. New friends and rekindled friendships. I’ve been literally surrounded by people this year who have shown my family love and grace that could only have come from God. The kids and I might have missed these things had it not been for our struggles…so they were worth it. I mean that.
It has been worth every single struggle this year to see God at work in our lives.
Last year in July, I wrote this in my journal (disclaimer: yes, I tend to be a bit dramatic in my journal…but hey, it wasn’t intended to be shared, so give me a break:)
I don’t ever remember being so scared. I’ve never been a worrier. Now I can’t make myself stop. I feel constantly sick with worry and fear. I dread what is to come. I worry about money, my job, my kids, my sister, my nephew. How will I ever be able to take care of things on my own? How can I help my sister when my own life is falling apart? I’m afraid that I am going to fail my kids and that I am going to lose everything. I have no control over anything. God. Where are you in this? The Bible says that “The righteous cry out and the Lord delivers them from all their troubles.” I am crying out. Am I not righteous enough? Why am I not being delivered?
I have clung to that scripture all year. Psalm 34:17. And then today, that very same verse was the scripture of the day in my Bible app. Only this time, I read the entire thing:
17″The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. 18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. 19 The righteous person may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all”
It’s taken me some time to see it. A year to be exact. But he has been true to his word. He has heard me. He has been close to me while my heart was breaking. He saved me when my spirit was crushed. And yeah, I have had many troubles, but I believe that He is delivering me from them all.