Have you ever looked back on a period of your life and thought, “How did I survive that?”
My family went through one of those seasons of life a few years ago. In my mind it was like being in the middle of an ocean caught in a strong storm. You hold on with all of your strength and hope for the best. Survival instincts kick in and you find yourself praying prayers you never thought you’d pray. God, please just let us all make it out of this alive.
And then, over time, the winds die down, your grip loosens, and you start to look around. Are we all still here?
We were in the eye of the storm when Stone and I got married three years ago. My parents split up after almost 25 years of marriage. It was messy, traumatic, and surreal. I love both of them dearly and they as well as other family members read this before I shared.
That storm took all that was familiar and many things we held dear.
It will never be like it was again. We will never be who we were again.
…While everything I just said is true and real and painful, the story doesn’t end there. Tears streamed down my face when I started writing down these thoughts because I was overwhelmed. Not by sorrow, but by God’s faithfulness.
A few days ago, we celebrated Thanksgiving with my mom, dad, and my dad’s wife, Kristy. Together. In the same room. ***Only recommended for families with a great sense of humor
Earlier I said It will never be like it was again. We will never be who we were again.
It will never be like it was because God has used suffering to soften the hard ground of our souls. He has allowed hellish winds to remove the scales from our eyes. We will never be who we were because our hearts have experienced the deepest of mercies–flowing from a risen Christ. No, we can’t go back. He has drawn us closer to Himself. And, over time, we’re finding that having Him is better than having answers or understanding, better than having it all together, and better than not having bad days anymore.
And I know you may not see it now, in the thick of it, but you need to know this: His grip on you is tighter than your grip on the things and people you hold dear. His grip on you is stronger than these winds. His love will sustain you. His grace will empower you. His mercy will keep you. And here is the mystery: what looks like a storm on this side is actually the hands of a merciful Father–shaping you and forming you into the image of His only son, preparing you for eternity.
And by His grace, only by His grace, may you experience one of the greatest gifts as a result: a heart of thanks for the suffering you’ll be tempted to resent.
“In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” 1 Peter 1:6-9