This past year has been a whirlwind of epic proportions. Now, I can’t exactly remember the last time I actually said the word epic, so hopefully that paints a pretty clear picture as to the craziness that’s ensued. When speaking of craziness in the current context, I’m not referring to the description of commotion as much as I am the perplexities of life and the flow of God moving in and through us, (if we’ll let Him) truly bringing us from glory to glory; out of the mire and onto the mountain.
I’ve heard it said that at some point, “All of us have tried and failed, that we’ve all gone for broke and become broke. We’ve played the game and lost, but that doesn’t mean we’re finished, not at all. We get back up, get back in, and get back to work.”
I grew up playing a myriad of sports and loved them all. The competition, the life lessons, the athleticism and of course the fun. I’ve always loved winning and giving my absolute best; striving for excellence even if that did mean, ‘going for broke’. I’d rather risk it all than forever live with the questions that begin with, shoulda, coulda, woulda. I made a pact with myself when I was younger that I’d never spend my final breaths speaking wishing words or regretting a ‘safe’ life.
That pact, those words, have been stamped upon the canvas of my heart; sealed in a subsequent measure that’s affected everything I do and how I love. Years ago, I remember being incredibly closed off, individualistic and somewhat of a recluse. I wasn’t afraid of being hurt or rejected as much as I was (unbeknownst to me at the time) selfishly withholding precious love the Lord so graciously bestowed on me rather than passing it along to others. So a few years back, after my dad passed away, the thick, Jericho-like walls that I’d erected so judiciously crumbled within an instant. I can’t explain the feeling other than it being a numbing mixture of pure devastation and spontaneous internal rage. In a single moment all my fortresses were vanquished, ripped away, and destroyed and there I stood; emotionally naked, cold, and alone. It’s in that same moment though that love finally began reaching out.
I honestly don’t know if words even exist to convey these past seven years and wouldn’t wish the content on the worst of mankind. It’s been full of raging storms and seemingly incessant waves. Through it all, I cannot fathom what I would’ve done without both the presence of God or His Word–well I do, I wouldn’t have made it. Walking away from the Lord has never been an option though. He’d never leave me and faithfulness to grow any relationship is a non-negotiable. When I had nothing left, I still had the Word and so I clung with all my might. The entirety and truth of the Word saved my life, and the following scripture was one of many in Psalm 40:1-4 calmed my heart on repeated occasions. “I waited patiently for the Lord, and He inclined to me, and heard my cry. He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my steps. He has put a new song in my mouth—Praise to our God; many will see it and fear, and will trust in the Lord. Blessed is that man who makes the Lord his trust.”
Vulnerability is indeed a treasure. My world as I knew it was falling apart, and I quickly learned the need for solid, Christ-centered friendships in order to regain strength and move forward in the things God still had in store for my life. I knew I had to return to a childlike state of vulnerability and leave my individualistic living at the cross if I was ever going to do anything more than merely exist.
So in this whirlwind of a year, when I lost a few additional things that were closest to my heart, the Lord again reminded me of this simple lesson of vulnerability and reiterated the importance of it’s ‘treasure nature’. I’m more inquisitive than I’ve ever been and asked why He (The Lord) chose to use that particular word in its description. His reply of, “be a forger” has changed my life, not because He answered my question interestingly enough, but because of the depth that He’s shown me through viewing vulnerability in such a way–as if pursuing treasure. Almost immediately things that were buried by struggles, hardship and daily monotony became exposed with the joy, peace, and love through others that only the Father could expend at such disposal during such a delicate time (Ezekiel 36:26).
Even though I’ve lost a lot in the natural, I’ve had the privilege of seeing many a dream restored rapidly. I often think of Joel when he speaks of restoration after years of pestilence and plague in Joel, chapter 2, verses 26-27. The life I thought I lost was replaced with the life I’d been crying out for. The person I was, became the person I always wanted to be.
The joy, peace, patience, hope and overflowing love of Christ I so desperately wanted to exude suddenly welled up on the inside of me. I know it’s always been there, but the revelation finally penetrated my heart. The Lord used those moments of vulnerability with godly friendships to strengthen and speak life to my weary bones and walked me right out of the tomb I’d laid myself in.
When I think about God’s goodness through this season I can’t help but thank Him for graciously rescuing and restoring my life in a way that’s far above anything could have imagined and unfortunately, asked for myself. His beautiful leading, constant patience and generous love brings me to my knees. I pray whatever you may be walking through, that you too would witness His sweet restoration power through vulnerability and, “ be like a tree planted by the waters, which spreads out its roots by the river and will not fear when heat comes; but its leaf will be green, and will not be anxious in the year of drought, nor will cease from yielding fruit.” (Jeremiah 17: 7-8)
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