We walked through the dark valley together, Jesus and I. It was the hardest two years of my life, the two years after my husband decided he didn’t want to be married anymore. The two years when nothing was stable except the Rock of Christ Jesus.
Through the darkness, through the depression, through the questioning and the confusion there was Christ, always Christ, always near; tangible.
My life tends to be an open book, one of the consequences of working in radio. I can only share what I know, and for most of my life that hasn’t been a problem. As I’ve grown and matured I’ve better learned how and when I should share. I’ve learned that not every detail has to be shared in order for a story to be effective (although I still love details and often have to reel myself back in). When I was a young girl of 15 and very new in my walk with Christ I asked Him to use my pain. I honestly didn’t know at the time what I was praying, but I knew it was a life defining prayer, “God, whatever I have to walk through, please just use it to help others.”
That prayer has chased me in the decades since it left my mouth. There’s been times I’ve whispered, “I know I said whatever, but maybe not this?” And always there was a reckoning between Jesus and I and a decision made to share even “this” (and there have been many “this”es in the last couple of decades).
I even tried to be as transparent as I could in the season of my divorce, while still honoring other people who were tangled up in my story and giving myself much needed room to protect my heart and keep sacred things secret. I honestly never thought I’d be able to bring myself to utter the word “divorced” much less write or talk about it. Yet, here I am.
After coming to a decision to let God use the divorce “this”, I thought I had reached a new milestone. Surely nothing else that could ever come into my life would be as hard to go public with than the death of my marriage.
I was wrong.
It’s been over a month since I last posted a blog update. And before that post another long gap of time passed between posts. Why? Because I don’t want to write about where I am in life right now. I don’t want you to know. Why? Mostly because I haven’t figured it out yet. I tend to try to wait until I’m on the limping-but-victorious side of the wrestle before laying myself bare. Today I’m still in the wrestle. Today I’m still struggling. Today I’m still asking hard questions. And it’s hard to admit our struggles when we’re stuck in the middle of them.
I’m tempted to remain quiet here in this frustrating place. But I can’t. Why? Because of my brave friend Amber’s words, “I have tended toward self-preservation and hiding, and I have felt that I have had little to offer.”
That’s exactly where I am right now. Self-preservation and hiding with little to offer. But isn’t that exactly where God usually shows up to perform a miracle? And, seriously, I could use a miracle about now.
Because, you see, I’ve lost Jesus.
I know, I know, I haven’t really lost Him. How can the omnipresent one who came to dwell, Emmanuel, be lost? He is here, in the midst of this wrestling place. Only I can’t see Him. Can’t feel Him or hear His voice either. The only thing I can find is the space He once filled, the void of His absence.
I’ve been tempted to fake it a lot lately. To act like things are “just fine thank you”. But I’m having a hard time mustering up the strength to do the whole good-Christian-girl thing, where nothing is ever a struggle. The truth is; it’s all a struggle right now. Prayer. Bible. Worship. It’s a struggle.
The funny thing is, I don’t at all feel hopeless or desperate. I’m strangely accepting of this questioning place. Not content, mind you, but accepting. I can’t help but think that God is growing my roots deep in this wrestling place. Normally, when I feel distant from God I have an overwhelming urge to figure out what’s wrong and fix it immediately. I don’t feel that this time. I feel a resting, a waiting, and an assurance that Jesus and I are okay, even if we don’t feel particularly tight at the moment.
I know what it is to be carried by Jesus. I know what it feels like to have Him bend low and gently bind up my broken-heart wounds. I struggle with knowing how to walk with Jesus in the common everyday mundane of life. I can feel Him when the days are dark and hard, I can’t seem to find Him when the days are sunny and calm. And that is what my heart longs for. Not only to be carried through crisis by Christ, but to also learn to walk beside Him. To be led by Him through dark valleys and green pastures. To walk with Him through raging seas and still waters. To be so aware of His presence in every moment that He can’t ever be lost.
That’s the struggle. Seeking Jesus here. Seeking something genuine and real and sustaining. So, the wrestle continues. I’m not letting go. Not giving up. I’m hanging on and waiting.