"May you accept the past for what it is. May you celebrate what needs to be celebrated and grieve what needs to be grieved. And then, may you receive from God a new Spirit, one for Here - Now - Today."
I have been away from the blogosphere for awhile...but so much has happened that this tug on my heart from God to share can no longer be ignored... A couple weeks ago I was at dinner with my best friend and told her, "I'm one of the most self-reflective people I know." She nodded her head in agreement so hard that the beanie on her head almost fell off :)
It's not that I didn't want to blog, I think it was more that there was so much happening that I almost didn't have time to be reflective. And more so, I believe that the reflection had to reach a culmination before I would be ready to share. It is hard to impart wisdom and learning through struggle when you are just trying to catch your breath. But now that my healing has reached this point, I believe I have much more to share.
Many of you know the events that occured in my life in 2010, more specifically in the second half of the year. And with a greatful heart, I am able to leave those events in the year 2010. I have spent months of praying - even pleading - to just move on. When you give a piece of yourself to another person thinking one day you will be married, no matter what, it is going to hurt for awhile - especially when it meant so much to me. And he knew it. And he still sunk to the lowest level when he addressed that part of it. But I have not forgotten that I am called to forgive, even if I will never forget.
Onward!On September 11th, I went to Big Brain tattoo a few blocks from my apartment in Omaha and got my first tattoo. It was something I had wanted for so long - the word "Redeemed" on my wrist. On my wrist because that is where Jesus was pierced on the Cross, and the word "Redeemed" because God has had to redeem me from specific things - and more than once. That morning I prayed on the way to work about my tattoo and what verse it was coming from. I had read this verse before but I just couldn't remember the reference. It was a hard morning, and working didn't seem all that appealing - even at J.Crew. Because at that time J.Crew > Gallup x 1,000,000. I went on my break in the afternoon and went to my car. I just cried. My bible was on the passenger seat and I picked it up. I randomly opened it and it landed in Isaiah 43, more specifically to the page where I had underlined verses 18-19. God had made a way for the Israelites out of Egypt and told them not to look back. He addressed his faithfulness in saying that if He can make a way for them, He can make a way through whatever trail you're facing. "Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you see it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland."
I had read that verse so many times. So in my stubbornness I just cried harder. I didn't believe it. Here is the thing. I underline EVERYTHING I read that impacts me and put a date by it. So I noticed the page on the right had a few things underlined in Isaiah 44. I started reading in verse 21: "Remember these things, O Jacob, for you are my servant, O Israel. I have made you, you are my servant; O Israel, I will not forget you."
And then verse 22, which only the first part was viewable on the page. "I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist." I turned the page and read, "Return to me, for I have redeemed you." It was dated 4-18-08. I sobbed. That was 3 days before my 21st birthday and I remember so vividly why I had read that verse. I couldn't accept the redemption God was offering me then, and I realized that I wasn't accepting it now. I had prayed earlier that morning for the verse I had read that was the entire basis for the tattoo. And there it was.
He had redeemed my sin.
He had redeemed my brokenness.
He had redeemed my Soul.
It was then that things began to change, however slowly.
Too often, we wait to step forward in faith that healing will come because we feel like we're not ready or that we must have it all together. That somehow, we have to feel better before we can be made better. But Redemption would have never come in the form of the Savior if God had waited for his people down on Earth to get their crap together. And accepting redemption doesn't mean that we feel better overnight. It took me until January 1st, 2011 to reach the end of the healing journey.
A very long story short, my job at Gallup was a terrible fit. I am a people person, a relationship builder, and an encourager. All of these things were lost in my data oriented job. So on October 20th I made the decision to move back to Denver. Talk about swallowing my pride! October 22nd was my last day and on November 1st I moved back home. It was so obvious from the moment I arrived back that this is where I am supposed to be.
I felt ok most of November and in December, but Christmas was hard. Christmas amplifies any and everything you feel - for better or worse. But instead of fighting it, I let it hurt. I remembered that new life had come and that like every struggle I have faced in my life, it too shall pass. A birthday came and went after Christmas, and then it was New Year's Eve. I spent it with a dear friend in my favorite restaurant (surrounded by other friends) and we reflected on all that God had done in the past year. Because as bad as I thought I had it with my struggle, she had it much worse. But instead of spending the night dwelling on what was lost, we celebrated that which had been redeemed. I went to sleep with a grateful heart, knowing that soon I would awake with a renewed Spirit - a Spirit that was able to live in freedom.
And then it happened.
New Year's Day. I woke up and I just felt different.
My soul had moved on. There are no words that could suffice in a novice blog to explain to you what it feels like. It just feels free. New life was HERE.
Christmas has always been my favorite holiday - ALWAYS. Of all my friends, I put up my tree the earliest (on or around October 6th) and start listening to Christmas music the earliest (on or around October 1st). And I am totally ok with it! Because Christmas is about a new birth, a new beginning, freedom and redemption. And this is the story God has written in my own life. In the first chapter of Matthew, the Lord tells Joseph that Mary will give birth to a son and he will be called "Immanuel" which means "God with us." New life was coming and would always be HERE. I went to Denver Community Church on December 12th and the pastor kept saying GOD. IS. HERE. We often say this in the form of a question, "God is here?" Because there are times when it feels like He is nowhere to be found. When we feel Him near we say "God is here." A statement. But Christmas is about a proclamation, "God is here!" We exclaim the new life, the Love everlasting that is here to stay.
For a new beginning, you must let it hurt. You must surrender. And you must know that God loves you more than anything. One of the biggest things I learned in 2010 is that our healing is in God's timing. And God's timing, though not our own, is so perfect. If we deny the hurt, we inhibit the ability of God's Hands to mold and shape us through it. It hurts for a reason. It means you tried for something. It means you were in it. It means you invested love into it. And nobody can tell you when you should move on. Because it is God's timing. And in His time, He has and will always make all things new.