Hi there. It's been a while. As some of you may know, my husband and I have been in the process of moving. We began moving the weekend before Christmas and are just getting settled into our new house. Needless to say, life has been hectic. We are finally beginning to get back into a routine. It's funny how you can miss the little things when life becomes chaotic (like having turkey bacon and two eggs over easy with coffee each morning in front of my computer).
Even in the chaos, this house has been a huge blessing. My husband and I have just come out of the most trying financial year either of us have ever had. We were married in September of 2013, and two weeks before we tied the knot, my husband lost his job. It was a hard blow, but I was working as a corporate event planner for Chmura Economics & Analytics at the time and thought we could get by on that for a while. It wasn't until I left Chmura in November to take a position with more responsibility at a different company and lost my job after only a week that the gravity of it all began to sink in. We had just signed the lease on our new house that Sunday when I lost my job the following Friday. There we were. Newlyweds, unemployed, and in a house we could no longer afford.
As I reflect back on the past few years (really a large majority of my life), these events turned out to be a diamond hidden in a den of snakes. While much of the journey felt like climbing stairs that never ended, the prize at the top was well worth the struggle. The Bible says
10 For You have tried us, O God;
You have refined us as silver is refined.
11 You brought us into the net;
You laid an oppressive burden upon our loins.
12 You made men ride over our heads;
We went through fire and through water,
Yet You brought us out into a place of abundance
For the greater part of my life I ran into one hardship after another. Pain upon pain. Sorrow upon sorrow. Some of this sorrow was self inflicted, some of it came at the hands of others, and some came merely as a result of living in a fallen world. I won't go into detail on all of my pain and suffering, as that is not important. Throughout the years I often thought, "Why is this happening?" "How can a person endure this much pain?" "Why have you forsaken me, God?" I cried out to God as Job in the midst of his despair and asked for mercy. I asked God to let me sleep and awaken with Him in eternity. He had a different plan.
It is only now, as I am starting to come out on the other of the pain and suffering, pain that even my family does not understand, that I am beginning to understand that this pain was weaving the fabric of our great love story. The love story between me and Jesus. You see, when we get to the end of "self", all that is left is Him. God, in all of his infinite wisdom, knew that those "momentary light afflictions" were producing a weight of glory in me beyond my wildest imaginations. He cares too much about us to leave us where we are. He has been shaping me through fire to make me like silver. He was making me a warrior and an overcomer all while changing my heart to look more like His. There was nothing in me that He should have desired a relationship with me. Yet he pursued me with an endless, fierce, and perfect love.
Suffering is messy. It is not easily explained, and there is no sense in trying. Some of the most damaging things said to me through those years were from seemingly good Christians trying to explain away something that is inexplicable. And if they were not trying to explain it, they were ignoring it, or acting as if it wasn't real. Yet, those of us who suffer have to love and forgive those who don't understand it, for "they know not what they do." The Lord has blessed me with a husband that has been strong when I am weak; yet as strong as he is, he is merely human. The only one capable of bearing the weight of it all and understanding the depth of it all is the same person who has become my sin that I might become His precious gem. Suffering is messy but make no mistake about it, it is beautiful.
I developed a sweet intimacy with the Creator over these past few years that I would not replace for anything in the world. As the modern day church in America we are missing it. We get too comfortable and too focused on the wrong things (as I have been guilty myself). It is only when our eyes are fixated on Jesus, however, that we can find true peace. Oswald Chambers said, "When you have been brought into relationship with God through the Atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ and are concentrating on Him, you will experience wonderful times of communion. As you wait only upon God, concentrating on the glorious outlines of His salvation, there will come into you the sleeping peace of God, the certainty that you are in the place where God is doing all in accordance with His will." This is what happens during suffering: a concentration on God, communion with Him, reliance upon His power and mercy, and a peace that surpasses all understanding. And I can think of nothing more beautiful in all the earth.