As I sit here currently and look around at what appears to be my life, I cant help but wonder if I’ve stumbled into some sick, fun-house version of what should be my life. Things are not where they are supposed to be, images are distorted and I keep hitting the glass wall in my attempts to escape this madness. In the midst of the chaos, I can honestly say I have never felt more loved and supported, not only by my loved ones, but by the One who Redeems even the most broken of hearts.
There are a few things I know for certain:
1. Being 27 years old and divorced was never in my plan (I’ll be 27 when the divorce is finalized). I never thought I would ever have to use the phases, “in my first marriage” or “my ex husband”. That’s not even a reality I can comprehend at this point.
2. My heart has been utterly and completely broken and betrayed, by a person who has completely transformed from someone I knew better than anyone else to someone I can barely recognize.
3. God has been holding me this entire time. I can feel it, I am certain of it, and I feel so thankful.
I have a love-hate relationship with the idea that “everything happens for a reason”. I’m not so sure that’s the best way to put it. I do believe that God can redeem every situation, but saying that awful things “happen for a reason” seems unlikely to me. Its hard for me to imagine how God is going to redeem this heartbreak and disappointment in my life, but I unequivocally know that He will. As long as I’m putting it all out there, I might as well describe how this has happened in my life before. I was 4 years old when I was sexually abused; its my first memory. Do I think that “happened for a reason”? No. Not for any other reason than a very damaged person decided to perpetuate that damage. Did I know or even have the faintest idea of how God would redeem that tragedy in my life? Not a clue. Is it true that I now work as a trauma therapist and help children who have experienced horrendous traumas and abuses? Yes, and I’m so passionate about my job. I am able to empathize and support my clients and their families, in a way that promotes healing and understanding in their own lives. Is that me? Nope, that’s my Redeemer.
This all makes me think back to an essay I had to write in one of my college English classes. The assignment was to write a “This I Believe” essay to submit to NPR’s yearly contest. I had never heard of it before this assignment – and if you haven’t either, I encourage you to check it out. The essays are incredible and thought-provoking. You can find them here. Because I have always been a writer and blogger, I was able to find a copy of my essay on an old blog. As I was reading over it tonight, it seemed fitting to re post it here.
Written in December 2007: This I Believe.
I’m not a surfer, shell-collector, or kite-flyer. I am a woman who finds life-lessons in the simple sound of the waves crashing on the sand. No matter how great my problems seem to be, they are nothing compared to the greatness of the ocean and its waves, nor do they hold as much power over my life.
When I was a little girl, I learned to fear the ocean after getting caught in a rip current. I discovered that you have to pay attention to where you place your feet in this world, or else you might get caught up in something you can’t save yourself from. As the lifeguard pulled me to safety, I learned to savor the sweetness of air and the ability to breathe.
When I was a teenager, I learned to fall in love with the ocean and its promises. Growing up is a fragile process, and when you are thirteen it seems as if everything is changing weekly, from your boyfriend to your bra size, and you’re never really sure what to expect next. You learn from experience that even the best of friends can hurt you and let you down, but the ocean is still going to be there, as steady and consistent as ever. It is going to continue to pound the shoreline. It is going to be there when you show up after everyone ditched your eighth grade Halloween party for the star of the football team’s Bar Mitzvah, and it is going to remind you that, no matter what, it’s waves will continue to roll in and your life will go on.
As a young woman twenty-one years of age, I am still attempting to find my role in this inconsistent world. I am more aware than ever of the mistakes I have made, and continue to make. I struggle and I bend and sometimes I break, often forgetting that life is much bigger than I think. And so whenever school or family or relationships are getting overwhelming and I am struggling to place one foot in front of the other, I put on my blinders and race westward. The comforting roar of the ocean and the pattern the waves create on the sand are a better form of therapy than money can buy, and an everlasting reminder that this too shall pass.
I live 5 minutes away from the ocean that has always been so calming. This too, shall pass.