A year. It is quite remarkable the difference a year can make. I would be lying if I said I didn't cry today, that I put my big girl panties on, a fresh smile, and made it out the door to face the world. But I did. I cried. Actually I sobbed. I bawled. I wept out loud. At church. At home. All day. We made it to church and I had the pleasure of wonderful conversations with some dear friends. Then at that end of the service I had a few more that came up to me at the altar and prayed with me and for me. One held back my hair and rubbed my neck, another had her arm wrapped around me, another was holding my arm, and so many, they cried with me. They cried, aloud, with me. And they prayed because they know. They know that even though it has been a year ago today since the ex-Mr. made the choice to walk away, my heart is still hurting. They know that I am still in a lot of pain. Truthfully, it has a lot less these days to do with missing him simply because time can truly make people grow apart the same way it can make people grow together. The pain has more, actually everything, to do with knowing I was disposable, not wanted, and not loved enough to be kept. Yet -
Today was also a day of spiritual blessing. First, our Sunday School lesson was about Labels, the first of several in a series based on the book, Altar Ego by Craig Groeschel. There are those labels others apply/give to us and those we apply/give to ourselves. Those labels we chose to accept and live with and allow to define us and those labels that we know are not who we are and are able to get over. In the video, that went with the lesson, he shared that a lot of characters in the Bible were given a new name as they became the person God designed them to be. These were people who were nothing, their name meant something bad, or had done terrible things and then God got ahold of them and changed them. He made them new! God does this! He can make us new! Abram and Sarai became Abraham and Sarah, Jacob became Israel, Saul became Paul, and so on. The point of it is that we are more than just the name "label" placed on us. We are who God has created us to be, if we are open to receiving that new name. There are so many beautiful stories in the Bible of what God can and does do. I'm excited for this Bible study to learn how to find/become this person God created me to be.
Then in today's message Pastor continued with his series, How Big Is God? "Big Enough To Guide You" (Ephesians 5:17) Pastor had two main points. The first was God's Provision and the second was Our Part. In God's provision we are reminded that God is in this! Yes, He is! He wants us to know His will for our lives. This is much more than us coming to receive Him. Truth, He does want that none of us should parish, but this goes deeper than that. He wants us to actually DO His will for our lives, to BECOME the person He created us to be. The only way to do this of course is to release total control over to God, stay in His word regularly, and pray about it. Truth of it is, if God is going to ask you to do something He will place the desire in your heart. He can also use other people to show you His will. And sometimes, just maybe, He will use your circumstances to reveal His will for your life. Honestly, God will never pressure you against a door that doesn't open, but not all open doors are God's will. And, here is the one that really spoke to me - just because it is rough, doesn't mean it is out of the will of God. Then there is our part. We need to surrender ourselves to Him. He won't reveal His will to the uncommitted. We must be obedient. We can't merely go through the motions of learning, we have to be willing to do the doing! And finally, the hardest one, we must trust. God isn't necessarily going to show you the whole picture, but He will let you see what you need for today.
Finally, today, I finished a book that my dear friend Anna recommended to me several months ago. Truth is I wish I would have finished it straight away. Not that I can say it would have changed any of the choices I made or the events of this past summer, but I would have been armed with a bit more knowledge. However, it isn't the way of things and the point that matters now is that I did finish it. Honestly, I don't think it was coincidence at all that today, of all days, was the day to complete this book. The book is called - What a Man Wants, What a Woman Needs by Eddie Long. The crux of the book is what makes a good relationship, a strong relationship, a godly relationship. Oh, don't misunderstand, this book is SO much more than that. I recommend it to anyone and everyone, married or not. But, be prepared! This book is in your face. It is real. It is deep. It will call you on the carpet. Yet, the whole time it is doing that, it is reminding you that you are more than the label you've been given and that God has a purpose for you. I could go on and on about this book. But, the most precious take away that I have is that even though in life we fail, and yes, we all fail, we are human after all, God says failure isn't final. That above all else He is faithful and just and He will never leave us or forsake us. Go ahead, buy it. You can get it super cheap on Amazon. I'd lend you my copy but I'm sort of hard on books; I underline, mark, star, and journal in the margins. This one was NO exception!
I had plans of writing to you today with a post about my feelings. A post about the pain and heartache and loneliness that I am still struggling with. I had plans to sit here and pour out all of that again. In all honesty I think I would have been justified, seeing as how today is exactly 365 days later, but when I started typing my thoughts just wouldn't go there. I know that I still have much healing to go through, that God still has work to do with me and in me, but I love that three times today, THREE times, He showed me and reminded me that I am worth so much more than the sum of my circumstances. That He has created me for more than what I've gone through and that He does have a purpose for my life. And maybe, just maybe, while He is sorting all that out in me, I can share it all with you and if just one of you who read this finds that same beautiful gift, then I'd say God has done exceedingly more than I could have ever thought with the words of my life.
Here is to the next 365 days, what they will hold and become. Those lessons I will learn and the person I will continue to become.