What a week last week was.
It was mishap after mishap, bad luck after bad luck, distressing situation after distressing situation. Nothing went right last week from about Wednesday on. And this time it was not just the small and the petty. It was Big Life Stuff. I quickly became overwhelmed. I became depressed and without hope. I have to say right now to you, I don’t know any other way to be besides real. I so value the authentic and the true. I am not good at pretending…. and so I’m putting it out there right now. My truth last week was this: I felt without hope of any kind and as though God had abandoned me completely.
I could not reconcile the issues I was facing with what I thought I knew about God. I felt my life fall down in a million pieces and every hard thing that had happened to me in the past several years seemed to hit me right in the face. I found myself grieving so many different things and feeling so lost, so hurt and so empty. It was like the events of last week just brought down all the walls and all of the feelings I had not dealt with would no longer be ignored. I cried an ocean of tears, I had a panic attack, I put my Bible in another room, far away from my hands. I was overwhelmed in every way- anger, sadness, grief, isolation, anxiety, hopelessness. I felt sick at heart.
After a couple of days of refusing to even speak to God, I said this to Him, “I just don’t understand.” And he gave me two pictures.
This was the first picture. (Well, not THE picture, but an accurate representation of the picture.) The table top is my life. I built my life on lots of different pillars. Pillars named things like: my finances, my children, my husband, my material possessions, my hopes for a new pregnancy, Hope Community Church, my house, my car, my health, and many, many other things. Sure, one of those pillars was named God…but only one. These pillars have been shaken often over the past few years. And when the pillars began to erode, break down, fall, get knocked over, even just vanish….the table became more and more unstable. More and more unsteady. Some of the broken crumbling pillars took out some of the stable ones. And soon enough, only one was left. And that was the pillar marked God. God is supposed to be enough. But when you make him just one spindly pillar over in a corner…the table is going to fall down. And that’s what happened. The whole thing came crashing down with a resounding boom.
And then God showed me another picture.
And when I took a moment off from feeling sorry for myself, I began to realize that maybe God wanted the whole table to fall to the ground. Because maybe He wanted me to build it again…this time on the right type of pillar.
So, today, on the Monday after one of the most challenging weeks of my life, I am building a new table and it’s only going to have one pillar. And that pillar is named God and God alone.
Is everything okay now? Absolutely not. But it seems to matter less now that I know why it all happened. This is the process of refining, of pruning, of transformation. This is the process of changing the inner me. This is the process of decreasing so that He can increase.
Part of my gripe to God last week was this: “I’ve done all that you have said. I have trusted You. I am working so hard on fixing myself…on learning to live thankful, on learning to live with hope. I have tithed, I have served, I have done what You asked. And all of this happened anyway.”
And God just simply said, “I work all things together for your good. And it is for YOUR good that you change the way you live. I am your pillar…the other things may be good things but they are NOT what you stand on. I am what you stand on.” And He has to be. He has to be what I stand on if I want to live and love well.
I don’t know what’s going to happen next. I know that there is still a lot to sort out and walk through. I am taking on today and today only. Today, I will get up, do my work, live thankful, squeeze my babies, sing to the King, bake lemon bars, vacuum carpets, pray. Today, I step warily out of fear, pain, worry, anxiety, confusion and I rebuild. I stand on what I know and trust Him to show me what I don’t yet know.
I know that He is real.
I know that He is good.
I know that He loves me.
I know that He causes all things to work together for my good.
I know that His ways are not my ways.
Those are the things I am standing on. Nothing less. And…nothing more. No extra pillars. Only the God who never changes and never fails.