At the end of April 2009 I was a guest speaker at a Christian college in Kansas. In their chapel I spoke about gender issues within the Church, and the day after I gave a short sort of motivational talk to the group of senior women.
Cleaning my office last week, I came across my printout of that speech to those women. And I looked it over and it shocked me! There were so many things in there that I said, that I was so convinced of, which I seemed to completely forget about just a few days later when life threw me a curveball. May 2009 began a year of much hurt, struggle, and confusion including my own health problems, family member’s health problems, money issues, and other deeply significant changes. Everything seemed so out of my control and unfair. And confusing and angrifying (did I just make up that word?). I felt so powerless over everything and didn’t understand anything that was happening. I still don’t.
These are the words of wisdom that I had in April 2010 which I shared with those women:
(my grandiose life plan of marriage and cats and kids and ministry didn’t work out). Did I fail? It felt like it. It really did. I thought I messed up my life, in a way permanent and unfixable.
I didn’t fail. I have come to understand that these twists and turns of life, of God, were such blessings, even though I didn’t consider them such at that time. Life will never go exactly as planned. And, though that is hard and somewhat painful, if you come at it with an open heart and your eyes on Christ, you will discover that these twists and turns are actually invitations to an exciting, faith-filled, life of adventure and holy discomfort. Without these twists, I never would have discovered my deep gladness . . .
It is now May 2010, a significant time for me and a beginning of what I hope to be a newly re-birthed adventure. I look at these words and am stunned (primarily because they sound so ridiculous and cheesy), but also because whatever wisdom I had that day that I spoke of was quickly discarded in the midst of hardship. Strange and discouraging. But also helpful in that I remember that this, too, shall pass, and remember that grace abounds in this world. That today, though difficult, will look vastly different to me in a few years from now. Now I see only a dark piece of the whole; someday I will be able to see the entire painting.
What I need to do now is to believe that, when finished, this mysterious painting will turn out to be beautiful. Breathtaking. This is my struggle today. But when I look back at the lines drawn so far, they’re not all bad, and have a lot of promise. This gives me hope. My community gives me hope. Winnipeg gives me hope. On even the darkest of days there are gifts around me which lift up my spirit and make me smile.
I am thankful that there is always some form of tomorrow. Thanks be to God.