So what if what it was all about was not about being happy? What if that wasn’t the main purpose of it all? What if actually it was about being broken? What if being broken was better than being whole?
These are all questions I have been thinking about the last few weeks.
Growing up I was always taught that life is not always easy, that it sometimes has its struggles and battles and that you learn and grow through the tougher times. In reality though my life was pretty easy, safe and comfortable and so it was easy to say and believe those things because the struggles I faced were pretty inconsequential in the grand scheme of things.
So when the struggles and battles then came at full pelt I wasn’t prepared, because whilst I knew that suffering was part of the human experience it wasn’t meant to be quite as devastating and life changing. And ok if that is how it had to be God would put the pieces of my life back together in a way deserving of all the loss and devastation that had gone before wouldn’t he?
I think the last few weeks/months have been a bit of a revelation to me, a lesson perhaps only now I was ready to learn. I have been so fortunate to be able to have had access to an incredibly wise lady in the States who has been helping me process this stuff and there has been a fair helping of tough love.
I am not so sure I will articulate this well but here goes – I think I have been asking for a comfortable life, a life where everything is together and whole, that that was somehow the aim. I think I have been fighting the battles, the struggles and the lessons to be learnt because actually they didn’t fit into my picture of how life should be. On a train to York the other week I suddenly realised that all the things that I felt were a priority for my life to be put back together in the way I expected or thought was best were not the priorities on God’s agenda.
God’s agenda was that I know him and love him, that I experience him deeply, that I surrender myself to his ways, his plans and his purposes, whatever they may be. To get to that place I had to be broken – that brokenness was the only way to that place and will always be the only way. To acknowledge that actually everything else wasn’t enough. That actually the reality was that God’s plans were better than mine, and saying that when it meant letting go of what I wanted – my hopes and dreams.
I know and totally believe God is in the business of blessing us and loving us but what if those blessings and that love weren’t what I thought they should look like.
Alongside all of this for me has been the bible story of Ruth and Naomi –Naomi lost her husband and her two sons, a hideous and painful story. She spent a decade angry and bitter at God, but then met with God in a new way. At the end of her life she was able to say categorically God’s plans were better than hers.
I have also been thinking about Joseph of the nativity fame. I have never really given him much attention before. Then something I read a few weeks ago got me thinking about how it must have been for him, and how his life did not turn out how he expected. He thought he was going to live a simple life, marrying a nice girl, raising a family and working in the family business. He was then suddenly faced with an unbelievable situation which I have no doubt at times felt like a nightmare for him – his fiancée pregnant and it not his baby, then being visited by an angel, in the middle of the night, telling him the baby was conceived of the holy spirit. The different gender issue aside I have tried to put myself in his shoes and imagine how he must have felt and how messed up his head must have been. Yet he trusted God, trusted his plans were greater than his and look how that story ended up!
So as the tears flowed over Skype I told my wise lady that I accepted that maybe God’s plans for me weren’t remarriage or more children – my heart broke as I said the words out loud, and maybe a little more as I write them down now. However as I am letting go of one of my greatest heart’s desires, I have found more and more a longing for more of God and what he has, in ways I have never experienced it before. Trusting that his plans for my life, for my child’s life are good, even if they don’t look like I hoped – that actually they will be so much better than I could ever have hoped or imagined.
I have changed the way I pray. The prayer I keep praying is asking that my desires, my plans, my thoughts be aligned with God’s –instead of asking God for his will at the end of a long list. It feels like a scary prayer but also exciting. Exciting because it becomes less about me, and more about love, more about adventure, more about others, because it becomes more about being where I am made to be, with the people I am meant to be with, doing the things I was made to do. It becomes more about hope, change and transformation.
So thank you God that with you nothing is wasted and that you take the broken, ugly, messed up, sad parts and you make something new and amazing.