There are significant times in your life when you close your eyes, hold your breath, and use every ounce of energy to remember how you are feeling at that very instant. Most that come to mind are the ones that give us life in our weary bones...from the exchanging of vows, to the first cry of new life. Tonight as I sit here covered in blessings, cursing, tears, regret, and unfiltered hope...I can only thank Jesus that I can experience all of those at once. I hold tightly to promises that he has plans to prosper me. I burn these feelings to my most inner core. My secret places. The push and pull of grace feels as if I am breathing underwater. It's frightening and empowering all at once.
My head spins with options, decisions, proclamations. I am good enough. No, I am great enough. I am worth it. I am willing. I am able. I am defeated. I am gracious. I am angry. I will overcome... not alone, but with the great cloud of witnesses that surround me and hold up my feeble arms and weak knees. They carry me when I just can't. They text. They call. They bring food. They send money. They cry with me. They care. They are the audible voice of a God who loves me authentically. He is the perfect friend. He is the perfect Daddy. He is the perfect husband.
The hard path gets it's name because you fight an uphill battle. You work. You sweat. You cry. You want to give up. The true gift isn't when you make it to the end of the valley. It's the encouragement and beauty you get along the way. Without suffering we can never truly dive into grace. We can never know the blessing of a friend that steps into the pit with us. We can't possibly understand the suffering that is bleeding out around us. We could not fathom that the earth could sink so low.
When I was in Jordan, one of my last days there, a woman asked me to her home for dinner. I thought it was just a "goodbye" dinner. She had much more for me. She told me that God gave her a vision for me. It was a man who carried two pots down to the water to bring back to his home. However, one of the pots was cracked on the bottom. By the time he got it home each day, all the water had leaked out. Someone asked him why he still carried the broken pot as it did not do it's job. He laughed and said, "Look at the path. It's filled with beautiful flowers that were watered with the broken pot. It was doing it's job...just not what was expected." She then went on to tell me that God wanted me to know that beautiful things would come from my brokenness. What the world would discard, God would use for something amazing. How beautiful to watch it all unfold.
All this to say, in your times of despair, take heart. Don't close your eyes and wish the pain away. There is so much beauty to behold.