I remember a while back, I asked my counselor why God was allowing so many hurts to pile up so close together in my life. Do you know what she told me? "Boundaries Christina, it's all about boundaries." Let's just let that sink in for a moment. I know I had to. The truth is I have lived my entire life trying to please everyone. The reality, it is clearly impossible, and simply never ends well. Honestly, this is probably the hardest, most miserable life lesson I have ever had to learn. A lesson you can be certain inevitably pushed me through a barrier, over a cliff and to the bottom of a ravine.
The moment leading up to my hallelujah, come to Jesus meeting got it's first start some 19 months ago. Life at the time wasn't bad; in fact it seemed pretty good to me. As with any typical month in our household, we had our ups and downs. Sure I knew life wasn't full of gumdrops and lollipops, but life wasn't exactly sinkholes and tar pits either. I had just hit my 40's, not that I was worried about it, age had never bothered me. I was fairly content with where I was in life at the time. I was at home, raising our boys, a wife of 17 years, keeping up with our home, managing the kid’s schools, doctors’ appointments, lessons, church and making sure my family had a home cooked meal every night. I had a routine, a way of moving through life, I knew what was expected and my week went accordingly. I was happy, content and oblivious to the storm clouds gathering.
The reality though, the hard truth of my situation is my faith was growing stagnant, and in many ways so was my life whether I realized it or not. So when I was hit by the first of several emotional semi-trucks colliding into my life, you can say I was completely knocked off the side of a cliff. I wasn't prepared, I had nothing in my reserves to even begin coping with or better yet to even access the damage. I was walking wounded and pained. I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t sleep and my weight began dropping quickly. The only way to accurately describe myself immediately following this first collision, smash up, wreck and yes pile up of sorrow, agony and torment is as the walking dead. Everything else following afterwards just added to the growing pileup of desolation in my life. Suddenly I became a wreckage of failure and total emotional bankruptcy. I simply had nothing left to relinquish from January 2014 onward.
I began grieving, filled with an aching, stabbing pain I can't accurately explain even now, all this time later. My life was an utter, complete mess, in shambles at the bottom of a cliff, spread out along the edges of a ravine. What was left of me felt exposed, my wounds open and bleeding, my bones picked nearly clean by vultures. I felt dead inside, isolated, alone and desolate. To say I was at my lowest point is an understatement. This pain, this unending, deep gash in my heart was the worst I had ever known. I truly wanted to die at times, just so the pain and grief would stop. My heart felt shattered, ravened by a cold, hungry wolf. My life as I had known it before was laid out, demolished and in ruin. My choices were simple, either give in to the devastation or begin with a new foundation. I chose the latter.
Only a handful of folks really know what caused this carnage, this gigantic leap over the edge in my life. Quite honestly it should stay that way. It however doesn't change the consequences or the end result. The scars are still there, serving as constant reminders of my lowest place but the point is they are just scars. My faith is no longer a puddle of three day old rain water but a spring of fresh living water. My wounds aren't oozing, open gashes still hemorrhaging. I've had to learn to look deep within myself. I had to stop over thinking, tossing all night, replaying the moment I was pushed off that cliff back in February 2014. In doing so, my life has been reclaimed; a peace even while feeling scared no will come to rescue me has set in. It's funny I had to reach the bottom to reach the top. I learned a hard, excruciating lesson but a valuable one all the same. You see it's not always about the rescue as much as it's about trust, allowing yourself to start climbing back up that mountain, finding you had the strength all along. The only real requirement is trusting God to lead the way.
Life Lesson # 36 is all about Restoration, forgiveness and pruning.
Ya, I'm still mending, even after all this time. You just don't get over those kinds of hurts in a jiffy. The work put into healing is hard, painful and at times very overwhelming. Personally I've licked my wounds, battled my mind, fought insecurities, come face to face with Christina's not so nice side and finally allowed the knife to be pulled from my heart. Yes, I've absolutely experienced other gut wrenching hurts along the way, but what I have learned is forgiveness is essential for the soul. Our reaction verses our response will ultimately define the way any situation we face either turns around or continues to plummet over the cliff. Restoration, whether it is a simple acknowledgment inside your heart of what was, what is or a full throw your arms around, let me squeeze you tight kind of moment, forgiveness and the restoration of your spirit is critical to recovery. It's a life lesson which never comes easy or when we're expecting it, but instead when we drop our expectations and let go.
Truly, what I know in hindsight is restoration brings healing. As hard as it has been, I've forgiven, making a choice, spoken the words out loud even if no one else was there to hear. I've let go of the broken friendships, confidence, and trust, yes even the betrayal leading to that almost near fatal crash of February 2014. True, I was trapped for a while, captive of many anxious, uneasy and awful dark nights stuck in that terrifying ravine, feeling helpless and alone. However terrible it was though, the truth is once I set my mind to climbing out, to reaching the top, I found myself and who I was all along. I'm happy where I have landed when all is said and done. Day finally broke and all my anger, hurt and confusion dissipated.
My world was shaken, I was betrayed and I didn't know why. The truth is I may never know why exactly, and that's OK. God allowed what He did for a reason, because He has purpose in my life. The situation I faced, I would never wish on anyone. But I know now sitting at the top of that ravine; it wasn't there to hinder me but to aid me in my journey. See He knew what was inside of me all along; I just had to go through the pruning process first before I could see it myself! And now as one chapter closes and another begins in my life our little family of four can see restoration breathing back new life into our roots. I can see who I am in Him, who I can be in my marriage and in my family and it's pretty amazing. I've truly given myself over to forgiveness, allowing the pruning process, trusting God come spring, His shearing will bring beautiful flowers to bloom once again.