This is my birthday week. I turn 59, and my blog will turn 9.
As I have prayed about my annual blog-iversary post, I felt compelled to write one message: There are Circumstances and Seasons When We Simply Must Go Through It! There is no way around IT! No way over IT! No way under IT! And, as much as we want to, we cannot, nor should we, rush IT or reroute IT or run away from IT!
Yesterday, on my neighborhood walk, it struck me; there is only one way in and one way out. Although, I can see our house from the surrounding main roads, there is only one path home.
At the World Famous San Diego Zoo, last week, I found out that elephants have one way to have a baby elephant, which is 22 months of carrying the “tiny” new life in the mama’s large body.
When my grandson heard this, he quickly remarked, “mommy only needs to have our new baby in her tummy for 9 months. Unless, it comes early, like me.”
In our lifetimes, there are so many wonderful and amazing places to go and things to do and people to meet, but, many times, there is only one way to get there or to do it or to meet them. And, as hard or bewildering or frustrating as it might seem at the time, we simply must go through IT!
So, what is your IT? Is IT something you are longing for or dreaming about? Is IT something you are struggling with or battling over? Is IT something you are afraid of or dreading? Is IT the something you hate, but still cling to and won’t give up….
Looking back, a few of my IT's were panic-induing fear…longings delayed and seemingly unfulfilled….excruciating pain and debilitating illness…as well as, aching with and for those I love. (This will always be an IT for me)
In my 9 years of blogging, I have walked alongside precious friends who have traveled the one way path of their IT! Dear friends who have become widows much too young. Broken hearted friends whose husbands have told them, “I don’t love you anymore.” Loved ones whose bodies have been ravaged by sickness and disease. And, sweet family and friends who are aching for a longing to be fulfilled or for clear direction or simply for a sign of provision and a promise of hope
Now that I have traveled these paths, and watched others on their journey, I can see the value and good fruit that can come as we pass through our one way roads.
For me, there was no other way to overcome fear than to fight it. There was no other way for the Lord’s best plan to be accomplished than to go down a long, narrow path to finally find ourselves in the perfect place, at the perfect time. And, the one way path of pain and suffering took me deeper in my faith and prepared and equipped me for paths yet ahead, as well as to walk alongside others now going through it, down their one way path.
In preparation for this post, I found this beautiful promise in Isaiah 30:18-21
“Yet the Lord longs to be gracious to you; therefore He will rise up to show you compassion. For the Lord is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for Him!… You will weep no more. How gracious He will be when you cry for help! As soon as He hears, He will answer you. Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden from you no more; with your own eyes you will see them. Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”
I find such hope in this passage. For as I view the many times I simply had to go through it, I can now look back and see how, truly, adversity and affliction were my teachers.
- I learned to live one day at a time. Matthew 6:33-34; Philippians 4:4-9
- I learned to cling to God’s promises, letting them be my meditation, my prayers, and to renew my mind and transform my heart. Romans 12:1-2; 2 Corinthians 10:4-6; Hebrews 4:12
- I sought help from wise and godly counsel, medical professionals, praying friends, and supportive family. Matthew 7:7-8; James 1:2-6
- I listened and obeyed, as much as I possibly could. James 1:22-2; John 8:31-32
- I learned to persevere, fixing my eyes on Jesus! Hebrews 12:1-3; Galatians 6:9-10
- I learned to be thankful for every IT! To be thankful for the Lord in the IT’s, and to be thankful for times and seasons of broader paths and more options. I learned to have empathy and compassion on those in similar IT situations, to recognize their pain, to lend a helping hand for both their physical and emotional pain, and to cheer them on as they journey through their own IT! 2 Corinthians 1:3-7; 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
- I learned that God's grace truly is sufficient for each day! 2 Corinthians 12:9; 2 Corinthians 9;8
I know this is a hard post. Some may not like it. Still, it is truth. There are situations and seasons, when we simply must go through IT. Through the hard, the painful, the unexplainable and unimaginable, through the excruciating path to get to the other side, to the destination, to home.
This post is fresh and real and personal for me, as I watch the ones I love on their one way path. Desperately, I want to fix and rescue and help them take a different, easier, and less painful way. Yet, the Lord keeps telling me, they must go through it. So, my prayer this birthday week is that we will be those who walk beside, encourage and pray for those who are going through IT! And, I pray God will surround us with those who will walk beside, encourage, pray for us when we are the one going through IT!