The air was dry and hot most of the summer in Texas, but there was also a span of time where it did nothing but rain, and it rained incessantly. It was record setting, overfilling rivers, cresting banks, and saturating the ground. Not even earth could contain the deluge, and so came some devastating flooding too. Houses were destroyed, people lost their lives, properties were damaged, and there wasn’t much that could be done to make the rain stop. We were beholden to nature. Sometimes life is the exact same way. It comes at you from so many angles, you don’t know which direction to face so you can fight. The last few months of life have been like those unpredictable rains, but I’ve learned that I do not have to sit by and do nothing or play the victim of circumstance.
It never fails that the way to overcoming means facing adversities head on. I can’t get away from it. The moment I want to grow in faith, love, hope, or tenacity, I find myself quickly challenged to live those things out. Let me tell you, it’s hard! You want growth, but it means being willing to face the challenges that require forward movement. For me to get to where I’ve never been, I’ve had to go through some unpleasant circumstances. There was no putting the challenge on pause, no pretending it didn’t exist, no shoving it aside, and certainly no side-stepping it. There was not going around it or under it. The only way I have been overcoming lately has been by going through. It has meant going through the challenge, through the circumstance, through the hard things, through the pain and heartache; and none of it has been easy. I am overcoming by the Blood of Lamb and the word of my testimony. Each step through is now a part of my story and a memorial to the faithfulness of God Who has never left me nor forsaken me.
I’ll spare you all the details, but I have shared the yuckiness with a few close friends and family members who have held faith with me. Having them in my life has been rock steadying and life affirming. I could not have walked through much of what I’ve walked through without their support. I have seen the young die before their time, felt the sting of a hopeful work dream dashed, been crushed by unforeseen personal betrayal, and watched someone I love struggle with declining health. This does not include the many other things I’ve been deeply concerned about, but it is the gist of what has captured my resolve in ways that have made me want to quit, throw in the towel, and walk away from hope in God. But, I could not. I was in the middle of the fight, and there was no turning back. I could only keep moving forward, and so I chose to believe despite what my eyes saw.
Faith can be messy that way, but this is nothing new. Men and women of old have fought the good fight of faith even when all hell was breaking loose around them with hope barely visible, life and limb endangered, threats of imprisonment, or finances destroyed. Yet, they held faith. They did not give up. They leaned in. I think of men and women in history like Jesus Christ, Daniel, Moses, Abraham, Rahab, Mary – the Mother of Jesus, Paul, and others who kept moving forward. They chose to go through the circumstances being undeterred, eyes fixed on God’s promises. I read their stories, I find strength to live out my own. Their faith compels me to hold on and remain steadfast. Their tenacity gives me a glimpse of what it means to walk through fire and not be burned and to not be overtaken by the storm.
I look back on the last six months and wonder how I even made it. It was rough. There were more tears than I can count, more sighs than I thought I had breath for, and more restless nights than I care to recall. The only way out was through it all. I can’t say I’d want to do it all over again, but I am grateful for the strength to have done it. Life threw lots of lemons my way, but they haven’t soured my faith and hope in God. And I’ll tell you there was no three step plan or magic pill that helped. It was a daily choice to keep moving forward, to stay connected to hope, to be honest with God, and to be connected to people I love.It never fails that the way to overcoming means facing adversities head on. #thelemonadestories… Click To Tweet
I did not walk alone though there were many days it felt like I did. I chose not to hold on to the rain of grief, sorrow, hurt, disappointments, or anger that tried to drown me. I had to let them go. The more I did that, the more peace and comfort I received. I realize now I was letting go of the stagnant waters of my circumstances and drinking in Living Waters that restored my soul. I think about this year’s Texas summer floods, and see of how much I was like the parched land – in desperate need of renewal. The rains may have ceased, but growth is happening. Not all is lost, and hope remains.
When the only way out is through, we do not walk alone. I meditate on these words from the book of Isaiah and find comfort:
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you.
When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned,
Nor shall the flame scorch you.
Hold faith, beloved. The journey isn’t over. Keep hope in your hearts. This momentary pain will not last forever. It will pass. May you have peace, grace, and strength to weather every storm.
This post is a part of my 31 Days of Writing challenge. It’s all about taking the sour things of life and reframing them to find the sweetness of faith, hope, and resilience. I hope you’ll join me on this month-long journey. You’ll also find me sharing bits and pieces on my Twitter and IG accounts. I’d love to see you here, and you can also subscribe to my blog/newsletter here.