One of my close friends describes it as feeling adrift in a vast ocean with absolutely nothing in sight. Another said it was like being surrounded by miles of desert in blazing heat with no sign of relief, and I will never forget my favorite DIY genius friend telling me she felt like a speck in the bottom of an empty, blindingly white, 5-gallon paint bucket…and I totally got it!
I only wish my picture of ‘Helpless and Hopeless’ was as sanitized, artistic, or even poetic. But even now what I see is me, face down on threadbare carpet, wailing like a wounded animal, tears streaming down my face, and rivers of snot pouring out my nose.
There were bills I could not pay, my children had legitimate needs that I could not provide, and wounds from years of verbal and emotional abuse were still exposed, raw, excruciating, yet invisible to the world. The sting of betrayals piled on for good measure, and a stamp big enough to cover my entire life reads “FAILURE!” in blood-red letters, and the largest font-size possible.
Fast forward about a decade and one child is facing surgery, my six year-old stove is dead per PG & E, the car needs hundreds of dollars of repair and a chance encounter triggers memories of the abuse, but… I’m still standing; no tears, and not a drop of snot. Instead, all I feel is quiet confidence. That’s how I know… that I KNOW.
“But now says the Lord, He who created you, … ‘Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior…Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you…’” Isaiah 43:1-4.
I know that every word of God is true because every time I have relied on it for direction, searched it for revelation of who God really is, thrown my life on it in desperation, or leaned into it for comfort, I have never been disappointed or come away empty.
I know that God is my healer, because while the internal scars remain, silent witnesses to all I have experienced, every debilitating pain is gone.
I know that God provides because every need has been met, not on my panic-driven timelines, but often in ways I would never have imagined, and with the kind of creativity I could only wish for.
I know that looking back over my life I am overwhelmed by the concrete evidence that God is faithful, He does not have a measuring stick, He loves me beyond all logic or explanation, and what He wants is for me to love Him back, and keep on…just living the thing.