August 10, 2016
I recently joined a book club with some sweet friends from church. It's hysterical, I know, the girl with the self-proclaimed book ADD, joining a club where you're actually supposed to finish the book by the next meeting. So far, I'm 0/2. BUT I will finish our most recent one - about two French sisters fighting for their country and their lives in WW2 (The Nightingale) - because it is one of the best books I've read in a long time. The opening sentence of the book is a stunner.
"If I've learned anything in this long life of mine, it is this: In love we find out who we want to be; in war we find out who we are."
Obviously, this line is referencing an actual war where many people lost their lives, but it still heavily resonates with me, because everyone goes through their own version of war at some point.
Wars come in their own shapes and sizes and no one is safe from their discrimination. They look like addiction. They look like the death of a loved one. They look like divorce. They look like illness. They look like infertility. They look like rejection. With them they can bring pain, sorrow, loss, grief, trauma, confusion, anger, and depression. And that place of war is such a gut-wrenching place to be in. It legitimately feels like you are in the middle of the wilderness. You're so far into the darkest, dirtiest, coldest woods and you don't know which direction could even begin to lead you out. It is heartbreaking.
Even so, there is still good news.
There has been sadness around me lately and I've been carrying a pretty heavy heart. We all know that I have ALL OF THE FEELINGS (enough for you and you and even you), so when I'm dealing with even the smallest bit of sadness, my empathy for others accelerates that much more. I literally do weep with those who weep. So when I tell you that there is good news, don't brush me off or roll your eyes. I am often sharing this good news just as much for myself as I am for you.
The Lord your God who goes before you will himself fight for you, just as he did for you in Egypt before your eyes, and in the wilderness, where you have seen how the Lord your God carried you, as a man carries his son, all the way that you went until you came to this place. -Deuteronomy 1:30-31
Sometimes (oftentimes) I struggle with TRUSTING these words just as much as you do, but the imagery here is so impactful. I imagine a hurting child being carried by his father. Depending on the depth of my wilderness at the time, sometimes that child is kicking and screaming, pounding on his father's chest, and sometimes that child is simply curled up in his father's arms.
And even when these words are hard to truly believe - even when you may know them but you cannot feel them - they are still there and they are still true. I wrote this article when I was on the brink of coming out of the biggest war I had ever known. Going back and reading it and seeing the healing that has come since then is merely one way I know God's words to be true. Another thing I know to be true is that as you fight this battle you've currently found yourself in, you are being refined. There is nothing like a war to find out who you are at the depths of your being and to find out how strong you are. You will come out better. You will rise stronger.
Whatever your war is, friends, take it to God. I don't care if you're kicking and screaming or curled up in a ball because that's all you can muster at this moment, take it to Him. He deeply and wonderfully cares for you. Even when it hasn't felt like it, he has gone before you to prepare a way. And when that path is terrifyingly difficult to walk down on your own two feet, He will carry you.