Friday, September 14, 2012

I Didn't Know What I Didn't Know

While waiting to pick my son up from school yesterday, a song came on the radio that I've heard only once before.  It moved me so much the first time that I pulled my car over, scrounged around for a piece of paper and pen, and hurriedly jotted down the lyrics so I wouldn't forget them.  I carried that piece of paper in my purse for months.  Laura Story's song, "Blessings."

"What if your blessings come through raindrops?
What if your healing comes through tears?
What if 1000 sleepless nights are what it takes to know You're near?
And what if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise?"

Deep...

I've been getting message after message the past few days about sadness.  But not in the "boy, life stinks...there's so much sadness around me" type of way.  Instead it has been in the "through our sadness we are able to find Him" kind of way.

I was talking to my best friend the other day.  She had sent me an article entitled, "The Unexpected Gift of Sadness."  Part of the article read:

"In all of our lives, the question is not if we will experience loss and pain and feel sadness, but how will we respond when we do? ...On a list of emotions we try to avoid, sadness often tops the list. Yet not only is feeling sad normal, it’s a gift from God. Sadness prompts us to pray, reminds us that we need others, calls us to be honest with ourselves and God, and creates compassion for others in our hearts."
 
This truly spoke to me.  Of course, we will experience pain and sadness. 
It's part of life:
sickness...
loss...
financial hardship...
even death.
But how do we deal with it when we are faced with it? 
Where will we turn? 
Will we blame?
Will we languish in despair?
Will we cover our heads and hide?
Will we pretend we're not hurt and win an Oscar for our ability to tamp down the pain with false cheer?
 
I did all of these things for years. 
I blamed God or my past; my parents or my husband; my grocer or my mailman...whoever I could in an effort to prevent facing reality.
I put on a good show for friends, families, neighbors, students, God -
and believe me, no one could ever accuse me of being less than stellar in my acting abilities -
all the while sinking deeper and deeper into the depths of despair.
I did these and other things until I found myself so low, so anxious, so depressed, so buried...
I thought I would never be able to come out of it.
 
Now I recognize the very depths of this sadness for what it truly was -
An invitation from my Father to lean totally on Him.
For care and healing.
For forgiveness and acceptance.
For a new path and a new life.
For everything.
 
I told my friend while we were discussing this topic,
"I didn't know what I didn't know."
As she smiled in understanding, I knew she, too, understood.
 
All those years I thought I was faithful...
Thought I was in tune with His grace...
Thought I had a hotline to Heaven.
Thought that I wanted His help.
But my persistence in trying to control everything in my life was evidence that I didn't know what I didn't know.
I didn't really know trust.
I didn't really know faith.
I didn't really know...well...
 
...Him.
 
I am beyond grateful now for these trials.
They are a blessing.
They were my Heavenly invitation to change.
A real "do-over" opportunity.
The sadness was an unexpected gift after all.
 
I invite you today to look at your current trials and sadness...
Challenges and family issues...
Questions and problems...
As what they may actually be.
 
An invitation to change and believe.
An opportunity to lean into Him, not away from Him.
An opportunity to discover that, as I once did,  
you might not know what you might not know.
An invitation to a "do-over" with Him leading the way.

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