Out of the Rubble Rises Hope
Do you remember this picture of the beams from within the World Trade Center in the aftermath of the attacks on 9/11? I do. And for me it meant that God Reigns. It meant that what was done in hate, God would use for good. The stories of those who never made it to the Towers that day, the stories of those who missed flights, the stories of those who fought to protect others they didn't know and sacrificed themselves in order to do so...those are the stories that remind me that while almost 3,000 people perished during the attacks that occurred that day, there were between 14,000 and 19,000 in the Towers alone on that day which means that many more survived. The devastation those who coordinated the attacks could have been far greater. Instead, there were many blessings to be had, there was unity, there was community, there was a shift that occurred in the world and an alignment of the people...the survivors. While we weren't all at the points of destruction, we were all survivors of the attack against our people. God's people.
This post is not about 9/11 specifically, but it is about hope that rises out of circumstances that are out of our control. So much happens that we aren't in control of...things done to us, things that others do that impact us, things that we are powerless against. In the midst of those things, there is something we can do. We can choose how we react to it. We can choose who we become following those things. We can be like the Phoenix and rise out of the ashes of things that were meant for harm and we can embrace the good in the midst of the circumstances we find ourselves.
While I would have never asked to to have my parents' divorce put me in the role of caretaker, or to have ADHD, or to have been abandoned or sexually abused, all of those things have contributed to the woman I have become. And I like me just as I am and enjoy seeing how these things that hurt me or made my life more challenging, are now being used for good.
My experiences have allowed me to connect with other women who've had experiences in their lives and tell them there is hope, there is healing, there is forgiveness of ourselves and the perpetrators of these crimes against us...and there is freedom when you stop being a victim and start embracing this life just as it is.
Taking responsibility for my brother and sisters has taught me to be a great manager, a leader, to have compassion for others, to see perspectives outside my own, to love deeply.
Having ADHD has allowed me to create processes and methods of doing things in order to enable my success. I see things logically and emotionally. I have a sequential and ordered method of thinking. I am not immobilized by needing to make a decision quickly because I can take in and process a lot all at once. I can understand the challenges my children are going through and that they need to learn from doing and living and not just by telling them how to do something.
When I was in the midst of these storms, though, I could not see my hope and my future. Giving our pasts attention is beneficial only when we can look back on it and see what we've come from, what we've learned, how we've grown, how we've mattered in the lives of another. Not by focusing on the things that we cannot change or the things we haven't done or wish we'd done differently. The past is just that and cannot be changed. We can change how we view those events and embrace who we've become thanks to those what we've gone through. It doesn't make those things good or right, but it allows us to accept that God can make all things good. He can be the redemptive force in our lives and show us that it is truly through Him that is possible.
The things that have hurt me the deepest, have taught me the most. As God says in Isaiah 48:10, "I have refined you, but not as silver is refined. Rather, I have refined you in the furnace of suffering." (NLT) My mom used to apologize to me for the things that happened in my past. The things she wasn't. The times she didn't fight for me. The times she was absent. The thing is, I wouldn't be the woman I am if it she had been all those things. I wouldn't have learned to fight for myself or to overcome challenges. I wouldn't have left home to go to OU and learn that I am more. I wouldn't have left for the Navy and found the structure and family I so desperately desired. I would have left my family when things got really difficult with Matthew instead of fighting desperately for him. I would have left my ex early on and missed out on the blessings Noah and Gabby are in my life and probably had other struggles. My life has not been an easy one. And I know others have had far worse.
I cannot fix what happened to you, but I can tell you that your Father can redeem the worst things into something glorious. Meet Him right where you are. Pour out your heart to Him. Tell Him all that has hurt you, angered you, kept you from being all that He meant for you to be...clean your slate with the blood of the cross and embrace everything He has to offer. Trust me that it is so much more than you could ever ask or imagine. Just remember that His time is not the same as our own and just as it took time to become the people we are now, it will take time to become the woman (or man) He intends for you to be. Keep seeking with all your hear, and you will find Him. Embrace the hope of a future that can rise out of the rubble of your past.