A lot can happen in a year…
You can start a new job,
Switch university majors,
And end relationships,
Take up a new hobby,
And heal the broken areas inside yourself.
Yes, a lot can happen in a year.
When I look back on the past year, I no longer see it as a heart-rending period filled with what felt like a continual taking away of what I loved. Instead, I understand that God was using that time of breaking as a way to rebuild me. Only when I was laid bare by heartache and left vulnerable by sorrow was I able to come to terms with the simple (yet infinitely hard) truth that sometimes the breaking is purposeful.
There is always a purpose within the pain, a plan for the heartache, and an outcome grander than we could ever imagine. However, sometimes it takes us a while to be able to see past the grief to the beauty of what God is creating within us. He takes the broken pieces, the scattered shards of our hearts, and the fragmented dreams, and rebuilds them into something more glorious than we could ever hope for. When we look at the beautiful thing God has formed out of our ashes, we can see the reason for the aching, and one day we will be able to thank God for breaking us when he did because we are more beautiful because of it.
If I had not broken my ankle last year, I would be in an entirely different place right now, living as a very different individual, both emotionally and spiritually. I was heading down a path where I found myself making huge life-changing decisions for all the wrong reasons, and rather than trusting and leaning into God I was going through life on my own strength. For a long time, I refused to listen to the warning bells going off around me and kept pushing forward towards what I wanted to do. I refused to talk with God about what I was doing, read the Bible for guidance, or seek God’s will for my life. It took a physical breaking to get my attention and stop me from going down a path I wasn’t meant to travel.
In and amongst those first months of physical, emotional, and spiritual loss, I felt like I could no longer trust God because he has taken away everything that I loved. I asked myself, “How could a God who cares about me allow so many painful things to happen to me?” And so as I let my heart turn cold from grief, and I put up a cleverly crafted façade that gave the illusion that I had moved through my pain. I resigned myself to the idea that I was forever stuck in my hurt, so I might as well make the most of it. I never once took a moment to consider that maybe, just maybe, something beautiful was going to grow out of my heartache.
Looking back now, I continually offer up Thank You’s to God for the work he has done in my life this past year. Through the pain, he brought me to a place of deeper relationship with him, he ignited new passions within my soul, and he brought me to a place of healing. Above all, throughout this year I have learned that once we see past the hurt of the taking, we are able to see the hand of God moving in our lives. Sometimes it is a gentle redirection, and other times it is a sudden ending of the road. My breaking was necessary to bring me back to a place of continual reliance upon and relationship with God. My hope and prayer is that the next time it feels like my world is falling apart, I can look past the pain and turn my eyes towards heaven to see God rebuilding and creating something new within me. It’s true what they say, God does move in mysterious ways, and oh how I’m growing to love them! May you also grow to see the beauty and purpose of the creating and the breaking.