Over the past few months I have had the fantastic joy and privilege to get to know so many new people. I have been really blessed as people have just opened up their lives and given me an insight into their journey so far. What has amazed me is that not one person has had an easy life…something that I think we all aspire to have. Every person that I have met has had their own fair share of heartaches, disappointments and moments where the bottom of their world has just fell away. But here they are, standing, smiling, stronger as a result of their past, honest and true as to who they are. I have been married twice; both abusive relationships; that ended. Yet I was left with the shame of my own world not working out in the perfect way that I had planned. I carry the hurt and pain for both myself and my three children.
But what is perfect? The media sell us an image of a perfect family and a perfect fulfilled life and we can walk away feeling that our life amounts to nothing. That we are less than perfect. Our expectations are high and we fail to meet them and so we beat ourselves up and hang our heads in shame.
Life is full of storms, full of ups and downs. However each storm grows us and makes us stronger. But my life is continually stormy, I hear you say. I used to think that. Over the past few days I’ve been thinking and praying a lot about storms. Do I create them or are they there to stretch me and grow me? The truth is we have been given free will. Very often we can control the storms in our lives. We can choose to not listen to that piece of gossip that will inflame the situation. We can choose to listen to the right voices. We can choice to surround ourselves with people that will come alongside and help us when we are amidst a storm. We can choose the fights that we pick…we do not need to win them all.
The people that I’ve met all believe in God….the God of grace; the God of second chances; the God of mercy; the God of compassion; the God who can fill that hole in your heart that life just simply can’t. The bible is full of so many of God’s promises…365…one for each day of the year. God promises that He collects your tears and bottles them all up….not a single heartache filled tear is lost or gone unnoticed. He is the God who knows. He is the God who restores. He is the God who heals. He tells us not to worry about anything, but to simply pray. One of my favourite verses says “Don’t be afraid. Just stand still and watch the Lord rescue you today…..the Lord himself will fight for you. Just stay calm.” What a promise!!! How amazing is that. We don’t need to fight when life beats us up. Just try standing still and praying and watch God move in your life.