Living in the Aftermath
Last night my husband and I had a conversation with my brother about trust. As my brother shared his thoughts he quoted this verse from Jeremiah 17:7, "Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose trust is the LORD,” (ESV). I think our conversation set me up for my thoughts this morning.
I've recently walked out of a 5-year struggle. My husband and I were warned before we began this season of our journey that we were entering a challenging time, but we had no idea it would last as long as it did.
I can't describe the moment with specific detail, but there was a moment when I knew the season was over. I felt the shift. But it hasn’t been an overnight transition. Instead, it has been like the transition from winter to spring. Though we have a day we identify as the first day of Spring, we don't go to bed one night while it's still winter then wake up the next morning to spring color and blooms. The movement from dormancy to vibrancy takes time. My changeover has been like that. However, in the moment when I realized things were changing, I did think I would experience an overnight difference. I thought to myself, "It's over, and it's finally a new day." But I was wrong. The change has not been a quick work at all. Instead, I've been living in the aftermath.
I’ve found some unexpected debris in the aftermath. Self-doubt used to not be a formidable presence. I've experienced many self-doubt moments, like most do, but in the past those moments were never part of my daily struggle like they are now. Before now second-guessing, distrusting, and bubble-living didn't define me. But I've discovered these attributes have become comfort zones I'm constantly challenged with overcoming. I used to not be as familiar with anxiety and depression. Though I've had momentary experiences with these emotional struggles throughout my life, I've never before been able to identify with their controlling impact. But now I understand.
These thoughts I'm sharing with you were prompted by the scenery I observed today while out on my morning walk.
Hurricane Harvey impacted me as well as my neighborhood. But the impact on me was much less than the impact on most of my neighbors. My son lost his car, and my family and I were displaced for a few days, but that is the extent of my personal losses. Many of my neighbors, however, lost most of their belongings. And over the past weeks since Harvey, like many Houstonians, my neighbors have been cleaning and restoring and throwing their life collections out on the curb. I see their stuff piled higher each day when I walk past their houses. Trucks have been driving through my neighborhood this week picking up the debris. Though the storm has ceased, and the water has receded, for many the struggle still isn't over.
I didn't lose much, so my ability to identify with my neighbors' material loss is limited. But I do identify on another level. As I look at their circumstances I connect mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Their mess looks like how I feel. A “storm” showed up out of nowhere and took control of my life. The storm is over, but now I feel like my mental, emotional, and spiritual "life collections" have been pulled out of my soul and piled on the curb. I feel like I've been frantically digging through what I should keep and what I should throw away for my safety's sake. And it feels like great loss. I have many positive memories of my wins, yet I'm finding stuff with which the storm has wreaked havoc. I understand my need to rid myself of these things that have been destroyed, I know the storm is over, and I know it's a new season, yet the struggle is still there and still very real.
But my brother reminded me last night of the valuables I've been able to keep and the valuables I've gained through both the storm and its aftermath. As my brother shared his thoughts I recalled all of the little things that have given me hope. And I realized how hope has become my most valuable collection and gain. Hope is more to me than just something to look forward to; hope is my trust. And my trust is in the Lord and is the Lord.
Living in the aftermath has produced more struggle in my life, but it has also produced my greatest blessing.