Thursday, May 3, 2012

A Grace Disguised

There's a part of my life that I am very open with. In fact, I've always considered myself good at talking about circumstances, but not always very good at talking about what's going in my heart. Two years ago, a new chapter began in my life: my family broke apart, and I've begun to manoeuvre my way through the broken remains. And I'm doing that ... one day at a time. And to be truthful, I've talked a lot about it: I've talked to therapists and to close friends. I've shared, but I've also held back.

But lately, I've been reflecting a lot on this chapter in my life. I've thought a lot about the day it all began; I've thought of the journey I've taken from that dark night to where I am now. I've thought of the growth, of the heartache, of the anger, and of the many backwards steps I've taken. I've wrestled with memories that I want to hold onto, but hold so much pain I push them aside. But of all these things, I've challenged myself to see the beauty that has come out of this brokenness.

The other day, I met with a friend who was journeying through a breakup. And through the conversation, I felt myself drawing near to her in her pain .... because although our pain and loss is unique to each of us, there's such a huge overarching theme. Pain is pain. Grief is grief. Loss is loss. And when we've experienced that, it allows us to meet others in the depths of their sorrow.

And as I sat there in that coffee shop, I was immensely grateful. Because although every day I wish my family was whole, I can take so much from my journey.

I am so thankful that this path I'm on has enabled me to walk alongside others in their journeys.

I'm so thankful I know what it means to grieve; because I can understand others so much better now.

I'm so thankful that I've learned that sorrow can enlarge your soul; that it can make you learn what it means to truly feel both sadness and joy.

When I see others hurting, when I see others grappling with loss, I just want them to know that when God says all things work together for His good, He doesn't mean that what happened was okay, or even should have happened. But He will USE bad things for His glory. He can turn what was literally intended as a curse into a blessing. He can show you how joy does not mean the absence of sorrow! In fact, joy and sorrow seem to go alongside one another ... for He calls us who mourn blessed. 

This past year I read one of the best books I have ever read, A Grace Disguised by Jerry Sittser. His book is profound. Through his loss, he reaches into others' souls ... and allows them to see the grace that shines through loss. And I hope that in some small way, that light shines through me ... that Christ's redemption shines through every circumstance. Here is one of my favorite quotes from his book.

“Gifts of grace come to all of us. But we must be ready to see and willing to receive these gifts. It will require a kind of sacrifice, the sacrifice of believing that, however painful our losses, life can still be good — good in a different way then before, but nevertheless good. I will never recover from my loss and I will never got over missing the ones I lost. But I still cherish life. . . . I will always want the ones I lost back again. I long for them with all my soul. But I still celebrate the life I have found because they are gone. I have lost, but I have also gained. I lost the world I loved, but I gained a deeper awareness of grace. That grace has enabled me to clarify my purpose in life and rediscover the wonder of the present moment.” 

I have lost the world I loved, but in that loss, I too have found a deeper awareness of grace. And for that, I am so very thankful.

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