I will open rivers in high places, and fountains in the midst of the valleys: I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water. – Isaiah 41:18 KJV
Two years and one week ago, I wrote a blog post called, “When God Takes Away.” When I wrote this, I was coming out of a dark season in my life following a difficult breakup. When referring to the breakup in previous blog posts, I shared that I was deeply hurt, but I never conveyed how hurt.
That season of my life was without a doubt the most difficult and painful I had ever experienced. It was after the end of relationship that I had placed all of my hopes and dreams into (bad idea), believing that the guy was “the one” for me. We made our relationship a huge idol in our lives and we disobeyed God. If you’ve read the Old Testament, you know that God doesn’t take too well to idols. Well since writing it, I have received numerous emails from people going through similar experiences coupled with deep pain. My advice for them is usually to do all of the things I wrote about: seek God with everything through prayer and study of the Word, join a community of Christians who are seeking God, don’t go backwards to open the door God closed and to understand that healing is a journey. Having been in that place myself, I saw how vital each of those actions were for my own growth and healing. But three years later, I believe that is is time for me to share how the story ends. What happens after God takes away? How does life change after you seek God in the valley? What can someone in a dark place look forward to? More than anything, I want everyone to know that although seasons become dark, there is hope.
Hope is without a doubt what got me through the toughest days. I had hope that my pain would subside. I had hope that my joy would be restored. I had hope that one day, I would look back at the situation and smile. And you know what? That is exactly what happened. However, It didn’t happen overnight. It took a long time before I could really say that I had joy. It took many prayers, many tears, many conversations with trusted friends and many comforting scriptures. It also took much self-evaluation. However, Jesus was there through every step of the way comforting me, loving me and reminding me that He was still in control. I found great comfort in the fact that Jesus foresaw the pain I would experience and allowed me to experience it. Because of this, I knew that I would be okay.
So two years later, what does my life look like? What should one who is in the valley look forward to? Does life get better after God takes away? Absolutely.
- Right now, I am 25 years old. I love God SO much! Not just because of where He has brought me from, but because of who His is. I am not perfect, but I aim to please Him. I am in awe of God’s love and His grace. I can even say that I love myself. I’m not sure if I could have honestly said that a couple years ago. And, I am still pursuing God. I still want to know more about Him!
- Career wise, I am doing what God made me to do. Although my job is not easy, things are going well in my career and I am actually pursuing another degree very soon to further my knowledge! I love that I am doing significant work that changes the lives of children for the better.
- I am surrounded by that same incredible community of friends who labored with me during my dark season. A few months back, I was able to witness one of my best friends marry the love of her life. I cried as she walked down the aisle simply because God is faithful. My community is incredible and I love those who are apart of it.
- I am still cultivating faithfulness! It is hard, but it is so worth it. Some areas that I have worked to cultivate most recently are my finances, my health and my attitude. I am still very intentional about being the best version of myself. I can honestly say that I have grown SO much in the last two years. I will never stop pursuing excellence.
- I am also in a relationship. For a little over a year, I’ve been dating my best friend who loves me in a way I didn’t know possible. He is patient, loving, generous, a servant-leader, integrous, cultivating faithfulness and most importantly, pursuing God. He pursues and protects me, which shows me that he values me very much. Besides those men who have loved me like a daughter, he is the most incredible man I know and I feel SO blessed to be loved by him. 🙂
- I am in a much better place with my family. Over the past two years, God has opened doors for me to restore many relationships within my family. I am a firm believer that charity starts at home so I am thankful that God has allowed me to grow closer to those He has bound me to for life.
- I have joy. I truly believe that in life, we can’t control what happens to us, but we can control our response. I will be honest, I do panic and get stressed. I take things to heart. I have rough days (I’m entitled — I work in a middle school 🙂 ). However, I know that God is in control so I won’t be shaken. Regardless of what comes or what goes, God is good and He’s working all things out for my good and for His glory.
- Lastly, I have learned what not to do. There is something good about pain in that it teaches us how to avoid it. Scars are reminders of past pain that allow us to see the effects of the choices we made. I am thankful for the past pain and the scars because now obedience is much more valuable to me. I have learned that if I obey God and keep Him in His right place, I am less likely to be hurt in the same way that I was hurt before. I now understand too that the best way to love someone is to love God more than them. When you love God, that loves overflows into your interactions with others, including your significant other. My joy no longer comes from the fact that I have someone to talk to on the phone or hang out with; it comes from the fact that I am loved perfectly by my Father.
With that being said, I don’t want anyone to look at my life and think “she loves God because her life is good right now.” That isn’t the case. My life has ups and downs just like everyone else’s. I love God because He loves me. I love God because He is great. I love God because while I’ve sinned without regret, He thought I was worth redeeming. My love for God is not rooted in what I have, but in who He is. I’ve seen Him redeem the most painful time in my life and turn it into something beautiful. He’s made ALL of my deserts into rivers of joy. For the last 3 years, I’ve held tightly to Isaiah 61. Way back when I started this blog, I had faith that He could turn my ashes into beauty, and He did. So if you are in the toughest season of your life, know that this is not it for you! Remember that this season is temporary and that God is there with you, even in the valley. Just like there was hope for me, there is hope for you. Hope’s name is Jesus. If He could pull me out of my dark place, I know that He can do that for you, too.
So again, know that life does get better! Stay faithful, keep pursuing God and know that this pain will soon be a distant memory. And even more wonderful than that, one day we’ll be reunited with the Lover of our souls and all memory of things that happened here will be passed away. There will be joy ever more! More than anything, I await that day.
With love and hope,