Back in February, Arlin Yrastorza shared her God-story with us, but we were unable to publish it on the blog at that time. You may remember her poem, Kaleidoscope, which we did publish that week. Here is the story that accompanied that poem.
In Laura Story’s popular song, “Blessings,” she asks a series of questions beginning with “What if?”
“What if your blessing comes through rain drops?
What if your healing comes through tears?
And what if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know He’s near?
What if your greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst
This world can’t satisfy?
And what if the trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are your mercies in disguise?”
These are two powerful words, on both sides of the ledger in life. A few years ago, I went through a stretch of Job-like circumstances. There were, in fact, many sleepless nights. It started with one of my children falling into a dark pit of anxiety and depression for which we had no answers. It seemed to get worse and worse. And it began to engulf our family. At one point the pain of watching the struggle became almost unbearable.
Subsequently, I developed a frozen shoulder, which is a condition that locks up your shoulder joint. It slowly developed into a very painful situation requiring surgery after nine months of therapy. I was put in a shoulder sling on my right side. A few weeks prior to that surgery, I nearly severed the forefinger on my left hand in a kitchen accident which also had required surgery to put both nerves and blood flow back together. That procedure put me in a long cast extending a few inches past my left hand. So there I was, with both my right and left sides shackled. I couldn’t clasp my bra. I couldn’t tie my shoes. I couldn’t drive. I became very dependent on others to help me. I won’t even tell you about how I tried to tackle other feminine hygiene issues.
To further complicate my life, I received confirmation that my marriage was not the storybook marriage I thought it was going to be. I began to take the “what if’s” in my life to their worst possible conclusions.
- “What if . . . my marriage collapses?”
- “What if . . . my child never heals from this anxiety? What if . . . I have done this through my parenting?”
- “What if . . . my body never returns to normal, and this is a foreshadowing of things to come?
- “What if? . . . What if?”
You know, the enemy thrives on this line of thinking. Where there is fear, there is the perfect opportunity for him to distract us and defeat us. I have been a believer a long time, and I knew enough about Truth to know that I could ask for it. So I began to ask God for Truth: truth about myself . . . my marriage . . . my children . . . Himself.
“I am the way, the Truth and the Life,“ Jesus reminds us. Truth is a person—the person of Jesus Christ. His Spirit promises to guide us into all Truth. I remember driving along one day in desperation and in tears, almost in anger, demanding, “God show me the Truth! I know you know it. Give me the Truth!”
I fasted and prayed once a week for several months to have the Truth revealed to me on my situation. And God answered. At the appointed time, He gave me wise counsel. He gave me resources. He gave me courage and hope. He taught me about my inadequacies . . . and about His sufficiency. He taught me about forgiveness, compassion and love. Every time the fear would wake me in the night, I pushed it back with Truth—the Truth that He loves me and that, in His Sovereignty, He has a plan for me, for my children and our marriage . . . “plans to prosper us and not to harm us. Plans to give us a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
Truth is not the enemy, but fear of Truth is. We have a choice. We can stay stuck in our fear or denial, or we can get through the muck and mire and dig through to the bedrock of God’s Truth. We are not to be afraid. In the book of Job, near the end of Job’s trials, God speaks to him in a whirlwind. Twice, He tells him to “dress for action like a man,” and He asks Job a series of outrageous questions that remind us and Job of God’s omnipotent power. Job can only put his hand over his mouth in silence and in awe. When we are in the pit of self pity or fear, we need to be reminded Who is in charge.
Now that I have come through the last couple of years, I can begin to see with new eyes what God is doing. Perspective is everything. He has put our family and marriage back together. He has also healed my body. (I can even do jumping jacks and tie my own shoes!)
And, in His wisdom, He has taught me things that only suffering can teach. Being broken has changed me, humbled me, and taught me a little more compassion. He has shown me that the beauty of a kaleidoscope comes from the broken shards of glass.