For a long period of time there was drama in my life…I don’t mean little drama. I mean big drama. Divorce, unpaid bills, kids rebelling, house fire, church strife, homelessness…not only big drama, but bad drama. The gossip and pain was humiliating. I hated it.
I would say the number one goal I’ve set over the last fifteen to twenty years is to achieve peace and stability, for myself yes, but mainly for my three babies. Peace and quiet for some people is a very elusive thing. I am one of them. Sometimes it seemed to be one calamity on top of another. At times, it seemed that I would just stand up from one wave when another knocked me down. It’s a gut-wrenching way to live. It’s exhausting to struggle through each and every day, hour by hour. But it taught me a couple of good lessons through the years. Lessons I am grateful for, in spite of how I learned them.
The first is, there is nothing like a painful disaster to put you flat on your face grasping at God’s promises. Desperation equals dependence which equals God. When we are torn in half by struggle and hurt, without fail, we turn back to Him. Over and over. Again and again. It’s when I am closest to Him. He knows it and I know it. I am stubborn by nature. Sometimes it was the only way He could really get my attention. I used to joke that I had prayed for God to let just enough trouble into my life to keep me on my knees, but I quickly gave that particular prayer up when I got blisters from kneeling! Seriously, if I can maintain that kind of closeness to Him when I am living easy days, then I will feel like I have achieved something. He knows me too well. He has to keep me dependent. So I have learned to thank Him, even for the trouble. The trouble He allows always has a purpose!
The second thing is when some relatively peaceful days do come along, I don’t even know how to live them. I am constantly looking over my shoulder, waiting , waiting, waiting, for the next blow to hit. I’ve found out that being happy, settled, and drama free is not a natural state for me. I don’t know how to handle it. I’m not sure how to thrive. I am suspicious of the easy life! I’ve noticed this in a lot of people…they seem to almost anticipate the pain of the next tragedy. They look for the attention and care from others that trouble brings. It becomes a cycle of emotions, almost like drug use or alcoholism. The focus is on dealing with the drama. They have the prayer chains on speed dial! And I know there are some friends and family members who began to cast me as the one that lightening always seemed to strike. They became accustomed to my struggling and couldn’t imagine me in any other state. After a while, normal doesn’t seem natural anymore. Which brings me to the third and most important lesson…
That drama filled life I lived for so long is a sin. Bottom line. No way around it. Those attention seeking, needy, pain-filled days are not what I was created for. The sobbing, middle of the night break downs. The deep heartache and stress. That kind of daily existence is NOT God’s will. Not for me. Not for anyone else. Period. End of story.
God tells me that. Flat out. I have plans for you. Plans to PROSPER you. Actually, I like my translation, which says it this way in Jeremiah: I have plans for your welfare and not for calamity, to give you a future and a hope. You will call upon Me and come and pray to Me and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. Then He goes on to talk about restoring me (which is a whole other page I could write about!) and bringing me back from exile (which is a familiar place I've visited often!). Now read that again. AMAZING! God wants me to prosper. To be restored. He wants me to thrive. I used to think that meant to be happy. But I've come to believe it means to be at peace instead. Peace from drama, pain and turmoil. He wants me to be quiet in my soul. To pray, seek Him and trust Him. He will handle the rest. He’s a big God. A really big God. He's got this! Sometimes we lose sight of that in the middle of the storm we are fighting through.
He wants contentment for me. Instead of focusing on the trouble of the day, He wants me to focus on Him. Things will work out. Trouble passes. Time heals that gut-wrenching pain. I've seen it happen over and over in my life. Problems that seem impossible, insurmountable, overwhelming, eventually just become another chapter in my (rather long and interesting) testimony. Perhaps God can use my story to help someone else through theirs. Perhaps He can use yours. And maybe it’s just one more step on our journey toward a land of milk and honey. A land of prospering and peacefulness. That’s His plan for me. And for you. He said so! He promised.
I read once that real peace is not absence from trouble and heartache. Peace is calmness in your heart and soul in the midst of trouble and heartache. It is knowing that my God is a God of restoration and deliverance from exile. A God that has created that peaceful land of milk and honey in preparation- just to give us something to look forward to. Just for the people like me. People with drama filled earthly lives.
I’m going to love it when I get there! Hope he's got me a big warm milk-filled bathtub full of peace and quiet just waiting!