“It wasn’t long after that I began to notice the beauty of where I was, and how there were things I was finding in that place that you can’t really find other places in life.”
What a difference 4 years makes! I remember exactly how I felt when I took this photo on the way to work early one morning. I stopped in the middle of a country road, a deer in the field in on the left of me breathing steam out of its nostrils staring at my car after running across the road in front of me.
It was the interruption of the deer that made me actually slow down and notice the sunrise.
The sun rises.
On our best days. On our worst days. Throughout our best seasons. Every day of our worst ones, too.
For me, this was the long season where I fell asleep many nights listening to worship music on my phone because it was the only peace I could find and I was praying God would speak to me about where I was in my life and career.
I knew the end of that hard season was getting close, but I was so focused on just getting through it that I had failed to recognize life was still happening around me and that I could find joy in where I was, even without answers to my prayers.
It wasn’t long after that I began to notice the beauty of where I was, and how there were things I was finding in that place that you can’t really find other places in life. I began to learn more and more about practicing gratitude and thankfulness, and also about counting my gains instead of my losses.
Gains instead of losses…
What I didn’t know is that there were a ton of losses in front of me that would happen the very next year. Hard losses. I lost those I thought were lifelong comrades in the same journey, and we lost part of our family who turned on us–sharply. I lost control of my health and had to later have an important organ removed. I was robbed of earned vacation days by an employer who cheated me out of it, and the same employer robbed me of leaving honorably (along with pay) despite resigning professionally and respectfully from a toxic work environment. We watched our daughter have her heart shredded while feeling helpless in trying to stop the bleeding, I spent many nights awake worrying about her well being or holding her in my lap, and so much more.
But then, God showed up. In the night. In the day. In the middle of our pain. Showing us He would never turn on us or forsake us.
That same year of losses turned into the most amazing blessings of our lives. We kept track of them on pieces of paper in a jar, as God showed us how He could redeem anything we gave Him to care for, turning our losses into gain.
My husband launched into his business full-time that year after working endlessly for 9 years, and he did it successfully. God brought him customer after customer and it has never stopped.
Our hearts got healed of deep pain. My daughter got healed of a severe gluten allergy.
Our family of four worked out some serious dysfunctional dynamics and learned to forgive and be there for each other. We all learned to love each other better. Our marriage got stronger. Steven and I learned to be best friends and to hold each other through the pain we were experiencing watching our daughter suffer such great loss.
I got set free of being afraid of authority in business, and a people-pleaser (that one is still in process). I got launched, after incredible disappointment when a new job did not turn out the way I hoped (thank God), into the most amazing space of my career and the best pay and benefits I have ever imagined.
We finally found our church tribe, and we love them.
And, we got the most amazing son in law, who I can’t imagine our lives being without.
This photo was a sign of what was on the horizon that morning, and I wouldn’t have even noticed it without the interruption of the deer running across the road…sometimes it’s the interruptions that remind us to stay alive through the long night of hard things.
If we don’t lose heart, then like every other day we are greeted again by the way the light walks into the darkness.
Because God will always show up and lead us out of our night. Always.