2012 was a year full of brokenness. It began with a month of medical leave due to a mastectomy and continued with separation from my ex, filing for divorce, cheering my youngest when he graduated from high school, standing by him when he left a week later for 10 weeks of boot camp, putting a home up for sale, investigating other places and areas to live, being reunited with my son then turning around and getting him to college, and having my debit card hacked three times. Yes it was a year of MANY challenges. I jokingly tell others, after the changes during that time, I should be dead!!! But I survived…
Mark Nepo said it best, “To be broken is no reason to see all things as broken.” And I was definitely broken. It felt like every time I began to stand tall, life beat me up. Sometimes to the point where I was barely crawling toward something I wasn’t sure of, a destination I had no map for and a finish line that was way beyond my sight. It was during that year I learned how to let go and let God. Not easy, to say the least.
Several times, I had heard various Christians speak about how the challenges placed before us are a way to fully trust God and His plan, allow God to carry us through, and let go of control so God’s light can illuminate the way through the darkness. These lessons began to infiltrate my life the day I asked my ex to look at my mastectomy. For a long time, I felt alone in the marriage but I believed my cancer could bring us closer together. Plus, before my diagnosis, my ex had been diagnosed with prostate cancer, making the decision to have his prostate removed. It seemed for a bit, we had gotten closer but after his recovery, things returned to the way they were. However, I figured this bout of cancer would be different. I should have known better. It took my ex three days of excuses before he relented, quickly looked at my scar, and walked away. That day, I realized the relationship was over and I needed to find someone or something else to feed my soul as the food I was receiving was not nourishing at all. I remember sobbing in the shower as I looked at my deformity, thinking how nice it would be to have someone wrap me up in his arms and tell me it would all be okay. But that person was a mirage. At that moment, I was alive and cancer free but lonelier than I have ever felt in my life.
Letting go and letting God actually began the day before my surgery. I prayed I would have no pain. And to this day, despite having a breast cut off, enduring an expander to stretch the skin and scar sight and having reconstructive surgery, I have never had pain, at least in that area. My soul was another matter. To keep it from starving, I began a gratitude journal, listing 1-2 things per day I was thankful for. At the end of each day, as I lay in bed, I said prayers to thank God not only for the good but also the bad. Slowly, God crept in, feeding my soul just enough so I could face each new challenge lurking around the corner. Eventually, God took over and I relished in it. All of a sudden, my worries vanished. My attempt at controlling things burned out. My prayers became mantras of ‘whatever Your will, whatever Your will.’ And on days, when I felt nothing was working, God never hesitated to show Himself, in sunsets, on license plates, in kindness and love of family. My soul…oh it was being fed, night and day and the feast was glorious!!!
In my loneliest times, I was never alone. God was always there, standing in the wings patiently waiting…waiting for me…waiting for me to get on my knees, open my arms and let Him in…let Him in my heart…let Him in my soul.
Looking back I realize my life is 99% God, and 1% me. Without Him, I would have surely lost my way and never been found. Without Him, I would not have realized how every day is a blessing, despite circumstances. And without Him, my soul would have become anorexic and died. Yes, worries still creep in, doubts hover near by and challenges lurk, however, I know I am not alone nor ever will be. The first thing I did when I moved into my apartment was put up this quote
Faith is the strength by which a shattered world
shall emerge into the light.
Recently I added this quote…
Pray about everything.
Worry about nothing.
For a long time, my life was shattered, my heart broken, my soul starving…but no more. For I am eating God’s buffet of soul food and savoring each bite.
(This post was inspired by show I was watching about Soul Food restaurants in Texas.)