The beauty in the Becoming

Sometimes we go through things. Horrible, terrible, incredibly painful things. Things that turn our world upside down. Things that make our heads spin and our hearts break until we’ve lost our equilibrium and nothing seems real, and we don’t know how we got there or how to escape it. Things that we want to wish away, or at the very least be wiped from our memories so we can wake up unshattered, in the world we once knew, as though it never happened. We want so desperately to understand why, or even how we ended up here, in this terrible dark place. Things like sickness, loss of a loved one, or as in my case, betrayal.

We’ve always tried to do what’s right. We put others before ourselves. We have tried to be an overall good person in general. We didn’t deserve this awful thing, you and I. We didn’t ask for this. We had no say in it, no control over it. We didn’t cause it. And the worst thing of all, is that there was absolutely nothing we could do to stop it.

We have a story now. A story that, when we tell it, feels so foreign to us that we have to remind ourselves that it’s actually our story. That we aren’t talking about someone else. It’s our story, and we didn’t want it. But it’s ours nonetheless, and we have no idea what to do with it. We have no idea how to survive it.

What we can’t see is that through our heartache, through this story that we did not want, God gives us purpose. Through this awful thing, we are being transformed. In our weakness, He is strong.

2 Corinthians 12:9  But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

There is beauty in our weakness, because there is beauty in His strength.

He is growing our character. We are becoming. Becoming who we have always been. What’s always existed inside of us, but we’ve never known we could be because we have listened to the lies that we have believed about ourselves for too long. We are becoming the people we were always supposed to be.

Romans 5:1-5  Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through Him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. More than that , we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame. Because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.

There is beauty in our becoming.

The very pain that feels as if it is tearing us apart is being used to build us up, to bring healing. It is in our unmaking that He brings us not only the healing that we knew we needed, but healing so deep we didn’t even know we needed it.

Hosea 6:1  Come, let us return to the Lord; for He has torn us, that He may heal us; He has struck us down, and He will bind us up.

Psalm  147:3  He heals the broken hearted and binds up their wounds.

There is beauty in His healing.

When we find ourselves crumpled and sobbing on the floor, so overwhelmed by our grief that we can not contain our sorrow, He weeps with us. He loves us so much that our pain is His pain.

Isaiah 53:4  Surely He has borne our sufferings and carried our sorrows.

Psalm 56:8  You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.

There is beauty in His love for us.

When we feel we just don’t have the strength to make it through the day, when we don’t have the strength to pick ourselves up and keep moving forward, He gives us strength.

Psalm 37:39  But the salvation of the righteous is from the Lord: He is their strength in time of trouble.

Psalm 138:3  In the day when I cried out,You answered me, and made me bold with strength in my soul.

Philippians 4:13  I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

There is beauty in His strength.

In the moments that our hearts feel broken and shattered beyond repair, He is with us.

Psalm 34:18  The Lord is near to the brokenhearted, and saves those whose spirits are crushed.

Psalm 23:4  Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me: your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

There is beauty in His presence.

When it seems your world has crumbled around you, when you’re in the pit of despair, when sacred promises are broken and you feel dishonored and insignificant and you desperately long for joy; He promises to restore it to you.

Isaiah 61:7  Instead of your shame there shall be a double portion: instead of dishonor they shall rejoice in their lot: therefore in their land they shall possess a double portion: they shall have everlasting joy.

John 16:22  So all you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.

Psalm 30:5  Weeping may  tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.

There is beauty in His restoration.

In our moments of worry, when we have uncertainty about what the future holds for us, we can find peace in His promises.

John 10:10  The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy, I came that they may have life and have it more abundantly.

Jeremiah 29:11  For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Jeremiah 33:3  Call to me and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know.

Isaiah 61:1-3  The spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion. To bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.

Hebrews 10:35 Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. for you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God, you may receive what was promised.

There is beauty in His promises.

There are times when terrible thoughts and memories flood your mind like a tidal wave of torment that never seems to end, and the pain spreads through every corner of your being, and the heaviness of it all feels like it’s crushing you until you can hardly breathe.

Psalm 55:22  Give your worries to the Lord, and He will care for you. he will never let those who are good be defeated.

Isaiah 65:17  For behold, I create a new heavens and a new earth, and the former things shall not be remembered or come into mind.

Matthew 5:4  Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

There is beauty in His comfort.

When you don’t know how to forgive the one that hurt you, when you realize that you don’t even know what it means, to forgive something that is so hard to forget; He shows us how to forgive.

Ephesians 4:32  Be kind to one another, tender hearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.

Luke 6:36  Give love and mercy the same as your Father gives love and mercy.

Colossians 3:12-14  Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility,meekness and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other, as the Lord has forgiven you, so you must also forgive. And above all these put on love,  which binds everything together in perfect harmony.

1 Peter 4:8 Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.

There is beauty in forgiveness.

It is a blessing when you allow yourself to see that God can take what was meant to utterly destroy you and instead turn it around and give you purpose. It is a blessing to see Him use it to give you the desires of your heart, which in my case were to be loved, valued, no longer taken for granted. To see my husband freed from bondage and made capable of loving me with his whole heart.

Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work  together for good to those that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.

Genesis 50:20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.

There is beauty in His gifts.

By the testimony of my trials,I can give hope to others.

2 Corinthians 1:3-4  Blessed be God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble by the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

There is beauty in our testimony.

We can be thankful for all the people God has provided to help us, for all the love He surrounds us with, for His comfort and His voice, for His wisdom and discernment, for His provision and His faithfulness. We can be  thankful for the positive changes that have been born from our negative circumstances. We can be thankful for the beautiful future He promises to give us.

There is beauty in our gratitude.

We can trust in the fact that He is good. That no matter our circumstances, no matter which path we choose, as long as we keep our focus on Him we will be ok, because He has so much goodness for us. Even though all of our stories may find different endings; maybe your circumstances won’t see the same changes mine have, maybe your marriage  or whatever other situation you have hasn’t yet been or possibly won’t be restored. But you can rest assured that there is goodness ahead for you. And the goodness you find will be God’s very best for you.

Psalm 23:6  Surely Your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.

There is beauty in His goodness.

In our worst moments, we can choose to let it destroy us. We can let the pain overtake us and the hate consume us. We can listen to the lies of the tormentor who reminds us daily of our pain and tells us we will never recover. Or we can ask God to lead us through it. We can ask what He wants us to learn from it and how He wants to use it. We can ask Him to give it purpose. We can choose to let Him transform us. We can focus on the pain, or we can look for the beauty. Because through it all we are becoming more like Him, and what could be more beautiful than that?

Ephesians 5:1-2 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. and walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

John 4:17  By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgement, because as He is so also are we in this world.

There is beauty in the becoming.

I have said that sometimes  I wish I could wake up in my old life. Before all of the bad stuff. But the truth is, that life wasn’t God’s best for me. I always knew He loved me, but it was only by going through this terrible time that I came to know the depth of His love for me. He showed up for me in a big way, and I felt His presence and heard His voice in a way I’ve never known before. In that way, the absolute worst and darkest time of my life was also the sweetest. Because of the way He drew me in. Because of the people He surrounded me with and the love He poured out on me through them. And in the way He gave Jeff a new heart, and set him free.

Ezekiel 36:26 I will take away your stubborn heart and give you a new heart and a desire to be faithful. You will have only pure thoughts.

There is beauty in His redemption.

I can see that God allowed us to go through it, and although it pained Him to let it unfold, He knew that we would be blessed because of it. Blessed with a deeper relationship with Him and a truer relationship with each other. So while I can’t say I am thankful for all the terrible things that happened, I can say I am thankful for how God used it to change our lives for the better. While I still have painful moments when I am reminded of the events of the past, and there are days when my heart still feels broken; I know that for every moment of pain, for everything that was taken from me, He will replace it with a double portion. Not only will I have what was stolen, but it will be replaced with something better. Something I never could have imagined. I know because of His indescribable love for me, every ounce of my pain will be replaced by a double portion of joy.

The more I look for God’s goodness, the more I find it. Maybe you are at a place in your own journey where you feel like you can’t see it yet. But it’s there if you will just look for it. Maybe you will see it first in the smallest things. The smallest acts of kindness or the smallest  blessing. Anything that makes your day just a little easier. When you do that, you begin to find His goodness everywhere, and in everything. And the more we focus on His goodness, the less apparent the pain becomes. In those moments that we begin to feel the heaviness of our pain, we can instead feel overwhelmed by His goodness. If we keep focusing on the goodness, one day we will find that the goodness outweighs the pain. Because that is how good He is.

So, that is how we survive it. We look beyond the pain, beyond the sadness, beyond the torment. We look to the light in the darkness, we search for the goodness, and we find the beauty in the becoming.

 

Amy Thurston Gordy

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“Not my story”

I am overwhelmed at the response and the support you all have shown for this site. Absolutely blown away at the number of people it has already reached. For all those that have given me encouraging messages and comments about how the words I have written spoke to your heart, I have no words that could express how much that means and what a blessing it is to me.

This blog is something I’ve been thinking about for a long time. I love words. I love writing. I never followed through with it before because I was afraid. Because I worried. What if it’s not good enough? What if no one reads it? What if I run out of things to say? And maybe, if I’m being painfully honest, How can I write and not reveal too much of myself?

I have always been a fairly private person. One that tended not to share my real full self with many. Introverted with just enough extrovert qualities to put myself out there without ever really putting myself out there. Enough to be social and have fun but always holding a little back. Flying just under the radar. Only my family and a few select and carefully chosen friends got to really know me. I was always a bit guarded, afraid to be transparent. It’s a way of protecting yourself I guess. But at the same time you are putting limitations on yourself and your life that you can’t even see.

I’m not that person anymore. I’ve learned that in order to fully reach your God given potential, you have to allow yourself to be vulnerable. From going through something so painful and heartbreaking, I’ve learned that I don’t need to protect myself. God’s got me. He is all the protection I need. If you want people to see God in you, you’ve got to be willing to put yourself out there; flaws, insecurities, heartbreaks and all. I have realized that by withholding ourselves, we are withholding Him. By hiding parts of ourselves away, we are actually hiding Him, and He is not meant to be hidden.

So, this is me. The open book, guard down, authentic Amy. Yikes. 😉                I have to admit, pressing that publish button on that first post was slightly terrifying. And this one, well this one is feeling a bit like that dream you have where you show up to class and realize you are in your underwear, or you are standing at the door of an airplane 30,000 feet above the ground and you have to jump. But it is also liberating, and I felt a true sense of peace that this is what I’m supposed to do, and it’s time to jump.

Coming up with a name for my blog was a bit of a challenge. But this phrase from something I had written in my journal kept jumping out at me. So, why “Not my story”?  Well, it actually has a double meaning.

The first being that when I learned of my husband’s affair, and in the devastating months that followed, I would have to tell my story over and over again. Each time I would tell it, it was somewhat of an out of body experience, in the sense that it was just all so surreal to me. It was as if I could hear myself saying the words, but my mind would be thinking, “Oh, that’s awful. Who is she talking about?” It was as if I was listening to someone else talking about some other person. Because this was not my story. This couldn’t be my story. How could this possibly be MY story???

This isn’t supposed to happen to me. I’m not supposed to be that heartbroken woman crying in the corner after church. No, the Amy I know is happy, and has a sweet little family. That can’t be me. We aren’t supposed to be the subject of gossip and whispers. We were supposed to be the adorable 90 year old’s that have been together since they were teenagers, at a party celebrating our 70 some odd year wedding anniversary, where Jeff would give a toast to  me having been his one and only for all those years. And people would be saying how precious we were, and what a testament to true love.

And as I’m having those thoughts, I hear the voice telling the story, MY voice, and I hear it catch as a sob escapes and it pulls me back to reality. Sheer panic washes over me, because yes, it is my story. MINE. And I did not want it.

The second reason I chose this name, is that when it comes down to it, the real story is God’s goodness. Through the best of times and through the most awful of circumstances, His goodness is always, always there. So when I share my story, or post my thoughts, or have any interaction with you; whether in person or on this blog or social media, the story I really want you to see is His. The story of His goodness, His mercy, and his unfailing love for us. So, in that sense it really is “not my story”.

For those of you that didn’t yet know what my struggle was about before having read this post, you should know that our’s is a story of redemption. It’s a story of forgiveness. I don’t say that it’s a story of restoration, because God did not restore us to what we had before. What we have now is all new, and in so many ways, so much more. Through this awful thing, God is transforming the both of us. Jeff is becoming the man God always intended him to be, but never knew how. And I am becoming the woman God intended me to be, but was never brave or bold enough. This path is not without difficulty, but we are intent to look past the pain and focus on the positive things that have come from these negative circumstances. We move forward now with our eyes opened, our hearts thankful, and with full expectancy of the goodness to come.

Thank you all for being a part of this journey with us, and for making this blog a welcoming place for my thoughts to land.

Amy Thurston Gordy

Dear 2015

Dear 2015,

Well, it’s finally here. I tossed and turned last night, unable to sleep with thoughts of all of the events you brought swirling through my mind, bringing with them a portion of anxiety and also a portion of relief that you are finally coming to an end.

In the oh so eloquent words of Miley Cyrus, you came in like a wrecking ball. From day one you came out swinging for me. You came after my finances, my health, my marriage, my security, my sanity. You started out as a strong wind, breezing in from out of nowhere day after day and randomly knocking things down. Except it didn’t seem random. It was strangely methodical. I sensed the darkness and knew that the things that were happening were not random. I knew that something was terribly off, but I just couldn’t quite put my finger on what or why. Until one day those winds kicked up and I’m suddenly and unexpectedly swept up in the eye of this tornado you had become. Suspended there, watching my world spin out of control all around me. Suddenly unable to find my bearings or tell which way was up or down. Just watching the destruction in disbelief and stunned horror as my world twisted into something I no longer recognized.

You brought me chaos, sadness, pain, anger, anxiety and torment. But I have news for you. I’m not going out like that.

My brother posted a video this week. It was of a single small tree, in the rushing flood waters of High Falls. Storm waters raging all around it, the tree is whipping around in every direction. Yet, it hangs on. Still standing though the world is in chaos around it, and its branches are bending and heavy with the force of the storm swirling around it.

In my mind I picture there are stones in the ground surrounding that little tree. I imagine its roots, weaved around those rocks, anchoring the tree in the ground so that no matter what comes, it is able to weather the storm. And when those flood waters clear, it stands firm. Resilient and strong.

Adam’s quote on that video was simply, “Be the tree.”  The fact that the video was taken at High Falls is no small detail, and is not lost on me. Those of you that know the details of my story know that it’s on the list of places that trigger painful thoughts and anxiety for me. But I saw that video and I knew it was for me. I AM the tree.

2015 brought a storm of destruction that threatened everything I knew to be true about my life. But like that tree, my roots are wrapped around the Rock. And all of those stones that hold me in place, those stones are all of you. My unwavering, amazing and beautiful support system. Rooted in Christ, and surrounded by all the people He has placed in my life. And now that the storm has passed and the world becomes a little more peaceful and the flood waters recede, I will stand just as that tree does. My branches stronger from facing the resistance of adversity. All that water meant for my destruction, instead being used to create new growth, and causing my branches to bloom into something beautiful.

So goodbye 2015. You meant to destroy me, to steal my joy. You gave it your best shot. But you. do. not. win.

I’m looking forward to sunshine and happiness in 2016. May it bring us all a year filled with countless blessings and most of all, an abundance of joy.

Happy New Year, and thank you, thank you, thank you all for being the stones that held me.

Amy Thurston Gordy