Feels like freedom

Oh September. I try to ignore you. I really, really do.

And I was doing a pretty good job of it.

I mean, it’s usually around mid August, when the heaviness starts setting in. When I remember the date looming ahead, September 10th. The day life as I knew it irrevocably changed forever.

But this year, August was nearly over and I realized that I really hadn’t thought about it. That’s when it suddenly struck me how well we are doing. How far we’ve come. How far I’VE come.

How quiet the hum just underneath the surface has gotten. That hum used to be such a roar, I could barely focus on anything else. The thoughts and the pain, they not only ran through a never ending loop in my mind, but they seemed to course through my veins, seeping into every part of my existence. I learned to push it back, to try and drown it out so that I could function in a halfway normal manner for all outward appearances. But it was still SO loud for what seemed like so long.

I’m not sure exactly when it got so much quieter. I can’t really pin point it. I think it was so slow, so gradual, I just didn’t notice it. I mean, I did notice. I knew there had been healing. I knew it got easier. But I hadn’t really noticed the stark distance between where we were and where we are. I hadn’t really noticed the gradual lessening of the hum.

Most of the time, it’s nothing more than a faint whisper now. Echoes of the past. I don’t suppose it ever completely leaves you.

But to know it won’t always be so loud, so painfully loud, well, it feels…kind of like freedom.

Maybe not freedom in the sense that it has no bearing on you anymore. It certainly still affects the present sometimes. But sometimes maybe freedom isn’t necessarily a release from something, as much as it is learning to live your best life in spite of something. Learning to make the most of the changes it brought. Learning to live through it, and launch from it.

Maybe freedom is actually acceptance. Maybe, freedom is merely growth.

Maybe, freedom is simply gained not by trying to forget, or pretend as though that bad thing never happened, but maybe it’s in the ability….no, the insistence of moving forward in search of the good.

It definitely shaped the person I am today. In good ways and bad. It tore me down. Stripped me of almost everything I believed to be real. Shattered my heart.

It broke me.

EVERY SINGLE part of me.

But I survived it.

WE survived it.

I put myself back together. Although the pieces didn’t fit quite the same anymore. There were cracks. So many cracks. But if you allow it, God can fill those cracks with goodness. The cracks are still there, and you can still see the seams of every single one.

I’ll never be the same.

But eventually you won’t see the emptiness through the cracks anymore. Just the goodness shining through.

And sometimes, there’s goodness that was already hidden underneath the cracks. Gifts and talents and wisdom that’s always been there, but has been locked away, waiting for the outer layers to be torn away so it can rise to the surface.

I had to choose that. I had to choose to either dwell in those empty broken places, or let Him both draw out what was hidden away beneath them or fill them in with something I was missing. And if today, you are the one that is broken, at some point you will have to choose too.

Not all at once. But little by little, after you’ve spent some time exploring those broken pieces of yourself, and taking the time to grieve the parts you lost, you will have to decide if you want to dwell there, in that dark broken place, or if you want to look for the goodness to come. You have to choose to allow God to fill that space in, even when you’re not sure how it could possibly be filled. No, it won’t happen quickly, or all of a sudden. But your time will come. Your deafening hum will get quieter. You’ll suddenly realize that it isn’t so hard anymore.

That life can be good again.

Broken is hard. Shattered is painful. Being torn down is nothing less than completely devastating.

But being torn down is sometimes the only way to be built into your full potential. Being shattered is sometimes the only way to release the things hidden away inside of you.

And sometimes, broken is beautiful.

Because sometimes, broken is the only true way to wholeness.

Sometimes the broken you is the only way to the best you.

I woke up a few days ago, finally feeling the heavy pull of September. Feeling the pull of darker days; echoes of that awful September day three years ago, and the excruciating days that followed it, calling out to me. Drawing me back like some giant magnet into a dark hole. That hum that I had just recently realized was so quiet, threatening to get loud again. The images, the memories, trying to force their way in.

There’s no peace for you, they say.

You don’t get to be a normal couple, they say.

You’ll always be broken, they say.

And the worst one….

I can ruin you again, they say.

But I fight not to listen. Not to let the lies settle in to my spirit. I fight back with the truths that I’ve hidden away there.

It’s not easy. Because those whispers feel like loud, unavoidable truth sometimes.

Sometimes it feels like those dreams you have where you try to scream but you can’t get the sound out, or you try to fight but you’re frozen and can’t move.

So you have to dig deep, and let God’s truths you’ve hidden away in your heart speak for you until you find your strength and your voice again.

Because God says that He heals the broken-hearted, and He binds up our wounds.

Because God says no weapon formed against us shall prosper.

Because God says He gives us a new heart.

Because God says He makes a way for us in the wilderness.

Because God says He will make all our paths straight.

Because God says He is for us.

Because God says He knows the plans He has for us, and they are always, always good.

Because God says what He has joined together, let no one tear apart.

Because God says we are more than conquerors.

Because He says He makes all things new.

Because He says He will give us 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.

Because God says let the redeemed of the Lord say so.

And I SAY so.

I am redeemed.

WE ARE REDEEMED.

So take that, September. Take your darkness. Take your sadness. Take your bad memories. Take your anxiety. Take your deafening hum.

You had your day. And that day has passed.

You tore us down, but He built us up.

You took away everything we had and everything we were, but He replaced it with something far better.

You won the battle on that dark September day, but Jesus, grace, and love,

Love won the war.

Matthew 7:25

The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock.

❤️

Amy Thurston Gordy

The Bigger Picture

I’m beginning to see it, the bigger picture. The bigger picture, in the every day, in the little moments, it’s something we cannot see.

In the moments of pain, of sorrow, of grief. In the moments of disappointment, we just can’t see it. We can’t understand why. We can’t possibly understand what purpose this incredible pain could have. And as I did, so often we find ourselves asking those seemingly unanswerable questions. The ones I’ve written about so much in my blogs. The ones I’ve found myself searching, desperate for the answers to. 

The questions of why. 

Why did this happen to me? 

And so often we find ourselves not only feeling heartbroken that God didn’t stop it, but angry. Angry that he allowed this thing we didn’t feel we deserved to happen to us. Angry that he didn’t use His almighty power to save us from this misery. And questioning why He didn’t love us enough to spare us this heartache. 
His answer to that question is that He couldn’t possibly love us more. His love for us is infinite and pure. But just because He loves us doesn’t mean He will always step in. 

Could he? Yes. He most definitely could. 

But does He always choose to? No. 

And we want to understand why. 
I’ve asked all of those questions. And for a long time I’ve believed that they don’t have an answer. But over the past few weeks I’ve come to realize that they do. 

The answer is the bigger picture. The one we can’t see. 

But He sees it. 
Jeremiah 29:11 says that He knows the plans He has for me, and that they are for good. 
The reason why He allowed life as I know it to be destroyed, the reason He allowed my heart to be shattered, is because He could see the bigger picture. He could see that the pain of that tearing down would allow something better to be built up in its place. He could see that by the testimony of our story, countless others would find hope and healing, and that they would see Him. 
Someone told me many years ago that God told them to tell me to read the story of Joseph. That I should read it because God saw me as he saw him, and our lives were very similar. I was intrigued, because what I remembered of Joseph didn’t stand out as anything I saw mirrored in my life at the time. 
So I read about Joseph. I read of how he was highly favored. I read of how he was mistreated, and how he was betrayed by the very people that were supposed to love him the most. The people he should have been able to trust. And I read of his forgiveness for those people. And how God took everything that was meant for his harm to bring blessings to his life. To put him in places he never dreamed he would be. To put him in a position to help others. 

I read all of that and… 

I. did. not. understand. 

I thought surely this person was mistaken. 

I was NOT AT ALL like Joseph. 

No one I loved had hurt me. I couldn’t imagine that anyone I loved would ever betray me the way he was betrayed. No one would toss me in a pit and then make me a slave, throwing away my very sense of self, everything that made me who I am. That kind of thing doesn’t happen to me. There must be some mistake, I thought. That message wasn’t for me. 

And so for all these years, I’d had that tucked away. Certain it had nothing to do with me. 
The story of Joseph has come back up in my mind on several occasions lately. Most recently in Cindy Beall’s new book. 

(Y’all should get that, by the way. “Rebuilding a marriage better than new”. You can order it on Amazon😄)

I know it was not by mistake that she included this story, I know that it was confirmation of what God has been speaking to me over the past few weeks. She wrote about the story of Joseph and how loved he was by God. She wrote about how God did not intervene and allowed all of the terrible things to happen to him. And she wrote about how God redeemed Joseph’s story. How He freed him from slavery and put him in a position of influence that he never would have imagined. How everything bad that happened was used for the good of Joseph, his family, and so many others. She wrote about how if Joseph had not gone through all those painful things, he would never have ended up in the position that he did, where he was able to bring so much goodness to so many. 
And now I see it. That story, Joseph’s story, it was not a mistake. It WAS meant for me. 
Jeff betrayed me. And I found myself in a virtual pit. A pit filled with despair, sadness, anger, self doubt, and fear. 

What he did made me a slave. A slave to anxiety, fear, depression, post traumatic triggers, sadness, insecurity, uncertainty and doubt. 

And it all seemed so wrong. So incredibly unfair. 
But just as God allowed these things to happen to Joseph, he allowed bad things to happen to me. Not because He didn’t love me. Not because He didn’t want to spare me the heartache. His heart ached too. And just as He was with Joseph, He never left me. He saw me through that heartache. He cried with me in that pit. And just as He did with Joseph, he’s used this awful experience to bring goodness to my life. To bring goodness to my marriage. And He is using my story to help others. So that others can see His goodness and His faithfulness and His love. So that others can see how He makes all things new. 
Joseph had a choice. He could choose to let his situation take the very best of him. He could choose to be defeated. He could choose to drown in the misery of the sea of “why me’s?”. 

Or he could choose to trust that there was a bigger picture. He could choose to trust that he would see the goodness of God. That the goodness of God would find him, even there, in that pit of despair. 

Joseph chose to believe God had his best interest in mind, he chose to believe in the bigger picture. 

I’m choosing to believe there is a bigger picture for me too. 
There is a purpose in my pain. God will not waste a single one of my tears. He is redeeming my story, and He will redeem yours too. Yours may look different than mine, but in His way, in the way He knows will be the best for you and the good of others, you can count on the fact that it will be redeemed. 
We may not understand it, and we may not see it yet, but He sees it. 

The bigger picture. 

And it’s so much bigger than our minds can even fathom. 
His love for us is endless. His mercy and grace for us is matchless. 
We can’t be assured that we aren’t going to have pain and heartache in our lives. But we can be sure that He knows the bigger picture. He knows the plans He has for us. And they are always, always good. 

We can trust Him. 

This revelation has brought me so much peace. I hope it brings you some peace too. ❤️
Amy Thurston Gordy