I slowly slide down the wall, my legs giving way as I collapsed in a heap. My eyes welled up with unbidden tears, blinding me as they spilled over and forged a silent path down my face.
“Mom, are you alright?” my son asked from the hallway.
I touched my lips with trembling hand, as if that act alone could make my voice sound clear and strong. Inhaling deeply, I summoned strength from somewhere deep inside, steadied myself, and answered from behind my bedroom door, “Yep! Just tired. I’m gonna take a quick nap.”
As my son trotted back down the stairs, satisfied, I dropped my head into my hands and felt the floodgates open as I silently sobbed. Fear and pain gripped me tight and wouldn’t let go. Where would the money come from for groceries that week? Heck, where would the money come from to buy gas so I could get to work to try and make money to buy groceries?
I raised my tear-stained eyes up to God, bewildered. How had I landed in this space? Why? Tremulously I whispered, “Dad, I know You say You don’t give us more than we can handle, but I can’t handle this. Please …. please help me. I know there’s got to be an end to this tunnel, but I don’t see it yet. I’m at the end of my rope, Dad. Please, tie a knot in it for me so I can hang on.”
In that moment, I didn’t know within a week I would have a solution. I didn’t know that a year later my business would grow to the point where I’d be okay, and that a few years later I would be moving into a new home I would buy on my own. I didn’t know how rich and beautiful the other side of the tunnel would be, and the many great friends I would make along the way. In that moment, all I knew was the darkness and fear swirling around me, threatening to suffocate and swallow me whole. Yet even then, as I cried and prayed and begged for strength and solutions, I felt God’s presence gently envelope me, reminding me He did have my back and that He would lead me through my tunnel powerfully. At the end of the prayer and the tears, I felt peace and strength to stand back up again for that day.
There would be many, many days like that for me in those early stages of walking through my tunnel of being a newly single parent of three, newly back to the work force, and with very limited child support coming in. As I look back now on that time, I marvel at how faithful God was to me, how incredibly protective and caring He was. I have story after story of how He showed up and rescued me from scary, life-altering situations. And as much as I hated that time in my life, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I learned to walk hand-in-hand with God in a way I’d never experienced before, even though I’d felt quite close to Him prior. The lessons I learned of bravery and courage, of grace and peace, and the personal truths I found were and are magnificent gifts beyond compare.
I don’t know where you’re at in your journey, if you’re in the midst of a dark tunnel or emerging out into the sunshine. But I do know this: we all have dark tunnels in life we have to go through. Divorce, death, bad relationships, lack of relationships, struggling loved ones, financial challenges, work challenges, health challenges—it’s a long, long list. Yet every day you and I have an opportunity. We can run and hide from our challenges, or we can learn in a deeper way how to turn them over to God and trust in His leading. It’s not about picking yourself back up by the boot straps and forcing yourself forward; it’s about handing the reins of your life back over to God. It’s about deeply knowing: “Where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let [my] foot slip—he who watches over [me] will not slumber,” (Psalm 121:1-3).
God has plans for you. They’re good plans, too! His plans are full of healing and blessing, of fresh adventures and bright paths. I want to encourage you today. Don’t give up! No matter how hard, no matter how tough, no matter how defeated you feel or impossible the road looks before you, God is by your side and He can handle it. He is so much bigger than the little box we tend to put Him in. He can take your judgement, your fear, your anger, your anxiety, your mistakes—even the really big ones—and get you moving forward again. To Him, you are worthy, worthwhile, precious and loved. Always. Simply because you’re His.
For Further Thought: “O my soul, come, praise the Eternal with all that is in me–body, emotions, mind, and will–every part of who I am–praise His holy name. O my soul, come, praise the Eternal; sing a song from a grateful heart; sing and never forget all the good He has done. Despite all your many offenses, He forgives and releases you. More than any doctor, He heals your diseases. He reaches deep into the pit to deliver you from death. He crowns you with unfailing love and compassion like a king. When your soul is famished and withering, He fills you with good and beautiful things, satisfying you as long as you live. He makes you strong like an eagle, restoring your youth,” (Psalm 103:1-5). This week, find a quiet spot and read this scripture out loud. Next, read it aloud again, but this time insert your name in all the places it says “me,” “my,” “I” or you/your.” Then pray, thanking God for what is good in your life, no matter how small or simple. This is a powerful exercise! I’d love to hear how it went so feel free to post. TO SUBSCRIBE: Simply add your email in the upper right hand column. You will begin receiving The Dented Fender to your inbox each week. Enjoy!