Image by Jennifer Upton
This has been a year of contradictions, a tug of war for what will be cast on my heart – shadows or light. I met 2013 with hope, lots and lots of hope. Processes of change had been set in motion, and it was good. The shift seemed a long time in coming, but still, at least we were on a steady trajectory for it to come.
July found me tired, but continuing to swell with hope. And the words began to come from others – promise, hope, leadership, dreams fulfilled, moves that would unlock destiny, more and more promises. I embraced it all. It has been a long, dreadful desert season, valley, period of drought – choose your spiritual metaphor. I will admit my hope has wavered, but it has never been lost.
Until the pieces began to crumble fast and furious. Forgive me if this is too raw, but there is no other way to say it – most of my hopes for this year have been met with bitter disappointment. And when I was asked to reflect on this year and look for the breath of redemption on the hard places, I put off the task as long as possible. It is difficult for me to confess so many of the hard places seem to have no hope of redemption right now, that they seem to actually have become more hopeless than they already were.
Many of the hard places, but not all.
In the midst of the multitude of shadows on the landscape of 2013, there are two beacons of light.
The first is my marriage. My husband and I celebrated six years of covenant love (to borrow a phrase from a friend), and it is nothing short of miraculous. In an effort to protect each other from the ache of our individual emotions as we faced one loss and disappointment after another, we unwittingly built a wall between our hearts. And suddenly one day, we realized it was there, and we did not know how to scale it. It could have undone us. As a matter of fact, I have no doubt that was exactly what the enemy intended, but fortunately the whispers of the Holy Spirit were stronger than the web designed to capture us. What has resulted is a stronger, more unmovable love than we could have imagined and the healthiest communication we’ve ever had. The wall has been demolished, we are wiser than we were and in spite of the continual frustrations life throws at us, we are enjoying a renewed passion and vibrancy in our marriage. Redemption breathes.
The second is my writing. When all the disappointments had become too much and I had to unlock the tension before it devoured me, I returned to the written word, something I had laid down several years back. I set up this blog, I was gifted with the opportunity to become part of Story Sessions (something that has changed my life and rescued my sanity) and I began working on the book that has been floating around my head. It was hard at first – the discipline, the re-acquainting with my words and re-discovering my voice. But it is coming, more and more with each day and releasing many other creative places I thought were lost. And if the writing wasn’t enough, I became part of the most incredible, life-giving community I have ever known. And again, redemption breathes.
Truthfully, I do not know what to expect from 2014, and I am quivering with the fear of hope – she was not kind to me this past year. But I will start at the points of light I was given, and take careful steps from there. And perhaps, redemption will breathe again, and light will send the shadows scattering.