I spent time this weekend sitting with my small group at Retelling. Retelling is described in the falling paragraph…
Journey with others in our community while exploring your story, learning how your past has shaped you, and how you might live into your future in light of what God’s been doing in your life.
It is about looking back and moving forward, recognizing that some spaces in our stories are worthy of pausing and reflecting. It is not about reliving the past or being stuck there, but it is about honoring/remembering/grieving the events, people and places that have shaped us into who we are today. I have been a part of Journey groups (of which Retelling is one) for 20+ years. I can very much remember the days when I believed that struggle was part of the problem I needed to be cured from. I was trying to be free from the struggles of life. Well, that simply led me to denial.
But I would encounter people who told me how good God was to them and how he removed their struggles and now they have nothing but joy in their life. I wondered why God would be so kind to them and not to me? Well, I have learned not to use stories like that as my bench mark either. I can not say if God has or has not done that for them, but through the invitation of living honestly, I have found many many more people who have come to say that God is with them in their struggle, not that He has rescued them from it.
And so tonight I made this my cover photo on Facebook after being with a brave and honest group of women this weekend.
For me the journey is not about the focus of being whole, but about knowing how to embrace the struggle as part of my story. I have learned that when I embrace my dignity and my depravity, my struggle and my joy, I will often feel more whole, but until I meet Jesus, I will never be completely whole. I have found joy embracing myself as a broken and redeemed woman.
I want to be a woman who is courageous enough to not rest in a place I want/need to move through but also recognize that peace can be found in a place of struggle.
I want to remember that God journeys with me in the valleys, on level ground and on the mountain tops. I want to daily embrace that struggle is part of my story.
I believe that I have been shaped much more by my struggles than by my success. I am more aware of the depths of my heart for where it has ached than where it has found joy.
I by no means want to sound or live as a pessimist. I believe most would say I am far from a pessimist or half empty kind of girl.
I invite you to consider the struggle in your story. Embrace the way it has shaped you and consider what your heart has held during those seasons of struggle. From this space in my kitchen I can confidently assure you of this, if you have struggled, you are not alone. Live life to the fullest my friends, and struggle well!