Updated: Sep 18, 2020
Psalm 25:16-17, “Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. The troubles of my heart have multiplied; free me from my anguish.”
Every New Year, we reflect on the prior three hundred and sixty four days as we judge the dying year. Were there more good times than bad? Which events outweighed the others? Then we look toward the next year, hoping it’ll turn out better. Well, as much as I do that every time I join in with another annual round of “Auld Lang Syne”, I now realize that New Year’s Day is not my true New Year. My real New Year comes around on the day I drew first breath: September 14th. And as I reach my twenty-sixth anniversary of living, I’ve had loads to reflect on.
I already figured on my twenty-fifth year being a landmark. (It’s a quarter of a century, after all.) But as far as highest of highs and lowest of lows goes, I never anticipated one tenth of the highs and lows the past year would strike me with. Ironically, my last birthday reflected the oncoming pattern of ups and downs God had planned for me. My Aunt, who lived next door, died rather suddenly that morning. I barely reached her bedroom in time to see her go. We were all reeling in shock but celebrated, for she knew Jesus and took her home. Then that same evening, some of my dearest friends (who didn’t know about my Aunt’s passing) hosted one of the nicest birthday parties I’ve had in years. They shared many a kind word with me - far more than I deserved, but I’m certain I wouldn’t forget it. That birthday, I saw God’s love in both death and life. Little did I know that my first day as twenty-five was only the beginning.
As the year carried on, I was met with a blessing I prayed and waited so long for. For the very first time, a Christian man stepped forward and asked my father if he may pursue a relationship with me. It was the happiest day of my life. Someone who truly loved God also actually wanted me. What was even better? I truly loved him too. I was determined to be the best godly girlfriend and future wife as I possibly could. I wasn’t about to throw this gift away.
Then came March. For reasons too long to disclose, our relationship ended. Not that I wanted it to. I still loved him. I was willing to work it out with him, but then he asked me to cross a line in my relationship with Christ and His Word that I could not cross. It was then I knew marriage with him was not possible. For that (along with other reasons), he left the relationship. I don’t say this to paint a black picture of him, though. He was and still is a nice person who does love the Lord, but he’s also still human - just like the rest of us. Mistakes were made, and it so happened a few of his costed my heart dearly.
The same week of the breakup was also the start of the COVID quarantine. Then to make matters even worse, I discover that I fractured my foot. I was put on crutches for over a month and faced the possibility of not dancing in our studio’s annual performance at all. I couldn’t believe it. My body was laid up. My emotions were shot. It was possibly the worst week of my life. Yet despite the initial temptations of depression and bitterness, I knew that’s not what God wanted for me. His strength helped me to cling to Him, His Word, and His promises all the tighter. Then He drew nearer to me, and I watched Him move mountains.
Being on crutches, I felt the love and care of my family all the more as they watched out for and encouraged me. My excess alone time gave me the hours I so desperately needed to finally finish one of the last drafts of my book (which I once thought might never be finished). Our dance performance was delayed, giving me plenty enough time to heal. Then, with yet still more time on my hands, the Lord granted me the inspiration and ability to start this: FlyingFaith. A whole blogging website that could be used as a platform for Creative Christians to come together to study God’s Word and apply it to their craft. So many precious memories and moments would have been left inexperienced if not for those scars God permitted me to endure.
That still doesn’t make everything easy though. I do feel phantom pains in my foot on occasion, and my emotional wounds tempt me to believe in grim doubts about myself and leave me melancholy from time to time. I’m sure most in my position would jump at the chance to get rid of the hurt. This could mean pills or another boyfriend. However, the Lord taught me that He is already my completion. I am a sword in the Great Smith’s hand. I am heated and beaten. It hurts, but I know that with each blow from His hammer I adhere to His design all the more. And when I cease to resist and willfully mold under His press, I become more intimately dear to Him for my entire self would be truly and fully His. I’ll be exactly the way He always intended me to be.
Now, I’m no super saint. I don’t lend myself to God perfectly all the time. I’m stubborn, anger prone, and naturally presumptuous, but as I continue on into my twenty-sixth year, I ask the Lord the same thing my spiritual ancestor, David, asked Him thousands of years before. “Search me God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me; and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23).
God’s fervent love, revealed both in shadow and in light, marked my twenty-fifth year. And never have I felt more close to Him because of it than I do now. I wouldn’t trade such a treasure away - not even to relieve one second of hurt.
I’m prepared for Your hammer, Master. . . .
Let the sparks continue to fly. . . .
Psalm 25:20-21, “Guard my life and rescue me; let me not be put to shame, for I take refuge in You. May integrity and uprightness protect me, because my hope is in You.”