About 15 months ago, I was hit by a tsunami. Swiftly and unexpectedly, most everything I had come to know in my life was gone. In a matter of a few days I lost my mom, my job (where I was a respected and successful director of a large sales team), my child’s school (that I helped to build through chairing the fund-raising campaign) and our family’s church, (where we were active members for 12 years), through a series of quickly occurring events that left my entire family feeling lost, hurt, betrayed, bullied and confused. One couldn’t help but wonder, “Where are you, God?”
In the moments of these losses, which occurred days from each other, the giant waves of the tsunami pulled me under. It would have been easy to just get sucked under and drown in the loss. There were days when it felt impossible to go on, and in those days, God would shine through, sending me the right words in the Liturgy of the Word, a random, but oh so right, inspirational message in a social media post, a kind friend, (although we chose not to speak of our experience, so as not to foster gossip). God was always with me. So I did not drown in the tsunami. I was however, pulled by the great force far away from the land of everything that I had come to know. The landscape in which my life was surrounded was now gone. My current existence was gone, my future unknown. I was left adrift, lost at sea.
As a blogger and writer, I thought to myself, this is my time to write. After all, my excuses for not writing were gone. My days were no longer filled with job, church, school and caring for my terminally ill mother. My days were a blank space and I thought I would fill those spaces with the words that I loved. And yet the words too, dried up. Only blank space remained. The sun was blistering on my little raft adrift at sea. Even my words had been taken from me. All that was left was blank space. The unknown.
My spiritual director said rest. So I rested.
Lord I know that all things work together for good for those who trust in you. Lord I know that you have never abandoned me, so I refuse to believe that you have, but I can’t hear your voice. Lord, I know that any suffering I feel is not for naught, and YOU are working out something great.
Okay, I know this all intellectually and I truly believe. But the human woman in me that lives in this world feels forsaken.
And then…you sent love. Love in the form of so many friends from my old parish who embraced my family. My friends could have responded in confusion too, but they chose to respond in love. It has been 15 months and they are still present with us. Still loving us and we still loving them. Church is not a building! My brothers and sisters in Christ showed up in force. They gave me their presence- a most precious gift. I was still drifting, but the people whom I love and who love me were sending rations for the journey. Love in the form of new friends, bearing their own gifts and their own presence.
I was once told that the most difficult sacrifice we make as humans is to wait. I waited. And waited. And waited. And then one day, my spouse cried out to Lord. Literally, aloud he cried to God, “Enough! I can’t do this anymore. I am not strong enough for this.” To which I responded, “But God is, and you don’t have to do this alone, you just have to keep trusting.” But my husband’s despair shook me. I was the saddest I have been, even throughout all of the losses. The next day at Mass, a visiting priest’s liturgy was about struggling. He said, “if you are going through hell, keep going. You are not alone.” Just the words we both needed to hear.
God sends us winter because the new growth can not be fully appreciated without the pruning of the old. God sends us winter so we can rest and renew.  The new must struggle, whether it be the new shoots of a flower or the metamorphosis from chrysalis to butterfly. There is pain in the struggle. And it is precisely that pain, that struggle that transforms into something glorious!
It has been 15 months. I have landed. I am grounded once again. Sure, the journey is far from over. And it is a new journey. Befitting our God, who makes all things new. I don’t know what is in this new land. But I feel its perfect temperature and see its breathtaking beauty. Our God the artist is making something beautiful and I can’t wait to see how I fit into His new art.
Are you struggling? Physically, emotionally, spiritually?
God has not forsaken you. God the artist is making something new and beautiful in you, through your struggle, (united with Christ) you are being transformed into something glorious. Maybe it isn’t what you expected. The miracle of Easter is that when Jesus came out of the tomb, he was not just alive like Lazarus. Lazarus had to die again, because he was human. Jesus conquered death and came back fully alive and alive forever. Jesus was a new being. Fully alive; body, blood, soul and divinity, and alive forever! Let go of what you expected, and let God resurrect you.