I remember walking off the plane on December 1st 2012 and walking back into my life in America as if nothing had ever happened. I once was in Africa. I was now in America. All was back to normal. Or so I thought.
This past year back in America has been anything but normal. Forget about Africa being hard. Send me back to Africa any old time. That was easy compared to what life has felt like these past months. For some insane reason, Africa appears easy and carefree, blissful and delightful. (People, isn’t hindsight amazingly deceitful?) America and this life have just felt hard and challenging and exhausting and some days I feel like I will never get it right.
Truth is, I never will. Truth is, that’s okay.
Aside from some dark, dark days circa 2003-2006, these have been some of the darkest months I have experienced in a while. This year has brought things to surface in my life and heart that have just been straight ugly. I’d rather just stuff them back away inside and not have to deal. Instead they keep resurfacing in ways that force me to face them finding them daily frustrating and daily defeating, yet daily refining and daily sanctifying.
Doubt. Confusion. Defeat. Fear to the point of anxiety. These are a few of the things that would define my daily existence this year. I could get all specific and junk for you, but in spite of popular belief, I really don’t blog about everything in my life…and this is just one piece of my life at the moment that I don’t feel like making vulnerable to the world. Suffice it to say, I have been riding the struggle bus – seemingly driving the struggle bus – from one struggle right on to the next. Go me.
And as I see these struggles in my life, truth is I want to run – and I mean RUN and while I’m running go ahead and hide from the struggles and all the frustration that they bring. (You got that right – I am both brave and strong) Yet, the body of Christ has not allowed me to do that. In the midst of this darkness, my friends and community have surrounded me spurring me on to the only One who could ever save me from this darkness. In the weakest, lowest, darkest moments throughout this entire year, the body of Christ has surrounded me time and time and time again and declared stand and we are standing with you.
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
On the days that feel like the struggles are nothing but toil and grind, I know that I am struggling towards Christ. I am working towards His purpose in me. I am grasping for Him in the moments when I feel I have nothing left to grasp and He has promised never to leave me or forsake me.
I personally find it oh so ironic that for a fiercely independent girl like myself who has always felt weakened when in relationship with others, I am now realizing that it is my relationship with others that has allowed me to be far stronger in this fight than I could ever be on my own. God does have a sense of humor. It usually involves putting my foolishness on display.
As I look around this past year, I might would be lying to call it a “good” year. I can’t in all honesty call it that. It has been a hard year. But it has been a worthy one. A year worthy of growing closer to my Lord. A year worthy of struggling because I know that I am struggling towards a steadfast faith in my Savior.