Two years ago today this journey began... I woke up knowing and feeling that something wasn’t quite right. In the last two years I’ve experienced anger, fear, sorrow, worry, resentment, confusion, desperation… peace, hope, joy, faith, humility, steadfastness and perseverance. Instead of looking back and rehashing the last couple of years, let me share my latest revelation with you.
I met my friend, Summer, about 6 months in to this journey. I often tell her “I’m a different person” and she always wants to know, “In what way? What were you like before?” She recently challenged me to really flesh that out. So I began to pray and journal and seek the answer to the question, “How am I a different person?”
A few days ago, God laid the answer on my heart. Definitively, conclusively and simply the answer is… “I’m not a different person!” HUH????? How can that be? After all I’ve been through? Then what’s all this for?
Through more prayer, I realized I am the same person – my appearance (other than some extra gray, wrinkles and pounds), my stubbornness, perfectionism, OCD, competitive spirit and other hard-wired traits and personality components are all the same. But something very significant has changed: my perspective!
I wear contacts because without them I can’t see. I wake up each morning to a world of blobs and blurs, fuzzy shapes and outlines. The moment I put in my contact lenses, things are clear, sharp and very distinguishable. I always tell my kids, “OK, now I can see you.” What I see is completely and markedly different, but what they see when they look at me is totally the same; the mama they saw before and after I put in my lenses hasn’t changed.
It’s kinda like I’ve put new lenses on my mind and soul over the last couple of years. I have been so hard on myself, worrying that people don’t see a different me – they don’t see a peaceful, calm, passive, fruit-hanging-all-over-me Nicole. I’ve been thinking all along that the culmination of this journey would result in some new ministry, some life-altering obvious change. Instead this journey resulted in a complete overhaul of my heart and soul, a change deep within that isn’t obvious to the world; a change that has brought a new perspective on how I see God, how I see people, how I care about people and how I pray for people.
One of my favorite passages of scripture is 1 Kings 19:11-13 where the prophet Elijah encounters God:11 The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 12 After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. 13 When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
God moves in small, subtle, personal, private ways sometimes (a gentle whisper). I have found such peach and comfort in this realization. We should always expect God to move, but sometimes we must be willing to see the movement in places we never expect!
Things are still going really well. I continue to function fairly “normally” most days. I pace myself more, I sit down and take a “guilt-free five” more often, I say “let me think about it” before I commit to activities rather than agreeing to do things that 1) I don’t want to do, 2) God doesn’t want me to do or 3) may be good, but not great things for my family and me. I am still reading through my Bible – I just finished Ezekiel (that was the toughest book so far for me to get through). Counting pages, not books of the Bible, I am 90% through the Old Testament and 63% through the entire Bible. I can’t believe I waited 40 years to do it. I pray that my kids will not wait until mid-life to read God’s word all the way through. I have seriously missed out on SO MUCH in terms of bible study over the years. I always thought it would be a tedious undertaking but it’s truly a most liberating exercise.
Thank you for hanging with me these last 2 years – in prayer, in love, in support. God is good… ALL THE TIME!