“[God] comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” 2 Corinthians 1:4 (NIV)
2009 – mid 2013 was the hardest season I have ever had to walk through. It was a season that no one should ever have to experience. Yet in that season I learned exactly who I was meant to be.
Let’s start in October 2009, I was just your average newly married 26 year old woman working the daily grind not giving my birth control a second thought. I mean hey it was doing it’s job, I no longer had periods from hell nor did we fall pregnant. So yes the Nuva Ring by all means did its job. Little did I know that this simple plastic ring would almost take my life. No need to check your hearing, you heard that right, the Nuva Ring almost killed me.
I’ll spare you all the details and take you to the end result. I almost died five days before my 27th birthday due to a massive pulmonary embolism with infarction and a stroke caused by the 3rd generation progesterone contained in the Nuva Ring. My left lung and heart are permanently damaged my friends would tell you “her laugh is bigger than her lung capacity.”
This moment was a double edged sword, on one hand I was grateful that God spared me, he worked a miracle, all of the odds were stacked against me, yet I survived. And the “how” is something only God can explain, in which he has yet to tell me. On the other hand I was bitter and angry, my life had changed within the blink of an eye. My days became filled with INR checks, blood thinners and more medications I cared to count. Running, something that I did to relieve the stress of every day life was no longer an option. I was lucky if I could get through the grocery store without needing a rest. That moment was definitive, it clearly marked a period of before, a period of once was and now a period of after.
The after is where it gets messy. I was angry, so angry I could feel it in my bones. I turned away from God. How could he let this happen to me, what did I do to deserve this trial? Little did I know he was preparing me, preparing me for what was to come. In April 2010 I found out I was pregnant, this for sure was our calm after the storm. A silver lining against the darkness. Yet God, he said “I am going to make you even stronger…….”
I heard the words no woman wants to hear, “I’m sorry but there is no heart beat.” I screamed, I cried and asked God “why!?” He has yet to answer that question. To make matters worse my husband refused to fly home from Las Vegas, I had to go through the process of loss with my best friend by my side. God he sent her because he know my own husband wasn’t man enough to stand by his grieving wife’s side. He wasn’t strong enough to face the loss of his son.
On top of the grief and anger, the years of mental, emotional, and sexual abuse started to take its toll on me. I no longer recognized the woman in the mirror. The woman I saw looking back at me was a fraction of her former self. Again I asked God “why,” and again he did not answer. The day I started to think thoughts I never thought myself capable of thinking, was the day I realized I needed to get out.
Leaving was the first step. At 27 I become a divorcee with a mountain of baggage. Bags that I myself didn’t want to unpack. I thought who is going to love a woman who is broken beyond repair, who’s bags take up the room and who’s heart is void of all joy? Why did God put me through this? Why did he bring me to a place of darkness? I felt abandoned by God? My anger threw up a wall and I pushed anyone who tried to help me away. I didn’t need advice, I needed answers. Answers as to why I had to go through so much in such a short time.
Those answers have yet to come. The years to follow were not smooth sailing. When I thought I found safe harbor, God he took my boat and smashed it against the rocks. The moment I found the person I was meant to be with, God decided it wasn’t time. My fiancé Charlie died of his injuries sustained in a car crash on February 16, 2012. At 29 I had to pick up the pieces of my shattered heart and once again try to live. I was bitter, anger seeped in and I lost hope. Even though my world stopped, life it kept on moving forward. Moving forward at a pace that I could barely grasp on to.
Outside of my apartment walls I was this vibrant put together woman. Within the walls I was a different story. I was a broken tear filled woman who was angry at God. Even though I prayed, I felt God ignored my voice. I lost faith and darkness took hold. I felt stuck, my life wasn’t anything like I imagined it would be. I spent so much time living on the straight and narrow I forgot to ask “was this path meant for me?”
In 2013 I was let go from a job I hated, budget cuts they said. I thought seriously? God seriously, haven’t you given me enough, now this. What I didn’t realize was God had given me an out and I didn’t stay Unemployed long. I remember this moment like it was yesterday. I was invited to attend a lobbying event in DC, my room at the Omni hotel cost more per night than my rent. Thankfully I wasn’t paying for the room. As I sat out on my balcony eating noodles and company taking in the cherry blossoms and my view of the Washington monument I felt a boldness stir within me. A boldness like I’ve never felt before. Somewhere between the view and the pasta I let go of everything I was holding in. I sobbed into my Perrie sparkling water as I soaked in the sun. A warmth that I hadn’t felt in a long time and in that moment I looked up and said “ok God, you win! Why not me, what do you have for me? What is next?”
What is next? In the weeks that followed that boldness that I felt continued to grow in me. Instead of waking up with tear stained eyes and fear in my heart, I woke up overflowing with faith. A faith that I could not explain, a faith that knows no bounds and limits. A faith that took over every step I made. Things in my life started falling into place.
My heart softened when I found joy in the mundane. When I stopped making mountains out of ant hills, I found peace. When I started coming from a place of gratitude, I found humility. I stood in front of the mirror and no longer saw myself as just broken, I was beautifully broken in a way that only God could craft. God he knows exactly how my life is going to go. You see every little detail is planned by his hand. Every moment I get to walk through is part of his plan. God, he broke me, because he knew I needed to grow. God put me through it because he knew I would get through it.
That’s right, God brought me to it because he made me for that exact trial. In the moment I didn’t realize what God was doing in me. I didn’t realize that he was planting the seeds of empathy, compassion, and wisdom. He instilled the annoying gift of “always finding the bright side” within me. No matter the situation or challenge, I can always find a tiny shred of good. And that good is what carries me on the hard days. The reminder that the light will find a way in and that the darkness will always be greeted by the sunrise. Those certainties are something I hang my hat on, it is the foundation for the gift he instilled in me.
The gift of faith. God knew that this world needed a soul with the overflowing gift of faith. He knew the world needed a woman who against all odds stood strong against the darkness and held on to the tiniest shred of hope. When the world says “it’s not possible.” She looks up with a faithful heart and says “watch me.” To her impossible means one thing, “I’m possible.” In the darkest of hours she always keeps the faith for she knows the sunrise is just around the corner. She is the one you lean on, the one you seek out in desperation, she is the one who takes your hand and weeps right along side you. For she has seen the battlefield and she will not let you tread alone. She says “take my faith until your tank is full and when you no longer need it pass it on.”
Somewhere between standing tall and finding the life that was always meant for me, I realized something. Something so deep that I fell to my knees. God he wasn’t keeping a secret from me, the answer was right in front of me all along…. God needed to break me because I needed the cracks in order for the gift of faith to shine through. Each crack is a line in my story, a story that God had planned out for me before my feet even hit this earth. Our lives are beautifully designed in his image. We cannot have the flowers without the storms. We cannot have the crops without the rain. We cannot have the victory without the battle. Storms only last a little while and once those clouds fade the light shines through and warms the coldest of hearts and peaks through the cracks of the beautifully broken.