Happy New Year and welcome to the new beginning of Joy Complete! I warmly encourage you to come in and have a look around. Not much has changed around here yet, but I will be making gradual changes over the next several weeks.
I want to make a quick apology if this first post seems a bit vague – that truly is not my intention. The story I have been called to share with you is long and very personal. It must be told delicately and respectfully because this will impact those whom I love most. It is out of obedience to God that I am sharing my story of hope with those who are hurting. Perhaps like Esther, I was born for such a time as this…
Today is the one year anniversary of my “D-Day”. That’s what we call it, women like me. We are “an unfortunate sisterhood”, as one woman coined it. I thought that was an accurate description – a group of women brought together by circumstances we could have done without going through. But pain has a way of bonding people. It’s like God’s way of stringing broken hearts together so we don’t have to feel alone. Many of our situations and experiences are vastly different, but all of us in this sisterhood share at least one commonality – our “D-Day”.
It stands for “Discovery Day”, the day I discovered that my life was not what I thought it was – not in the least. When I woke up that January morning, all was right in my world. And when I laid my head on my pillow that night, I knew nothing about my life would ever be the same – I would never be the same. I was reminded of the extraordinary power of one small, singular moment… an instant. These moments can either be good or bad. Maybe you’ve experienced some of these “instants”, too?
I already knew I was a broken woman, but that day, I shattered like a thin pane of glass. As I surveyed my damaged self, it looked as though some pieces of me were still large enough to identify, but others seemed crushed beyond recognition. My heart had been broken, for sure, but it didn’t feel like my heart was the only part of me that broke that day. It felt as though the whole essence of me broke; more so than I had every experienced before.
I later came across a description of the brokenness and pain I felt in Jonathan Martin’s book, How to Survive A Shipwreck:
“The first discovery of the shipwreck is that we have a higher capacity for pain than we ever could have imagined before we lost, before we failed, or before we suffered. You don’t know the depth of your soul until whole chunks of you are falling into the bottom of it. The pain, initially, is disorienting – the sound of a thousand car bombs going off all around you. You cannot think, cannot move, cannot breathe. For a while, the acute awareness of loss is the only reality that you know. Every sensory part of you throbs, aches, bleeds, until it feels like there are no more tears to cry or blood to spill.”
At times I felt numb, like I was looking at my life from the outside; like I was kneeling on the ground looking at my broken self, not knowing what to do, not knowing how to start to cleaning up this “mess” I had become. And in those moments, I felt the presence of Jesus so powerfully. I could envision Him kneeling beside me, assuring me that He was going to put me back together. And when He was finished with me, I would be the most beautiful version of myself, scars and all.
And that’s exactly what He is doing. From His promises found in Isaiah 61, He has comforted me in my mourning and provided for me in my grief. He is bestowing on me a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. He is making my Joy Complete.
He wants to make your Joy Complete, too. Maybe you would like to join me on this road less traveled? It is narrow, I know. But it doesn’t have to be lonely. Perhaps you could begin by sharing how have you felt comforted in the midst of your pain and suffering? What has brought you hope and healing?