God lead us to a place filled with love and joy and life – a family, a church body that was alive and well. We knew they were Christians by their love. It was so painful to be there, because we did not feel the same joy and life inside that we saw in this beautiful family. Even though it was painful, we stayed. We cried. We healed.
Lately it has been made clear to me that we don’t need to forget the scars, but instead God has given us opportunities to redeem them – to trade them in for something better. Isn’t that beautiful? We don’t need to bury them and pretend they didn’t exist. We don’t have to hide them in a closet. We redeem them for something BETTER. For example, we have traded loneliness and isolation for very deep and real friendships as we come along side of those facing very similar losses to what we experienced. Where we once felt emptiness and embarrassment, we now feel true empathy. Instead of sorrow we have the joy of serving others. We have taken those well-meaning - but terribly hurtful – platitudes carelessly spoken to us and redeemed them for words of prayer for the hurting, for we now know so many problems cannot be healed with words, but words spoken in prayer are heard by the Lord who hears and sees. We have traded our empty hands that we felt were good-for-nothing and gladly serve with them, not because we have so much extra to give, but because we remember those who gave generously to us.
Writing this all out, I feel amazingly vindicated.
Shortly after we moved to our new home, in the middle of those darkest days, I looked out my kitchen window and felt completely defeated. I could see neighbors I desperately wanted to reach out and serve, but a whispered lie bound up my mind and heart – it said “You have nothing to offer.” That is not true – I have a world of hurt that God is going to let me cash in for something remarkable, because Jesus can do modern day miracles like that.