Beauty and Value in Struggle

Am I really on the other side?  The air is fresher, my legs ache less, my arms freer, and my mind more clear.  The gravel crunches under me as I trod along, my feet moving in their unique, steady stride, even the ground is less resistant.  My hands grip the straps which come over my shoulders holding my now lighter pack.  

My backdrop is painted with ominous clouds dancing in the sky.  Far-off drums the storm, the shouts therein fading.  Tossing a gaze behind, I gasp: the colors of deep purples, maroons, grays, oranges and pinks plum, mysterious with beauty and treasure.  Filled with wonder, I turn my gaze.  I'm thankful to see the bright sky ahead.  Remaining drops of rain wiggle and fall away with each new step. 

In my pocket a few small stones roll about, smooth and rough; my thumb and fore-fingers feel for them. Each from my not-so favorite places, albeit significant. 

Have I really come through, to this new place?  Do I really feel joy?  The struggle was so dark and deep, so unpredictable and hard.  

More so, how marvelous the treasures found in the struggle...

Welcome to my mental story-journey of my life.

These past few years I have been in an intense storm, struggle, and adventure.  Some of that struggle came from work, some came from change in what gives me a sense of being known, and some of the struggle came from disappointment in hopes and desires of the heart - yes "unrequited like and unreturned hope."

Life is hard.  Life is busy.  Life is unpredictable.  I am far from "perfect";  it seems to take me longer to process, unpack, grieve, understand, accept.

"Lord, help me trust you more." was a line I wrote in my journal just this week.  God has been so faithful to me, even when I have been lost in tears, hurt, anger, and despair.

So, you want to know more about the specifics, the dirt? Okay...

1. Work has been a place of deep conundrum; feeling a huge lack of confidence and oddly placed.  The struggle drove me to prayer, to deep contemplative self-analysis and frustration along with very hard work and long hours. I felt I could not just throw off my job, I have bills to pay!  And, yes, I made many unsuccessful attempts to find something different.

YET in the past six months... the storm clouds have pushed by, opening up clear, blue skies!  I am in the SAME place yet it is DIFFERENT!  Like amazingly so! I have had friends and family praying for me over the past 4+ years and in the recent months when they inquire of my work, I answer in such a different way they almost automatically say, "are you being sarcastic?"   Seriously, I am ENJOYING my work.  I am progressing forward in experience, knowledge and confidence.  I am being stretched professionally which is awesome (Yes, AWESOME!)  Some pieces of the struggle and place have changed which contribute to the shift in my enjoyment, yet I can't exclaim loud enough the difference, the joy and satisfaction I feel everyday!  THIS IS TRULY a miracle! 

2. My love life and desire for marriage: how vulnerable is this?! (reason this is tucked in the middle of this post) Let me just say I am learning how very important it is to allow a romantic spark to land and a friendship to grow well; I must keep my heart from running too fast, and see it as a process of growth, pacing well... and truly being pursued.  This is an arduous learning process for me.  In the midst of the ups and downs, God has helped me stay yielded to Him, soft and not hard, by His gracious goodness to me.  So, ladies, if your heart has been bruised and bullied, stay close to Jesus, stay soft... it's your beautiful feminine gift to mankind.  Soft does not mean to be a doormat or to overlook wrongs, but it does mean be forgiving, seek to understand yourself, and where he came from in his approach; respect your heart in the process.  (And it is a PROCESS.... have patience.)

All in all, the last six months of this year has been an upward swing, more level ground, more daily joy as I work through grief, but true joy has come, unspeakable.

I do see clearer skies ahead, not so much because of the change of scenery but because of the good work God's love and gentle truth continues to do in me.  I can honestly say, I am so thankful for the struggle, because I would not be who I am today but for the hard work, sweat and tears.  There is TREASURE and VALUE in the struggle.

If you are there right now, don't give up.

He reveals deep and hidden things;
    he knows what lies in darkness,
    and light dwells with him.  
Daniel 2:22


Ree said…
Well written, Tammie. Would love to see you take one of those places of wrestling and go deeper. I think there will be wisdom for others in it.

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