“Just because the past didn’t turn out like you wanted it to, doesn’t mean your future can’t be better than you’ve ever imagined.” – Unknown
It’s been a little more than a month since I became unmarried. Single. Unattached. Solo. Ms. not Mrs. Strange to say that. The idea is still foreign to me.
But even so, I feel like I am closing the door on that part of my life and opening another. Or like when the season changes from a once-lush, deep green to muted browns mingled with vibrant golds, reds and oranges. Or like turning a corner onto a road you’ve never been down, and the place before is no longer in view.
Nostalgia. We think of it as some romantic or sentimental notion of fond memories and experiences that mark the milestones or cherished moments of our lives. And that’s true, but nostalgia, in its real definition, doesn’t exactly lend itself to such pleasantries. It’s much more grim than that. It’s a Greek word meaning homecoming (nóstos) and pain or ache (álgos). In a word, homesick, or a longing for what used to be.
I had been longing for what used to be my former life these past several months. The lifelong marriage and family dynamic I used to have. But now that’s all gone. Instead I find myself standing at an unexpected place full of unknowns and uncertainties. I am at the crossroads of Nostalgia and New Beginnings.
Looking back at Nostalgia, I see it’s lined with painful memories and regret. Brokenness, heartbreak, disappointment and grief. That gaping maw of black abyss lurks there, too. It’s cold, dark and soul depleting. It’s enervating. But there’s a mist, a fog that’s beginning to roll in clouding my view as if to blot out those painful memories. The features are beginning to obscure from sight.
Turning and looking forward at New Beginnings, I see it has a very different feel. Nothing is familiar but there is something inviting about it nonetheless. There’s a newness to it. Bright. Clean. Fresh. Hope and prospect line the street, beckoning me forward. It feels like breath. It feels like Life.
Words like Inspiration, Adventure, Happiness, Promise, Restoration and Purpose grace the bright-white doors lining the street, and all are waiting for me to burst through each one. I may not know this new street I’m on, but I do know from where I came. And while that dark, murky place may be my past, it is not my permanence and it certainly isn’t my future. This New Beginnings is.
I also know who I am and who I am not. I am cherished. I am valued. I am worthy. I am important. I am talented. I am rescued. I am protected. I am strong. I am hope-filled. I am optimistic. I am inspired. I am resilient. I am beautiful. I. Am. Enough. No longer am I in the shadow of someone else’s identity. No longer am I disregarded. No longer am I considered insignificant. No longer am I less than.
Pastor Andy Stanley once said storms reveal our foundations. That statement struck me, and while I got the general premise of it, I didn’t fully appreciate what he meant. I had no idea at the time I would face my own storm, my own hardship, my own tragedy, and that it would reveal my foundation. Reveal it, it has. My storm ripped away whatever structure I had built there of a life that I thought was sound and strong. My storm revealed the truth and fragility of that life. My storm revealed to me that I wasn’t impervious to tragedy and its effects. But my storm did reveal to me, remind me, who is truly there to shelter me in the midst of it all, and to take on the pain of my suffering and heal me. And it reminded me who I am and what I am. It reminded me I am God’s and He gets to calm the storm.
I have a new take on life. While I will always carry the scars from all that’s happened, and I may feel sorrow and grief from time to time, I am beginning to see things in a whole new light. I am learning the limits of my finite self but trusting in the infinite grace and love of God wholly and completely. I am learning I don’t have to know the answers before I begin, I just have to step forward. I am learning I can be and do without fear of failure or disaster. God won’t let me fall. I am learning I have something to offer and something to gain. I am learning that God truly makes all things new, and He is making me new.
One last thing. In one of my previous posts, I had shared with you a list of songs that expressed the deep pain and grief I was experiencing. It was my Anthem playlist. I have a new playlist, Promises. These songs help to remind me that God promises to comfort me, heal me and win the day for me. I pray these will do the same for you.
- Still by Hillary Scott
- Oh My Soul by Casting Crowns
- You’re Gonna Be OK by Jenn Johnson
- The Hurt & The Healer by MercyMe
- Rescue by Lauren Daigle
- Spoken For by MercyMe
- Word of God Speak by MercyMe
- Trust in You by Lauren Daigle
- Look Up Child by Lauren Daigle
- Dare You to Move by Switchfoot
- Wherever I Go by Dan Bremnes
- Who I Am by Casting Crowns
- First by Lauren Daigle
- Changed by Jordan Feliz
- I Am Yours by Lauren Daigle
- Grace Got You by MercyMe
- Beautiful by MercyMe
- Move by MercyMe
- Praise You in this Storm by Casting Crowns
- Greatness of Our God by Newsboys
“Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” – Isaiah 43:19