Wednesday, January 14, 2015


You know, as I’ve walked through this agonizing divorce (which isn’t over), I’ve logged a lot of middle of the night hours with God. 

I’ve told Him every hurt, angry, confused, shocked, embarrassed, ashamed, grieved, and broken thing a thousand times over. It’s really stunning what amount of grief the human body can not die from. Endless conversations about the parts of the breakdown that were mine alone, sin and repentance (lots and lots), hopelessness, frustration, the death of what could/should have been but wasn’t, the suffering my kids have gone through and my what was my wrongdoing in that as well, financial desperation, seemingly lost and wasted years, betrayal, bitterness, loneliness, fear, and my deep need for the Lord’s presence, and on and on. 

As those of you who have experienced your life being shipwrecked and walked with God through it have already learned, at some point along the way I realized that Jesus Himself has been through it all (Hebrews 4:14-16). Except He did so perfectly. Me, not so much. He knows what it’s like. He’s had His own middle of the night grueling prayer sessions and cried out to God for relief, too.
And, this dawned on me last night: because of that, I treasure those hours. 

Because even though they’ve been harder than childbirth and more painful, 
He’s been there and He’s held me (Isaiah 41:10), He’s never let go (Deuteronomy 31:6), He’s listened to every big and small thing (1 John 5:14), He cares (1 Peter 5:7), He’s gathered up every tear (Psalm 56:8), He’s forgiven me my sins and doesn’t even remember them any more (Hebrews 8:12), He will cause good to come out of this (Romans 8:28), He’s changed my perspective and He’s changed me (Ezekiel 36:26). God is not any different (James 1:17) but I’ve realized that in clinging so desperately to Him, I am. If it weren’t for this long trauma, I wouldn’t know the nearness and the dearness of the Lord. I wouldn’t know the agony of needing Him so profoundly. I wouldn’t have discovered that He doesn’t require perfection — He doesn’t mind the ugly snot-bubble kind of crying one bit. I wouldn’t know the foreignness of praying for those who’ve hurt me (Matthew 5:43-48) and even learning to pray prayers I never could have prayed before for my husband — for God to pour out His love on him and his mistress and bless them. Those, my friends, are rubber-meets-the-road prayers! I wouldn't know my own sin. I wouldn't recognize it or even care.

I wouldn’t know that sometimes praising God is the bravest and most life-changing thing to do in the face of fear, shame, anger, loss, anything really. I wouldn’t even have looked for the treasures and joys along the way, His “small” gifts like the beauty of quietude, sunrises, and the sound of birds waking up, the loveliness of pre-dawn fog over the ocean, and the smell of rain in the early morning. 

I wouldn’t know that, when push comes to shove (and it has), He’s all I need. It's all about Him. It turns out that those middle of the night hours are not my own personal torture chamber, but instead they are probably as precious to me as the births/adoptions of my kids. Although they’ve been filled with pain, those are the times He’s drawn nearer than my own breath (if that’s possible) and held my hand. Even if nothing has changed on the outside, even if circumstances have stayed the same or gotten worse, He is with me. 

And that’s the actual, unmistakable, remarkable, surprising gift —