Earlier this year it occurred to me that when I, or anyone, pray for patience, joy, or any one characteristic, the way God allows us to strengthen those qualities is much different than we think He should. We would never choose to suffer in order to gain true patience. We would never willingly choose heartache to learn real joy, but that is exactly how we truly learn these qualities. We must know what it feels like to be broken in order to fully appreciate being restored with joy.
This past year I have been on a journey. My heart has ached for someone whom I love more than most people in my life, my sister. One cannot explain the connection that siblings feel for one another. At the same time, I cannot choose her every move. I cannot change the things she has chosen for her life. I cannot make her be the person I know she is and believe that she is no matter how hard I would like. BUT, I can love her unconditionally. I can accept her no matter what happens. I can answer the phone when she does call. Most importantly, I can pray for her.
I have learned more than I can articulate. Among what I can articulate is true forgiveness, which is something I thought I grasped before this past year, but realized I hadn’t. The moment I realized I had (learned true forgiveness) was in the middle of bailing her out once again. It was a moment I will not forget, because we all need people in our lives that remind us that we are not smaller than the choices we make and are most definitely not defined by them.
No one needs judgment for good or bad choices. People need consistency. People need to know that even in their darkest moment someone is still there, because then there is hope. Hope is something I cling to, praying for and trusting completely that change and redemption is possible.
I am confident that this journey, with heartache and sadness, will make me a better person, and most importantly a person that God can be proud of.
“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” James 1:2-4