We have been living in temporary corporate housing in Chicago for 6 weeks. It has been a hard 6 weeks. Not the hard that I thought it would be – it has been so much harder than I could possibly have imagined. I thought the hard would be living in a strange city where I do not know anyone and grieving the loss of the home and life that we had spent 23 years building in Minneapolis.
Missing my brother, my Bible study ladies, our church community, my ministry partners, my neighbors, and my friends. I felt like that was more than enough and that I would have to dig deep to find enough courage to make this move. But, because I believed that God was calling us to Chicago, I was willing to do the hard thing and leave all that was familiar to build a new life in a new city.
Then my Dad was hospitalized and died. After 10 days in Iowa I returned to Chicago where no one knew me and no one knew I had lost one of the most important people in life. In the middle of the most intense grief I have ever felt was mixed a whole lot of anger at God. For the timing and for the complete and total lack of support and comfort I would receive in Chicago.
In response, I took to walking at least 2 hours each day exploring my new city. Praying, noticing a city coming alive after its winter slumber, praying some more. It helped immeasurably. Then I tore my calf muscle. End of my walks for now. As I stood on the corner of Michigan & Huron last week, holding onto the corner of a building, waiting for 20 minutes for my husband to rescue me, tears streaming down my face because of the pain, I cried out to God over and over. “Seriously God! Do you see me? Why does everything have to be so stinking hard right now? Do you see me?!”
The answer, of course, is yes. He sees me and he sees you. 2 Chronicles 16:9 says, “For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.” I know that with His help I will be able to survive all that is hard in my life right now – the move, my Dad’s death, the calf injury. The reality is - everybody has stuff and varying degrees of hardness in their life right now. The key is in what we do with it.
There have been times where I have gotten stuck asking, “Why?” There is nothing wrong with asking that question unless we are unable to move beyond it. I am learning instead to change that to, “What do you want to teach me Lord through this situation?” or “Lord, what can I learn from this hard thing in my life?” And in the end what I most want when I come through the hard places is to use my experiences to come alongside someone else.
Precious Father. Thank you that you see us. Thank you that in your economy none of our experiences are wasted. Amen.