I met my new friend, Sharon*, today at a local coffee shop, the kind buzzing with activity but offers space for deep conversations in a little corner of the room. As we sipped coffee and wiped tears, she shared parts of her painful story, the shock and fear that now plagued her, the devastating impact of her husband’s choices.
Sharon grew up a believer, and she always strived to be a good, Christian wife. She did her best to pray the right prayers. She made an effort to spend quality time with God. Now it was all beginning to feel fruitless. Everything she was experiencing in this clash of past and present left her feeling empty.
I sat with her question, ruminating on what she was feeling. Did all of her previous prayers not matter? All that time spent with God…did it not result in anything? Was it all, in fact, fruitless?
I felt such a stirring in my soul in that quiet moment in the corner of the coffee shop. I longed for her to understand that this time in the “before” was not a mistake. The way she did life with God before discovery wasn’t wrong. Her prayers were not in vain; her quiet time, not pointless. This new season of life, even in all its pain, was a time of intimacy with God – a season of simply “being” with God, no agenda, no ticking off her daily spiritual to-do list.
The words poured out of me. I reminded her of the truth: what she’s been living for the past 30 years has prepared her for this moment. The years weren’t all forsaken. They weren’t all for nothing. They weren’t fruitless. They were preparing and pruning her so she could enter into this sacred space with the Lord, so she can know that she is safe in His embrace.
And so while her strategy, prayer life, devotions or how she faces off with this unwanted season may look different than they did 15 years ago, the One she is doing battle with hasn’t changed at all.
We as humans are constantly trying to figure out the “right” way to do life with Him. The truth is, God is creative, diverse and dynamic. Maybe in this season He is asking you to spend time with him in a new way. You could journal scripture or simply sit in His word. You could take a walk in the woods and scream about your pain. That’s how intentional and relational He is. He is not afraid of the raw, tender places in us.
Today I invite you to sit and reflect on the ways that God has shifted your story, while remembering He has not shifted at all. He’s been believing in you. He’s been refining you. Take a deep breath and begin walking in this new way of life.
Traveling with you in hope,