The Shadowlands

Life has a way of taking you on unexpected journeys.

Sometimes your way is smooth, flowing from one moment full of gratitude to another.  All you see are blue skies and silver linings. Other times the way gets bumpy as you encounter gray skies and thunder.  You are stopped in your tracks…BUT you quickly regain clarity and keep moving.

And yet, there are other times, where the sky is so dark and the terrain so rugged that you feel the darkness surrounding you.  The journey feels overwhelming and unfair. You question how you got to this place. You check your rearview mirror, trying to find what led to this place.  You might even do an inventory of your life choices.  It’s dark. It’s scary and you can’t seem to find any light through the clouds.

I’ve been there, and I’m willing to bet some chocolate you have, too. Maybe you are right smack dab in the middle of it even now.

A year after learning of our child’s abuse, I sat down and thought through some of the lessons I learned while traveling through these Shadowlands.  I certainly don’t have all the answers, but I want to share with you what I learned, in the hopes that my pain will help you in whatever you are going through.  So, each week (at least for a while) I will post a blog focusing on these lessons I learned.

My child still faces  emotional repercussions of what was done to him….the abuse, isolation, and fear the abuser used to control him has very real moments of rearing its ugly head.  But he is learning to deal in healthy ways and is not allowing it to control his life. Everyone’s pain looks different.  It comes in all shapes and forms. But, it’s there.  Waiting in the shadows to control and devour.

One thing I learned is not all things can be fixed.  Nope.  Wouldn’t that be great? A simple, easy and quick “how do ya do” and it’s all better.  I have learned that ALL things can be redeemed, however.  The beautiful part is you don’t know how the ragged and torn pieces are all going to fit back together, much less with any beauty and grace.  I know this to be true; time does not heal all wounds. The only healer of wounds is God.  I marvel at how He has chosen to put our jagged pieces back together.

The beauty that comes from pain can be exquisite.  I’m not sure how it works.  Give Him the shredded and broken.  Give Him the messy and stinky.  Give Him the confused and lost pieces. And He takes them, heals them, reshapes them and gives them back to you in the form of something absolutely amazing.

I remember sitting on the counselor’s couch.  My head in my hands.  Life and ministry had been incredibly difficult, unlike anything I had ever experienced up to that point.  Then this was thrown on top of the pile.  We had followed God.  We had given our lives to follow Him.  We were raising our kids to be Jesus followers.  And yet.  I could hardly grasp the depth of our pain and the dark we were entering.  I could only cry.

If I had to go through it then something good was going to come of it!

On our journey through this very ugly and dark place, I decided if I was going to go through this terrible, horrible, no good, hard season then I was going to do something with it.  I was going to be better for it!  I knew someone needed to hear my story and know they are not alone.  It may not even look like my pain.  Pain is pain.

The Shadowlands can be a scary, lonely place. 

But, there is much peace and gratitude to be found if we only look beyond the Shadowlands. 

We may not know what life will look like on the other side of the dark, but we know who will walk with us through the dark.  And He never leaves.

I’ve learned He can take ANYTHING and redeem it.  Not everything can be fixed.  But EVERYTHING can be redeemed.

Where are you? Are you in the middle of the Shadowlands? Are you coming out the other side and all that is left is a broken heart and shattered dreams?  What do you need redeemed?  He will.  I know it….as well as I know anything.  He just needs you to let Him….stop trying to piece it all back together by yourself.  And what beauty He will create!

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