Many times in life, growth is painful. Other times it might be something anticipated, sought after, exciting, longed for. When I was a little girl, I remember thinking, "I can't wait til I'm a grown-up." At 12 years old, I longed to be 16. At 16, I couldn't wait til I was 18. When I was first pregnant with Jackson, I couldn't wait til my belly would get big enough to wear maternity clothes for the first time. Then...at some point, we start dragging our feet on the growth process. You get to the point that you long for the days when you were a child and things were carefree. You quit looking forward to your age increasing. In the ninth month of pregnancy, you are so 'over' the big belly. Growing means stretching, and stretching hurts.
I'm in a stretching phase right now. Even though I know the pay-off will be worth it, it's hard to see that at this point. All I feel is the pain and all I see are the ugly marks that are being left behind. I'm being stretched in a way that I don't know that I'm capable of succeeding. I'm being challenged in a relationship that I wish were different, but I also have to accept it for what it is. How many times do you forgive someone who has hurt you so deeply? The saying goes, "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me." Who wrote this anyway? In my opinion words hurt a lot worse than breaking bones ever could. Bones heal fairly quickly, but the pain of words can leave someone broken for a lifetime.
I'm broken and I'm trying to learn from these experiences by not repeating this behavior. I'm trying to change my way of thinking into what I know God says is true. I'm wanting to use my story to help others who may also being going through this...but, I'm not there, yet. Among the great questions of life that we ask ourselves, my favorite has usually been, why? Why do these things happen? Why did this happen to me? Why didn't God rescue me from this? Why can't it be this way? I've spent many years of my life asking why. I've asked it so many times, but honestly, I haven't been given any real answers. Oh, I've gotten the typical 'Sunday School' answers. The answers that people usually give when they don't know what else to say, or they say them because they know that's what they should say, but they just don't really know why. I've decided that if I can't get answers to the question why...then I'll start asking, Why not? Why not me? People all over the world, in every neighborhood, in every country, of every faith, ethnicity, every socio-economic status, good people, bad people, lucky people, not so lucky people, celebrities, and average joes...everyone goes through some pretty hard times in life. So, why not me? Why would I think I'm so much better that I should avoid heartache?
The answer is that, I'm not. I'm not any better. I'm no different than anyone else in the world.
I'm stretching to overcome this obstacle in my life. I'm stretching to forgive the unforgiveable. I'm stretching to not have secrets. I'm stretching to love the unlovable. I'm stretching to gain what perspective I can. I'm stretching to be different. I'm stretching to not be ashamed. I'm stretching to make myself feel the pain while I'm in it. I'm stretching to be teachable. I'm stretching to be strong and flexible.
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”