“I didn’t totally understand why things had to happen the way they did.”
This is from an entry to my blog’s 1st anniversary giveaway. If you’re going through some life/direction crisis, or a hodge podge of things dragging you down, I think you can well relate to this story. More than relating to it, I’m sure you’ll be encouraged and you can grab hold of a thing or two from here that can keep you going!
Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow
by Cristel Gutierrez
The past year, months and weeks have been the hardest so far. Every day is like a roller coaster ride. Ups and downs, here, there, and everywhere. You know it very well and I know so little. tweet
Every minute, every second is about Your grace. I can’t imagine waking up without knowing that You are there. When I can’t bear the overwhelming noise, You are my very place of quiet retreat. When all my self-made defenses are crashing down, You are my strong refuge and fortress. When my troubled mind wears me down, You give me peace that transcends all understanding. When I am walking through the dark nights, Your love leads me back to the light. tweet
I may not still understand why it gets harder and longer but it is during these times that I learn the important lessons on faith, love, patience, selflessness and forgiveness. If losing everything means going deeper and deeper in knowing and loving You, then I am more than contented and satisfied. tweet
One day, things will make sense and out of the broken pieces, a beautiful picture will come out… tweet
That was 5 years ago… a reflection of my struggling 23 year-old self while going through “quarter life crisis” with some major detours on the side and character building toppings. It was a dish that didn’t taste good at first. I didn’t totally understand why things had to happen the way they did. Why would God want me to stay when all I wanted to do was run? Why would He tell me to run when the safest way was to settle? Why would I forgive the one who had hurt me so badly? Why would I dream again when I just kept on failing? Those questions were like groanings, too deep for words to describe. It was a battle within me… but it was also within me where I found the reason to fight.
Storms of life expose who we really are. The way we respond in times of darkness sets the foundation for moments of success.
It was during those tough times that I realized that I was not as strong, as kind and as humble as I thought. But I discovered how prideful I was and yet I was loved and affirmed more than I could have ever asked— the kind of love that refused to leave me in that state.
So I surrendered and learned to die to self. In the process of dying to self-ambitions and personal plans, there I found the way to live. By letting go of past hurts and choosing to forgive, healing came and my heart was restored. In pursuing my dreams and failing along the way, I found peace and security not through my achievements but through the only One who matters. In the midst of those humbling moments, grace abounded and it led me to where I am today… to where I am supposed to be.
Now, I feel the words coming to life proudly telling me, “Hey you made it through the rain.” “See, your quarter life crisis turned out good.”
There is such joy for not giving up, for staying in the race even when reasons fail you. For reasons that are self-created only last for a while, but there is a kind of reason that stays. It holds you even when you’ve lost the grip. It’s not temporary. It’s eternal.
God works His plans in ways we may not understand. For when we don’t understand, we learn to trust.
The conclusion of matters: there is nothing that I can boast about myself but God’s sufficiency in my life.
His love stays the same even though my heart has failed Him so many times, and that gives me a lot of reason to hang on. When I am losing my grip, God never gets tired of holding my hand.
After those 5 struggling years, things are now making sense and the broken pieces are beautifully turning to a picture of God’s faithfulness. Indeed, all the things that I lost are meant to prepare me for something great. Enduring the birth pains produced a tenacious spirit within me that’s what I exactly needed for my next journey. Who would have thought that one day, I would be going to different places and nations and sharing hope and love to people I never thought or imagined of reaching out to?
All along, God was in the process of birthing new things… New dreams. New hopes. New beginnings.
Yes, life has different ways of teaching us lessons. But all lessons point us back to a reason higher than ourselves. Five years from now I’ll be 33 years old and when that time comes…
I’ll have something to remind me that IT’S ALL WORTH IT.
I was encouraged by Cristel’s story, and I hope you were, too. Whatever you’re going through today is indeed part of a beautiful masterpiece that is yet to unfold. I wrote a short post on this here. Fix your eyes beyond the obstacles, and keep going. Take it from Cristel’s story; take it from me, a #1007mom who lost her first child hours after delivery, and who is now pregnant with another answered prayer—your story does not end where you are right now. God has a lot of good things in store for you!
Cristel’s is one of the three entries winning my blog’s 1st anniversary giveaway. Do take time to read the other two:
- Born with a Time Bomb (Perfect Love by Janina Rivera): If you’re going through something that has gotten you living in fear or uncertainty, this story will be such a boost for you.
- Defying the Odds (by Bernadette Morales): If you feel powerless over what’s happening, or if you’ve been told that what you wanted was close to impossible (or totally impossible), like having been medically diagnosed with a “sure” ending, take time to read this story that will help you dare to hope against the odds.
I am the happy wife of my happy husband, Pao. We are overly grateful that I am now 14 weeks pregnant with our second child. I am the author of the book, When God Could’ve But He Didn’t, which is available in ebook at Amazon/Kindle, and will be available in paperback edition very soon!