First I will say this - in my experience, God is a loving God. God is a giving God. God is a protecting God. A wise God, a beautiful, glorious, praiseworthy God.
God is also a hard God. A taking away God. A God I barely understand even while I want to understand him more.
But God is also trustworthy God. When I don't understand, when I hurt, when I withdraw, when I close down, when I turn away, God is to be trusted. When I run to him, when I open my eyes and my heart to him, when I cry for help, God is to be trusted. When I smile at him, when I laugh and let him in the deepest part of my being, God is trustworthy. No matter what, no matter the situation. And he has proved it yet again.
Since I started this blog, I have poured out a lot of me into it. A lot that needed to come out of my dirty insides so that clean healing could take place. There is healthy new flesh in my heart where before, there were hard, stony, scabby places that allowed little room for growth. God has infused thoughts and words with power like a sledgehammer to chip away the entrapment of my heart. There has been joy unthinkable as I discovered myself, discovered how to love, how to be a friend, how to serve, how to just...be me.
And there have been friends along the way, cheering the sledgehammer on, loving me through pain and hurt, supporting me as the rocky pieces fell away and rejoicing with me, with God, that I was learning to live.
Somewhere along the way, during the heartchipping, the growing, the learning to live, there came a time where a lot of my loving serving giving became quite unnecessary and unneeded. That's okay, I knew there would be a fade to gray, and it was right and good. The circle was getting bigger from the love and blessing of God, and I did not mind being gray - it's always been one of my favorite colors anyway.
But somehow, at some point, fade to gray became fade to invisible. Gray is fine, invisible hurts. And yet, that's where I have been for some time. Invisible.
I cannot really describe the invisibility of the past year. For one thing, it would be way too much like a pityparty. For another thing, I have no ability to put into words how it feels when people withdraw from you, stop talking to you, even sometimes seem angry or impatient with you, when they cease to 'see' you, even right there in front of them, when you sit in the stairwell during worship services for weeks at a time, and no one even notices that you weren't there with them, when you have a gift and aren't asked to use it, when you are called to serve and used less and less. I just cannot wrap my heart around that again to be able to write it. And I would never want to hurt my innocent friends, who were dealing with their own lifechanges in the way they knew best, and not realizing at all what was going on with me.
But you know what? God was in it, the whole time. There has come a time where things are permanently changed - my friends have moved on to another place, another calling, another adventure. And I see God in this so clearly - the growing invisibility of the past year has actually been a shield, a protection, a guarding of my heart. I have not been invisible to God. He has been there with me, preparing me for this moment. It hurt, yes - more than I can say. But God knew of a greater hurt, and rescued my heart from a pain that would have been almost unbearable. God, once again, is my Knight in shining armor.
My dear friend recently posted about God's leading in one of the biggest decisions of her life and the life of her family, and how God brought her and her husband to specific Scriptures to guide them. I read her blogpost early one morning as I fixed my coffee. Suddenly I was so overwhelmed by God speaking to me about one particular verse that I had to put my coffee down and lean on my hands, breathless - I knew it was about ME as much as it was about them! It was about our church as much as another church, my life as much as my friend's life, God wasn't working in just one area, it was about so many things, it took my breath.
I suddenly felt a rush of color, like I have not felt for years - COLOR. Not gray. Color!
I know I am loved. By my friends, by God. I know that God has released me from a commitment made long ago, a specific commitment to serve my friend with all that I have, for love of God and my friend. I know that my service is no longer needed, for my friend, and I am free to love. And full of color.
Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.19
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.