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When In Doubt: Look Up

God's hand in hardship

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These past couple weeks I've really been struggling to see God's plan in my life. This beautiful future I'd been building had come crashing down, and I was standing at the bottom blinded by the dust of my dreams. I felt lost, abandoned, hurt. I was crying so hard that I couldn't see God's hand guiding me. And that was hard. Rebuilding isn't ever easy, but what I've realized lately is that God didn't destroy my future, He just knocked down my tower of Babble. He gave me a fresh start to build what he'd designed.

There's a song my best friend showed me called "Unmaking" by Nicole Nordeman, and a line of it says, "I'll gather the same stones where everything came crashing down, I'll build you an alter there on the same ground, cause what stood before was never yours." And I realized that was true. I had made all of these plans because I thought that this was what God wanted too, but I never asked Him. I thought he had laid a specific path for me, but I realized I'd been the one laying that path. Looking back at the way that this year was set up I realized all along He had another plan for me.

He still had a path, it just bent unexpectedly, and since I was looking in the other direction I almost missed it. Luckily, God had set me up perfectly. He had put certain people in my life exactly when I needed them. He surrounded me with loving girls on my hall and encouraging RAs. He gave me track girls who will sit at Starbucks with me for an hour and encourage me when I want to cry and who will lay awake with me until 5AM just to talk. He gave me a mom who will text my friends when I'm sad so they'll come and harass me. His timing sometimes feels slow, or frustrating, but when it comes down to it it's perfect.

I have seen this in my life this past year especially. This last spring semester I had a hurdle accident, and it was a doozy. I tripped coming into a hurdle going full speed. I hit the hurdle with my chest and the ground with my face. I came out with a chipped clavicle, some really serious whiplash, a cut up face, and a lot of broken teeth. But what I've always said about that accident was that it blessed me more than it hurt me. I think back to the way that day played out and I see God taking care of me through it.

Our head trainer just happened to be out at the track that day (he normally wasn't out on the track that particular day of the week). He was next to me almost immediately. The student trainers had just learned about how to take care of injuries involving teeth that day, so they were all very prepared and kind. They smiled at me and made me laugh when all I really wanted to do was cry. The dentist that we called for emergency surgery was just about the leave the office, but for some reason he'd stayed a little later that day. One of the seniors happened to be involved in the medical field and was able to sit with me through my whole surgery. She held my hand and talked me through my bouts of shock. She then went to the store and got me a bunch of soft foods so I could eat for the next two weeks. My boyfriend at the time came straight from practice and drove me home from the dentist. He then walked me all the way to my room and made sure I was taken care of. There were days when I looked awful, and he always told me how beautiful I was. One day I was lonely and discouraged, so he sat with me in my lobby for two hours while I slept with a bag of frozen peas on his shoulder.

Through the whole time I was hurt I was showered with love and encouragement. One day I had had to get x-rays, and halfway through my pain meds wore off. I was in immense pain and I was incredibly tired. My face was still swollen and I couldn't eat real food. I just felt so defeated. But when I got back to my room, there were flowers, a milkshake and a card sitting outside my door to remind me that I was so loved. God kept continually used the people in my life to bless and encourage me. It wasn't just my friend Katherine telling me I looked beautiful when my face was wrecked, it was God. It wasn't my boyfriend who held me when I was sad, it was God. And it wasn't just my friends who were giving me gifts to uplift me, it was God.

That accident was awful, but God lead me through it. It's made me realize that sometimes there are hard things that we have to go through in life. Sometimes we feel so broken down we don't know where to begin. Nicole Nordeman's song, "Unmaking" poses the question, "what happens now when all I've built is torn down? What happens next when all of You is all that's left?" and the answer is you look up. He's always reaching out to us, even in the hard times. No, especially, in the hard times. But sometimes we're looking behind us instead of in front of us. We've taken our eyes off of the Lord and are looking at the raging sea around us instead. Sometimes we're blinded by how hard we're crying and thinking about how much we're hurting that we don't realize that God is patiently waiting for us to look up and see his hand.

I still can't see around the bend in the road that God is leading me, but the dust is starting to clear and my eyes are starting to dry. I've begun to see God's hand in front of me in the form of many hands, all working together to lift me up. With their help I'm going to build an alter and I'm going to trust that God will guide me safely through the rubble and to a place where I can begin work for his kingdom.

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