I can’t let this year slip by without sharing how hard it has been.
When the ice storm hit North Texas, we were hit hard.
Financially and emotionally.
We were without electricity for 6 days and that led to approximately $15,000 in damage, not covered at all by insurance. I went unpaid for a week from work and received legal papers for one of my worst nightmares the same week. To say it was hard, would also be an understatement of the year. My heart and nervous system broke all over again.
The costs of home repairs and lawyers added up. The emotional toil and despair and stress took over in ways I wish I could forget, not to mention how badly I wish some of my loved ones could forget.
In the midst of this, I got a tattoo. This one. The word “Truth” on my right wrist. Because the enemy did all he could to take me out during this time. I couldn’t express to others the pain I was in. I also knew there was nothing anyone could do to make it go away even if I could. It was too much for words. But, God.
He didn’t take the bills or the difficulty away. He stood back when I asked Him to. “Is what I say true?” “Do I still love you?” “Even if. In all these circumstances, you lose. Do you lose Me?”
The Truth of that is “No. I don’t lose You.” I can’t. Because the Truth is found here. In You. About me. About others.
“Nothing can separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.” Romans 8:38 (NLT)
I’ve never felt the powers of hell as strongly as I did this year. Because of that oppression, I am even more aware of how strong God is. How He fights for us in a spiritual realm. And what He allows us to go through. I felt the darkness of the battle. This was my way of putting on and tightening up the belt of Truth (Ephesians 6:14). And keeping it on. To stand my ground in it. And trust it. Because the alternative was death to my soul.
After our ice storm fiasco and the legal difficulties that I thought might kill me, both of our air conditioners went out. Another $20,000 later and we could only surmise we lived in a money pit.
Our beautiful home was eating us alive. And truly testing our marriage. What else, Lord? As I know that is not a test you want to give Him. Read the book of Job.
This is after I’d written a book about the love of God. This is after I’d hosted seven years of Bible study. This is after I thought I’d survived the worst. With Him. Oh, how much more He longs to draw close. To make it even more personal. To provide peace and make us His own. To draw us close to His chest and fight demons on our behalf.
This is proof that when we think we’ve been through the worst, we have no idea what else is coming. Right around the bend. So, lean in sons and daughters. Look to our Father who loves us most in the best and worst of times.
On the other side of this time and tattoo, I can also attest that to the extent there is pain, there is also joy and relief. Relief that it’s over. Lessons learned, and changes made. And love still. Stronger because of it. And that His Truth still stands.
Neither of us lost our jobs or our homes or our children or each other. We are well aware of these blessings. And grieve with others who have.
For us personally, 2021 made 2020 feel easy as hard and strange as it was. I know we all have our own experiences. I’m just sharing ours. Hopefully, this also helps you with yours. When the next valley arrives… The Truth doesn’t change in it.
He walks through our flames with us and brings us others who will too. It might be a smaller group than ever before. It might even be just you and Him. But, if that brings us closer to Him, So be it.
I love this tattoo more every day. I never thought I’d get one. I couldn’t imagine what I’d want on my body as long as I had it. But, this one. To see and remember. The Truth.
What He brought me through. How low I actually got. What I considered in my worst moments. The fact that He loves all of me. The good and the bad. My mistakes. My kids. His provision and grace. His strength. Not at all my own.
That my identity is not just Mom, as much of a gift that that is. I am His beloved daughter no matter what. Even if I were to lose my children. And as hard as that is to write, it’s Truth. And, I pray they know that about themselves too.
This tattoo is on my right wrist. Easily seen by me and others. Near where Jesus took His nails to save me. And easily placed over my heart when it needs reminded.
The Truth sets us free. And never changes or fades. This tattoo may change or fade over time more than the truth itself. And, for that, I’m thankful. He sustains me.
Even when the enemy wages war on our hearts and minds. Even when the deepest sadness sets in. Even when it seems no one understands. Even when we are schemed against and plotted around. The enemy wants to take us out. But, God says… “Nothing can separate us from His love.” Nothing.
I don’t know what’s coming next. But, I want to keep His Truth tattooed on my heart for it.