Ashton RayComment

Time and Pain and Grace

Ashton RayComment
Time and Pain and Grace

i expected it to look different. 

It's the end of May and summer will soon make its official entrance, but the humidity and mosquitos and sunburns have already become normal. Time is passing, which is something that the world around me seems to celebrate but something my mind can't seem to get in line with. 

i began the Spring semester with high hopes for what was ahead. After my semester off, i believed that the months to come would be full of days that felt good. Three years into this dance of healing, i thought it was soon to be over. i thought that my semester off, my months of rest and community and redemption, would pour into my forever and my hard seasons of healing would fade away. i wrote about walking, "into the cold season with my head held high and my smile wide and a full heart." As the new year started, i believed i was headed for a season of lighthearted redemption. 

However, that's not what 2016 has felt like so far. 

When i think about the past five months, i don't feel much. This chapter was made up of what seemed like endless days of apathy. There was a lot of sadness. There were a lot of hard counseling appointments. i could never sleep and when i managed to, i never slept well. Lies seemed louder than Truth. i isolated myself from everyone i could. i ran from the word depression and ignored raging anxiety. Before the season started i declared that i believed, "God was good no matter what my mental health looks like" but i couldn't find that belief in my heart.

i walked into counseling one day feeling apathetic and thriving on routine. i didn't want to talk to Homegirl but i knew that i needed to. i told her i felt "out of control." Nothing made sense. Everything looked fine but i was so sad. This wasn't how it was supposed to be. i argued with her. i got mad. She applauded me for feeling things. She told me that i'm still healing, that is isn't over, which i knew but ignored. She confirmed that the hard springs were still in rotation. This chapter, this miserable and hard and full and necessary chapter, was not over yet. The Father is still working things out.

Because of Who wired me, the response could have been grace. i could have walked out of Homegirl's office feeling relieved and celebrating that God is still working on me. He is setting me free from what was and that is something to rejoice in. But i didn't. i was disappointed and sad. i wanted to be better. 

i had a lot of plans for what my perfect-spring would look like. None of them involved the familiar ache of depression. None of them involved past pain demanding to be felt. 

i felt like i had failed. Rather than believing that it was God's plan, that He was watching over me and never left my side, i mourned what could have been. i decided it should have been one way and i attempted to live ignorantly of what was. i didn't allow myself to believe in the grace that God gives. And frankly, it sucked.

But my story isn't over.

The thing about grace is that we don't choose it. The thing about my pain, the pain that seems to demand every part of my life, has already been conquered on the cross.

All of this is to say that it's okay if you're not where you want to be. It's okay if it still hurts. It's okay if you're more aware of the progress that hasn't been made than the progress that has. Don't be mad at yourself. Open your heart to the grace that our Father gives us. We have a God that knows everything. He is so aware of you. Invite Him into the frustration and the pain.

Just because life hurts doesn't mean that your heart has to be hardened to the world. Truth reigns even when we don't feel it. 

i don't know what's to come. The spring is ending and the season of emotional chaos seems to be falling away. i still want to be better, but i now believe that it's okay if it takes me a while to get there. Time will pass and pain might come, but there is always more grace.