I have had a difficult life. It's not been as bad as others for sure, but I fought against many things to get to where I am today, and I truly believe that only the grace of God has ensured my survival.
For many years I wavered between suicidal tendencies, deep depression, and apathy, all of them making their rounds in my life. I cried out, screamed at the sky, raged inside and out, wondering why God had chosen me to suffer the horrible things I experienced. I was always a Christian. I did everything I was supposed to do at church. I sang in the choir, was an acolyte, got confirmed, helped out when I was old enough ... so what gives?
Over time, things got worse and I honestly felt at the time that I was being punished by God. I'd made mistakes, my parents had made mistakes, and now I was paying for it all. I felt like there was no way out; no hope for me.
It's taken years, most of them with my husband, for me to come out of that. There is hope, there is love, there is acceptance. Yes, my parents fought constantly. Yes, I didn't have a consistent father figure in my life. Yes, I made huge mistakes in high school and beyond. But it's all forgiven, and even more accurate it had a purpose.
It's the beginning of the year, so it was time for the Daily Audio Bible to start over again. Genesis is an amazing book, covering a massive amount of time, and has story after story that is the bedrock of our faith. One that I always "knew", but not well, was the story of Joseph. We actually have two video versions of it, an animated one and the musical with Donny Osmond. Typically the part of the story that is emphasized is the forgiveness of the brothers, and it is a very good lesson, but I got a new perspective this time around with the help of Brian who reads the passages.
Joseph, one of the patriarchs of our faith, suffered. Over and over and over. Every time something good happened and he thought he was okay, a negative showed up. He got the coat; his brothers sold him into slavery. He became a trusted member of Potiphar's household staff; Potiphar's wife accused him of sexual assault. Test after trial after tribulation. Yet he stuck with God. No matter what, he believed. And in the end, Joseph saved his family from the famine because of where he was.
Now, I don't at all claim to be as righteous as Joseph, for I am no such thing. But I have an idea now of why I suffered through what I did. He was leading me somewhere. I never would have become the woman I am, the wife I am, the mother I am, the Christian I am, if I had never gone through those things.
And maybe this isn't the end. Maybe there are more things to come that will test me, try me, refine me in his furnace. But with this new perspective, hopefully they can be less painful, less traumatic, less of a wedge between me and my God.
Always walking, always learning, until He takes me home. A new motto for a new year.
Now playing: Andrew Lloyd Webber - Go, Go, Go Joseph