When I was 19, my heart was broken. Actually, it was shattered. The boy I thought I loved with all my heart, turned out to be the perfect man for someone else. I really thought that heartache would last forever. The heartache, while at the time was excruciating, it was also temporary and an answer to prayer. Still, I distinctively remember asking myself in the midst of the pain, “how did I get here?”
There were many times in my young adult life that I ended up somewhere unpleasant and unfamiliar. I questioned myself on how I landed in that spot. Sometimes, I did my best to avoid heartbreak but fell right smack in the middle of it. I had placed my faith in a great Oz and wound up lost. Much of the time, I took zero responsibility for my actions, blamed others for my bad choices, and choose sin over and over rather than the grace and mercy of God. Other times, I carried so much guilt upon my back that the load was unbearable. I felt sorry for myself because of my circumstances (justifiably unfair), and convinced others around me to feel sorry for myself too (which never really helped me). In short, you don’t have to look too far to find a trail of my mistakes. They are lying right between my good intentions and my excuses.
Thankfully, Jesus saw every desperate mistake and each plentiful excuse. I remember the exact ditch He picked me up and dusted me off in. It was there that I started to follow Him.
Jesus said,”If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me,” (Matthew 16:24). There is a common thread of following someone other than the Lord in each of my failed plans. These choices, however great my intentions, were not centered on Christ. They centered on something else I desperately wanted—joy, peace, and love. Ironically, it wasn’t until I died to myself (gave up on my own plans) that I began to see God’s will (joy, peace, and love) and obediently followed His plan not mine.
Today, at 41, I sit here and ask myself the same question, “how did I get here?” Only, this time because there is abundant joy, peace, and love in my life. Yes, there are still many struggles, weariness, and even at times, despair. I am grateful for the trials too. But, when I ask myself the how did I get here question it is a rhetorical one. I know how I got here. I chose to be here. I chose to follow Christ. My joy, peace, and love comes from following Christ.
Our paths are not always going to be easy. Take heart, we are not alone. He is always with us. What ever we face, we face together with Jesus. We can always find our way back home to Jesus, for He will never forsake us. We don’t even need the ruby slippers to get there.
“Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised” Proverbs 31:30.