I have a favorite pair of jeans.
I’ve been wearing this faded denim for an embarrassingly long time.
They fit just right. They are comfortable. They are trust-worthy. I know them.
I used to feel that way about my life.
It was predictable. Comfortable. Easy.
It was shallow in a lot of ways, but I knew what I was getting. It was chocolate cake–sweet but empty. My life was a safe bet.
When I woke up in a slum in Kenya in 2010, I found soul-fulfilling purpose.
That also ruined my life.
It’s not sad, but it is true: When we open our eyes and step outside of our comfort zone–by choice or life’s unexpected circumstances–we will never fit back into our old lives the same way again.
It’s as brutal as it is beautiful. It’s a glorious gutting. And some days I’m homesick for what I didn’t know.
I have grieved the loss of ignorance from my former life and honestly, longed for its comfort in some weak moments. Okay, fine, weak weeks like this one. For more months than I can count, it’s been trauma and trials with our work across the ocean to our own back door.
This week in Kenya, it’s been a deadly diagnosis with one of our teen moms, eviction notices and injustice. And just when I felt like a feather could blow me over, my husband shattered his ankle and is bed-ridden until it’s stable enough to repair with plates and pins.
I’m running on fumes, but I still thank God for slaying me.
Because even in life’s hardest moments, there is always someone facing something harder. Perspective saves us every time.
This awakening is filled with pain and purpose. I don’t sleep well any more and when I do– I am haunted by the world’s normal. But still–I cling to it because I want to live with eyes wide open. I am weary and worn, but I am anything but empty. Because the second we look up from our lives to see how other people live, we drink from their cup of suffering and nothing will ever taste the same again.
Thank God, because emptiness is a bitter cup.
Yesterday, I sat next to my husband in a hospital bed and pulled at the frayed hem of those familiar jeans and realized they don’t quite fit any more. That’s what happens when you grow.
I don’t know if your life has been ruined by divorce or disease, but criticism or a calling, by death or disaster, by broken bones or broken dreams. But I do know that every moment of pain in this path to obedience is producing a peculiar and eternal glory.
And though He ruins us for this life and we long for the next one, we will praise Him.