you won’t know until you know

It sounds harsh, but sometimes I actually have prayed that someone I know will reach their limit, and not just reach it, but exceed it. I am convinced in this life that we will never know what we are truly made of until we are hanging over a cliff for our dear lives. Sometimes literally, though I would rather not.

Thrill seeking aside, I have been many times over in my life at the end of my rope, filled to the brim and running over – not with joy mind you, with stress. Pure unadulterated stress. And just one more thing pushed me over so that I cracked – it looked like yelling and screaming at people (usually the one person who deserved it least) – or making an epic decision at the worst possible moment – or doing something I regret (trashing something of value comes to mind).

And that’s how I learned who I really am. That’s when I realized what I’m capable of. That’s when I was my darkest and most terrifying. (Stop laughing, Rob, I think I can be terrifying.)

But the beauty of times when I am at the end and I’m tearing my hair out and there’s nothing I can possibly do at that moment but scream, is that I have pulled it together. I am still here. I am still ok. I have some battle scars. I have to deal with some consequences. But all in all, I am pretty ok with where I am and what I’m about. And I’ve known that I can make it through the fire. It makes me grateful for true friends who weren’t there heaping more wood onto the flames. They were helpful and practical or just encouraging without being condescending or belittling to my problems. There are those who came alongside me in my grief and pain. There were those who didn’t offer one iota of help or advice, but drank with me and told me the worst jokes ever. Because sometimes that’s all I actually truly need.

And then there were the moments when everything is completely out of my control, I have no recourse, I have no ideas, I have no foreseeable path in front of me. And I am forced down onto my face, temper tantrums coming and going, and then total contentment washes over me like an ocean wave over the sand. I have to be pulled in by it and run over with it. Whatever and wherever – I am content. Here is exactly where I’m meant to be. And God is not distant then. I listen and I hear His still small voice. “I got this,” He says. “I got you.” And I know now that it has all been because of His Grace poured over my head and given to me in abundance, more than I ever realized.

And I get up off the floor and I either know exactly what to do next, or I have no idea at all and I’m just trying something out, but I smile doing it. Because I’ve seen the cliff and I have come back to tell the tale. And I pray that you do too.

the Cliffs of Dover

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