As 2023 came to a close, we were met with the annual social media posts highlighting our friends, families, and follower's best moments of the year. As I scrolled along and saw the many engagements, weddings, relocations, baby showers, and the like, I did some reflecting of my own.
This past year was very busy and I'm grateful to say that I accomplished a lot. Graduating law school, passing the uniform bar exam, and starting my career was no easy feat, but by the grace of God, He saw me through every moment... but 2023 was also riddled with feelings of grief for the dreams that weren't realized, some of which dated back further than the start of my law school journey. Some of my biggest moments were engrained with the disappointment of who was not celebrating with me.
It wasn't until this time of reflection that I even remembered my plans... In my picture-perfect life, there was so much more be to celebrated in 2023. For years, I stood in faith for my dreams to unravel at that particular point in my life. From the several elated moments that I would shout "Yes!" to the brave steps outside of my comfort zone, I knew that 2023 was going to be the year that my planned testimony would spring forth and inspire anyone who noticed it. When it didn't happen, I mourned (and sometimes sulked) over the missed milestones.
"Hope deferred makes the heart sick,..." Proverbs 13:12.
Countless times, I tried to ignore the reality that I was living with a hope-deferred heart. I would tell myself that this was nothing but a season to walk through before receiving the very vision I had desired.
"How embarrassing this will be if it doesn't come to pass!"
"Maybe I should just keep standing in faith. What I see doesn't matter as much. It'll eventually happen."
"I want this so badly! Why would God give me such a strong desire that He wouldn't fulfill? The desire itself is not bad. Perhaps it'll still happen!"
But as 2023 didn't slow down for me, I had no choice but to come to terms with the reality that was clearly in front of me... and it did not look like my dream life. Accepting the unmet expectations and kneeling before God in prayer became difficult. The frustration of learning this lesson hurt, because I would think of how much mental agony and embarrassment I could have avoided if I had known then what I know now. I felt like a failure, and even more so because I was actually mourning over something that I had never had. Who would understand how I felt?
As those thoughts came rolling in at the close of last year, I just so happened to be scrolling on my Instagram, and the right message came at the perfect time. Perhaps you've noticed lately the many Christian musical artists that are rising in creativity and popularity. One such artist is Emma Nissen, a Christian jazz singer. In a short reel, she sang to my very insecurity, allowing me to see that I was not alone in my struggles. Hearing those relatable words helped me continue my journey to move past the hurt and disappointment. Isn't it just like God to so graciously speak to us when we need it? I've learned that He is always speaking, and it's our responsibility to listen.
"Acceptance and Hope" is the final stage of the grieving process. Although the process can be painful, each lesson is still a blessing that shapes us into the people we are meant to be. As we learn to move on from the things we never had, may we truly learn to trust God's plan for us, even if it looks nothing like what we imagined... And may we never lose our worship of Him throughout the process.
I asked the Lord to speak to me through the Bible, and He led me to the Book of Job. This book is familiar to me, as it might be familiar to some of you. Job had it all until the day the devil visited God and challenged Him about Job's loyalty. "And the Lord said to Satan, 'Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?'” Job 1:8. Maybe you've been in a season where the Lord has said, "Have you considered my servant?" In that case, I want to point out something about Job that I hadn't appreciated as much until now.
"Then Job arose and tore his robe and shaved his head and fell on the ground and worshiped." Job 1:20.
After finding out that his property and children had been destroyed, Job not only mourned the loss of them, but he worshipped God at the same time. Can you imagine the intensity of that moment? It speaks volumes to the trust that God calls us to have, even in the difficult seasons of life. I am working on building my faith in this area. I hope you are too.
And let's not forget that there is still light at the end of the tunnel. "...but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life." Proverbs 13:12.
P.S.: I encourage you to take a listen to Emma Nissen's song here.