This Past Season

Image via Telegraph UK, Film Volver by Pedro Almodovar

And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself restore, support, strengthen and establish you.” 1 Peter 5:10

By: Gabriela Yareliz

I always do enjoy putting my thoughts out into letters. It sort of shifts things in time for me.

It has been a year of serious introspection. A year of sitting down and facing brokenness, pain, loss, and changes. It has also been a year of marvelous things and moments, and mostly a year of growth, where I have been looking at myself, and thinking, why did I react that way? What is behind this fear? Or this sadness? Or this physical manifestation and symptom?

It has caused me to pause and think. It has been a year where I have wrestled with expectations, disappointment (with that knot in my throat that frustratingly (to my annoyance) forms when I want to cry), hurt and my pride.

I heard not so long ago that you can’t rush healing. And while at first, when I was facing my anguish I thought, I thought I had healed past all this. Why am I here again? I have now realized that I probably couldn’t have made it through this round without rounds one and two. It fills me with hope because that must mean someone is guiding all of this and watching over me. That must mean something has been gained.

“That must mean something has been gained.”

Lysa TerKeurst wrote, God never says He won’t allow us to face more than what we can handle. The scripture is often misquoted, but what He promises is to not allow us to be tempted more than we can handle. This means that in life, we will certainly face things that feel like and probably most certainly are more than we can handle.

It’s a journey, for sure.

Today, I received a phone call from someone I hadn’t spoken to in months. Someone who used to be close to me. I’ll say that I didn’t pick up. The thought of answering that call felt draining. So much has happened in the past two years, I wouldn’t even know where to begin to catch this person up with my life. And to be honest, I don’t have the energy. If you missed it, you missed it.

I have had some time to sit down and grieve certain things. Things like relationships, people in my life who can’t be who they are supposed to be, broken trust, and the list is long. Things that have been beyond messed up. Again, as Lysa TerKeurst says, sometimes life breaks you, and sometimes it turns you to dust.

It has been hard to sit with that pain because it has often meant I don’t get to be the person I want to be around people who surround me, who have no role or fault in any of this. When grief hits us, it hits us hard.

I have gone from deep sadness, to disbelief, to tremendous emptiness, to questioning sometimes just about everything– except God. God is someone that I can never question, in this point in my life. I realized that so much of what had me being so reactive to these circumstances and everyone else (we are being honest, right?) was my own fear that somehow, the way those who hurt me saw me or what they thought of me was somehow true. (This is aside from all the other craziness happening simultaneously, but I can’t control the rest, just me; so I will talk about me and what I can control in the equation). There is something that sort of shatters your soul when someone who has hurt you justifies how and why they hurt you. Sometimes, those lies seep deep into our souls and haunt us for years. But they are exactly that: lies.

Something dramatically shifts in us when we can recognize lies for what they truly are. When we recognize who God says we are and what He offers us, we can begin to truly believe the truth that surrounds us that we may have missed while blinded by hurt, fear and untruths.

A classic that depicts how we mourn, by Lorca. A play you will not soon forget. 

In my culture, when someone dies, people are known to be in mourning and grieve for a time. They even change their wardrobe to reflect this state of mourning.

I feel like this past month has been a re-emerging out of that grief period. A time to recalibrate, recollect, and gather pieces.

The circumstances that brought on this grief are far from over. In fact, as it is in real life, unlike in the American movies, there may be no denouement. (Maybe this is a French or Spanish film). Definitely not American. Yet, despite this being something that has yet to have a resolution for better or for worse, what has changed is me.

This post is not meant to be some dark twisted set of paragraphs before I go to wash my hair. I had a different purpose.

I needed to go to this dark place where I have been sitting because I need to share with you why I am no longer there.

Lysa TerKeurst writes in her book It’s Not Supposed To Be This Way, that when life turns us into dust, we have to remember that God formed man out of dust. In scripture, He healed a blind man’s sight by spitting into dust. The key is that God can do a lot with dust. When He infuses Himself into it, He creates life. He creates something new.

“The key is that God can do a lot with dust.”

God set a series of books in my path this month. He also made it so that Psalm 40 popped up in every single book, devotional, and sign I read– just everything. It popped up everywhere. It only recently clicked.

This Psalm means so much to me now. It has been an anchor, throughout this time. Here, we see a King David who is worshipping despite his circumstances and despair.

In the middle of His storm, he states:

Happy are those who make the Lord their trust, who do not turn to the proud, to those who go astray after a lie.” (v. 4)

He continues by stating: “I have not hidden your saving help within my heart, I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation; I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness from the great congregation.” (v. 10)

Today, I am trying to share with you His saving help, His faithfulness and His salvation. I know that the things I have discovered about myself, the lies that have been torn down in my mind, the identity I can find in Him, the joy I can feel in this moment, despite my circumstances– all of this is because of His steadfast love and His faithfulness.

Even in the midst of pain and a lot of dysfunction, I can still experience deep joy, profound love, and truth. I am so grateful for that. I know that He is with me. He is with me now and in the future, in whatever I will face. If it’s illness, He will provide. Financially, He will provide. If He makes me a spouse, He will provide. If He makes me a parent, He will provide. No matter what, He will provide. And we must remember that God is not just “sufficient”, He is GOD. He goes beyond all we can think, expect or desire.

I was listening to Bobby Bones the other day, and he was talking about things he does because of growing up in poverty or because he has no family (many members of his family passed away from drug use). He said he often keeps himself busy because it gives him less time to feel lonely. And I remember listening to that and stopping in my tracks. That was something I identified with a lot, and not so much out of loneliness (though I have experienced loneliness– I have lived alone for about 8 years and the silence gets to me, at certain times), but I know that I do that a lot when I am feeling hurt or going through something. For me, it’s easier to stay busy than to really sit there and face the music, so to speak. These past few months and weeks have been different, though.

Through the quiet moments of reading, reflection, prayer and time alone, ironically, I have found peace. Maybe not perfection or resolution, but true peace. I am a work in progress.

I was someone who could do a whole workout on adrenaline and still feel completely disconnected from my body. Even the way I exercise has changed. Connecting with our true selves and facing pain can be one of the hardest things we do. Surrendering and letting go of the hurt, all we can’t control and the zaniness of it all can seem foolish, in the moment.

As we spend more time in His presence and frankly seeing ourselves clearly, we can see, like in a mirror, what is actually hurting, instead of masking our symptoms, which we do all to well, in this society.

No amount of falls will really undo us if we keep on picking ourselves up each time. We shall of course be very muddy and tattered children by the time we reach home. But the bathrooms are all ready, the towels put out, & the clean clothes are in the airing cupboard. The only fatal thing is to lose one’s temper and give up. It is when we notice the dirt that God is most present to us: it is the very sign of His presence,” C.S. Lewis wrote on January 20, 1942 to Mary Neylan in a letter.

“It is when we notice the dirt that God is most present to us: it is the very sign of His presence.” C.S. Lewis

One thing I have been so aware of is His promises. One in particular:

“And after you have suffered for a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself restore, support, strengthen and establish you.” 1 Peter 5:10

While I may not see a tidy bow or happy ending now in some aspects of my life, I know He has promised to RESTORE, SUPPORT, STRENGTHEN and ESTABLISH me. He says He will do this HIMSELF. This promise, my friend, is for you, too.

I am carrying His joy, and I am excited of all life has to come. I am, every day, placing my fears, the brokenness and my pain in His able hands.

I don’t have a recipe or secret for you. No 12-step plan. In fact, things in my life could spiral circumstantially. Illness could fall upon me or some other unpredictable event could occur. I am part of the human family that lives on this strange planet called Earth. But here is the thing–

Our joy, sanity and peace– it simply comes down to something that is accessible and promised to all who will seek it:

His presence.

It is there where I have found a renewal that has changed everything. It has been slow, painful, and uncomfortable, but He keeps telling me:

“Behold, I am doing a new thing! […] Do you not perceive it?” (Isaiah 43:19)

A lot of the details for the future are blurry, uncertain and unclear, but I perceive it. I hope you will, too.

We are all tattered children, muddied up, as Lewis describes. But the bathrooms are ready, the towels have been put out and the clean clothes are airing.

I’ll keep walking home, no matter what mire the world throws my way. I am determined to make it home. I’ll take a towel, a mirror and the clean clothes.

I’m glad it’s ready because I am coming home.




Published by Gabriela Yareliz

Gabriela is a writer, editor and attorney. She loves the art of storytelling, and she is based in NYC.

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