I found this quote on Pinterest not long ago, and when I read it I almost cried; I felt it related so much to me. I know it sounds extreme, but as I write this, I think about how much I have struggled to publish any other topic except for what this whole new chapter of my life has been like since I got married and moved to the beautiful Island of Puerto Rico. I felt like I needed to share how this process and many others before, have shaped me. (Just for the record I am happily married and am 100% convinced that we are at the center of God's will for our lives)
It all started with a little "yes."
I said yes to obey God and follow Him wherever He would lead. That sounds heroic and really holy but the truth is, when growth and change come through that almost insignificant yet obedient ‘yes’, we are in for a series of ‘growing pains’. I must admit (without much enthusiasm) that pain has had the great ability of speeding up and deepening my growth (in terms of maturity) and commitment (to God and others).
Change and transitions have put me in the ‘scrap pile’
A few days ago, I came across an article called “11 Differences Between dating a girl vs a woman”. I loved it, but I also felt that it lacked clear instructions on how to become ‘that’ type of woman. So I decided to write about my experience about it (part 1, part 2and this post). In my case, it has only been through different processes that usually start with obedience. This obedience is usually followed by a series of events that stretch me, teach me, and hurt me. This pain, however, only means one thing: I am growing.
If I could somehow illustrate this season of my life, I would say that I feel like the clay that is being tossed in the ‘starting from scratch’ pile that you would find in a potter’s shop. Yeah, I don’t feel like the pretty vase or tea pot on display. I feel more like the clay that is being undone because whatever it was first formed into (believe it or not) was not perfect.
I am one of those partly nomadic people that has moved many times in her life. As a result, I have developed a stellar ability to adapt. However, every time God lifts the cloud (as a sign that it is time to go) I can’t help but feeling torn between conflicting feelings. On the one hand, I always feel excited because I am an avid lover of adventure. And what can be more adventurous than moving to an unknown place, to meet unknown people, far from my family and friends to start a new life? On the flip side, I dread the ‘going back to square one’ feeling. That is because no matter how exciting or simple a transition may appear to be, it will always stretch you to some degree (I call this 'growing pains').
Being on the scrap pile is not very glamorous and hardly anyone desires to actually be there. Every time I find myself back at ‘square one’ geographically, it usually also means I am about to enter a new process of growth which implies: change, learning, stretching, and eventually a beautifying reconstruction. Going through a tough process is basically a time where my spiritual life begins "juicing" (basically fasting except for drinking only fresh nutrients in the form of fruits and vegetables). This is where I take time alone with my Heavenly Father to begin addressing all the toxins, clogged pores and tense muscles. Yes I admit I have cried at times. But deep in my heart I have joy because I know the outcome will be wonderful.
That little "yes" was an act of obedience.
Many times our little grain of faith and obedience gives God room to strip us away from everything that is familiar and comfortable (muting everything that may distract us) and turn our full attention to Him while learning how to be the person He intended all along.
Maturing into women that can thrive and bring a lot to a relationship is not as self-explanatory as people may think or lead us to believe. Growth does not happen magically; it takes time, dedication, experience, pain, failures and able hands to carry us through it all.
Submitting to God's molding is an individual process and can be a lonely road. This is the part where I've been tempted to take hasty decisions based on my needs and feelings. However, I have learned (after many failed attempts) that if I endure that temporary valley with patience I will end up stronger. It is a training ground that will reveal how present God is in my time of need. It will teach me that I can handle a lot more than I thought I could. Sometimes we get blinded because we don't see the end of the hardships, but remember, it is temporary! God already planned a way out.
I have dreaded pain in the past, but I am no longer afraid of it.
Pain connects me to all the other people in the world that are suffering and growing like I am. Every time I am put through a new ‘cycle’ of growth and what feels like personal "remodeling", I am confronted and cleansed from the idea that ‘it’s all about me’. This shared experience of pain and change has opened my eyes to a certain reality: that my insurmountable situations have suddenly become bearable. Pain gives us a better perspective because the tears clean our eyes to see clearer. We finally understand that pain is not all there is; we can finally see the big picture. We see that all along, we have been in the hands of the potter or the jeweler making a masterpiece out of us.
My journey of growth has been and most likely always will be, an accumulation of little yes’s; small steps of faith and trust that have made out of me more of a grown ‘woman’.