Yesterday I was in the supermarket and heard the strains of Powderfinger's hit song, These Days, a song which was played constantly on my Sony Discman in the early years of the second millenium. When I heard it, filtered through the noise of the store and my children's chattering, I felt a slight pang but couldn't help but smile.
This life well it's slipping right through my hands
These days turned out nothing like I had planned
Control well it's slipping right through my hands
These days turned out nothing like I had planned.
A decade ago, I genuinely believed that these lyrics were true. At age 23, I honestly believed that my life would only be characterised by disappointment, that I was the opposite of Bacchus, with everything turning to ash in my hands. I was so desperate, so lonely, so far from God that I was full of self loathing.
I was, as Israel Houghton writes in the beautiful Sing Redemption's Song, lost, desperate and broken, with a wounded heart ... and the wounds were still open.
Yet, here we are, ten years later. Today, I turned 33.
I honestly didn't think I would make it this far.
And I certainly didn't think, ten years ago, that it would be possible to be so full of joy and so content.
Today was a day full of simple pleasures. My husband preparing me breakfast in bed before he went to work; my children jumping on the bed while I opened my thoughtfully-chosen presents, modest and heartfelt. Sharing morning tea with my babies. Speaking on the phone to my beloved family. The pleasure of coming home from the supermarket to find a bunch of flowers ordered from across the world by my brother in law in the UK. Pizza and cake for dinner, the latter secretly chosen by J during his scant lunch break.
Simple pleasures indeed, but a day where I truly rejoiced in being alive and living in the world created by our God.
I used to be very angry at God, not too long ago, for all the hard things which had happened in my life. Some of them, truly terrible indeed.
Yet, how would I have been able to know the joy in the morning after the darkness of the night, had I not endured these trials?
I was lost
I was desperate and broken ... that's the way you found me
That's why I love you.
(Israel Houghton, Sing Redemption's Song)
Today has been a testament to God's unfailing goodness and the way He is changing my heart to seek my contentment in Him. You see, when I was 23, thinking that my life was dead in the water, I seemed to have everything going for me. I was young. Beautiful, or beautiful enough. Smart. Outgoing. But inside my heart was so black, so dark. God has changed that. Through the darkness of the night, God has changed my heart so that it yearns for Him rather than striving for the futility of this world. And ironically, this has meant that I can rest easy in this world, enjoy God's good gifts while I wait for my eternal home.