I recently ran into a friend of mine who I hadn't seen since my marriage ended. He is the husband of my dear friend and I love both of them immensely. He asked me how I was doing as he slowly shook his head in disbelief. "I know, I know. It IS hard to believe this happened."
I caught him up to speed and told him how much better of a place I'm in today vs. even a few weeks ago. And he looked at me with confidence and said, "Of course you are. You're a fighter. You're a fighter, Ann. And you have nothing to worry about. You have an incredible career, a beautiful daughter, you are professional and smart and there is no doubt you will be okay..."
I'm a fighter.
That's all I heard.
I explained to him how I felt like I've turned a corner in this horrific season and I can finally see the light. Rock bottom is a thing of the past (though we are not immune to a future rock bottom) and now the climb awaits. I had to stay at the bottom for a bit. Well, I had no choice because I was incapable of going anywhere else. I camped out at the bottom of the mountain without any gear, no flashlight, I had minimal food and only ounces of water and I trembled with fear. I was being eaten alive by the mountain. That's how it felt. This is how it feels when the person you fought for, your husband, leaves. This is how it feels to get hurt by the person you love the most. This is how divorce feels. It was dark and lonely and scary and the mountain was big and was swallowing me.
But almost in an instant, one by one, my people showed up. I wrote all about it, about the most insane love I've experienced yet. They brought me gear. A flashlight. Ropes. Food. Water. They spoke life over me, covering that fear with faith. They showed me how to climb the mountain. They each held my hand, my feet, my heart. We will walk with you up this mountain, Ann. You aren't alone. Just get up and take a step. We have blankets of hope and love to cover you with. We will guide you and direct you.
This is what God does. He gives us His people to help us climb the mountain because mountains aren't meant to be climbed alone. Especially not this one.
Able to stand, fed and watered and loved and supported, it was time to face this. I looked at the rubble, the mess of my life in front of me and I begged God for clarity on how my husband could do this to me. God answered. Within hours I was set free. I would move on when my marriage didn't.
But moving on didn't mean I was ready to climb the mountain. I hadn't trained. I needed to pack for the journey ahead. I had to pray. I had to be patient. I needed more mental strength. I needed to stay at the base of this mountain for a bit. Don't rush it. Don't run up the mountain. You won't make it to the top. Let's use this as training ground. Stay at the base.
Yeah. That was it. Stay, but, remember that I'm not here to stay.
Alas, I've been training. Praying. Healing. Not getting fixed, but getting healed. I've been packing my backpack with the good stuff - reminders of who I am, healthy relationships, the pursuit of emotional stability, self love, self care, time alone (hardest thing I've packed so far but it's in there) reminders of who God says I am, beautiful friendships, good food, loads of water, vision for my future, hope for what's to come, and the fact that my past doesn't define my future. I am worthy of love. I am capable of loving so big it's ridiculous. It's a damn good backpack.
This mountain ahead? It's a new one. It's a big one. It's a beautiful one. It's a scary one. It's one I never in one million years thought I'd have to climb. I don't recognize what's in front of me.. But it's covered in grace at the base, in the middle and at the summit. Thus, I will be okay as I climb. I may stumble, lose my balance, scrape my knee or break my leg. When climbing the unknown this would be expected. I may have to camp out just days in because it's harder than I thought it would be. I may need my people to hold my hand. To bring me more water. And to push me to keep climbing. Because, I may want to give up. But, I won't.
I'm a fighter.
Matthew 17:20 says this: "He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”
I'm climbing this bad boy. My damn good backpack is loaded. I'm beginning again. I see the rays of sun beaming over the peak and I know I'll be there one day. I see it. I believe it. I turned that corner and I see the light. My future looks bright. And if I can't physically climb it, my faith will be able to move it. Nothing is impossible with God. Not even this mountain.
But make no mistake, I will continue to train while I climb. I will cling hard to my habits. I will hold close to my people, my church, my family. I will not be afraid to ask for help. Even as we face the hard stuff, climb the tallest mountains, we still have to be training and consistent and disciplined and patient. I will cry and have sadness and will continue to grieve. I will feel massively alone while being surrounded by my people. But I will keep my eyes fixed on what's ahead, what's above.
I'm a fighter.
It's been 5 months since my life turned into a life I never asked for or imagined but I'm here to say nothing is a surprise to God. Nothing. I am not here on accident. Beauty from the ashes awaits. Life from the death awaits. Love from the absence of love awaits. The mountain peak from the rock bottom awaits.
Let's fight the good fight and let's climb the good climb.
Summit or bust.