I recently reviewed The Road to Becoming: Rediscovering Your Life in the Not-How-I-Planned-It Moments by Jenny Simmons. The book had many areas that connected with me, so I thought I would share with you some of those quotes that jumped from the pages.
Some people were quick to hurry me along in my grief. They assumed that God had ordained my suffering for His glory and that my grief should only last for a short time before I was back to normal and back to glory giving…I believe [God] redeems pain and chaos. And redeeming pain can take awhile. Other people wanted to see the bright side for me way too soon…Their intentions were good, but what their positive mantras and personal theologies screamed at me was, There’s no time (or need) for grief; just move on to the next thing. My spaghetti-aisle angel gave me what I truly needed: permission to grieve (pp 78-79).
We are a grief-adverse culture, which is tragic. And damaging. Grief is a core human emotion; it is the grieving of what we are burying that allows us to fully lay a thing to rest. Once something or someone is laid to rest and we have fully mourned it, which is not the same as forgetting it, there becomes space in our hearts for new life to slowly emerge (p 79).
Jesus never dismisses His need for space and time to grieve. And neither should we (p 80).
It is indispensable to grieve as a person of hope. The death of a dream, plan, or person we love dearly is not the end of the story. It is, however, the starting point on our road to becoming. That place where eventually, somehow, someway new life is birthed. Don’t get me wrong, burying doesn’t feel like new life; it feels like meltdowns int he spaghetti aisle; it feels like a desert. But the desert is the gateway to waiting. The waiting is the womb. And out of the womb comes new life (p 81).
[Sometimes], desperate people will take a wrong answer over no answer at all. But that really isn’t the answer either, is it? (p 115)
When asked how life is going or what the plans for your future look like, no one expects the person answering to say, “Actually, my future looks really bleak right now and I have no idea what comes next and I am a bit scared.” This kind of vulnerable honesty terrifies people. Especially Christians. What type of good Christian doesn’t have a Jesus answer readily available? A genuine response about faith, hope, and being more than a conqueror – and a pretty bow to wrap it all up in? I got the sense from many believers that in their opinion, I was a woman of little faith. Somehow my sitting in the dark reflected poorly on my faith in God.
But I think it is the other way around. A person who is willing to inhabit their lostness has the faith of a great army. People who don’t have faith don’t allow themselves to get lost. They do not trust God to show up in the darkness and shine a light on the path that leads to being found. A faithless person holds on because they cannot control what happens when they let go. They are unwilling to follow anyone into the dark (pp 118-119).
Without morning’s first hazy beams of light shining in those dark, unknown places, it is hart to trust that there is anything good on the horizon. And yet as a person of faith I am invited to live int he tension of believing that God is present and at work, whether I see it yet or not. I am invited to abide in the truth that the sun is still rising. Always rising. Whether I see it yet or not, there’s a little bit of morning outside.
God sees what I cannot. He leads where there is no discernible road. He Himself is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path…It is my greatest act of faith to trust God to un-lost me. My greatest act of trust to follow the One who sees the sunrise when I cannot (p 120).
From the earliest age I knew two things. There is a God. And He likes to talk a lot, preferably with everyday, ordinary people. So I should shut up and be listening, looking, and expecting to see Him at work (p 124).
In my lostness it became clear to me that while I believed in God, I had lost my daily desire to listen for God’s voice. His divine wonder on display was sorely missing in my life and it wasn’t because God wasn’t showing up for the job…The less dependent I am on God, the less likely I am to really listen for the sacred echoes of God’s voice. And then, when I most need those echoes – that holy guidance – I am surprised by the silence. Only, it isn’t actually silent. My ears are just jammed, humming with noise, clutter, and chaos (p 125).
New life looks like being faithful in the little things (p 220).
The end of the story looks less like an earth-answer and more like Jesus. Jesus doesn’t say, “Come to me, all ye who are weary, and I will give you an answer.” He says, “Come to me, all ye who are weary, and I will give you rest.” We have not been called to answers. We have been called to Jesus. And it’s maddening, really…We crave clear-cut answers, but God insists on relationship (pp 223-224).