I went through hell this year.
These days it seems rather taboo to own up to hell in your life.
Screw that fakeness.
I am not sorry to all the gurus, pastors, teachers, prophets, etc. who declared on their respective platforms about how this year would be the best year of your or my life.
Forget going through hell, I had a hell year.
What makes for a hell year?
Glad you asked.
A hell year consists of multiple hellish, out of the ordinary, traumatizing, and horribly disrupting events or one epic hellish event that is the equivalent of several long-term stays in the netherworld. These events are not your standard trials and tribulations of life. I am talking multiple great tribulations that will make an atheist read the entire Left Behind series and ask God to be raptured. You know, a year where you wonder what in heaven and earth is going on with humanity.
My year felt so hellish, that it had the following conversation:
Last Year: Woo hoo! I gave ‘em hell!
This Year: Hold my beer.
My post is for a specific group of people. It might not be for all of my readers right now. It is for people who went through a hell year and they did not give up.
My message to you is that every second you chose to get up after being taken down and every tear you cried, as you kept putting one foot in front of the other, you, brought heaven to earth. I want to express four truths of why you, not your roles, not your titles, not your degrees, not your money, not your current situation-simply you, exemplify finding heaven in the midst of a hell year. Here is the truth of who you are.
You Remain in the Light
Sometimes life does not play fair. This year, my obstacles did not go on vacation because I was already going through a storm. The bills did not stop rolling in, as my life was being threatened. The usual ebb and flow of life did not halt, as certain Christians minimized my life being endangered and castigated me for standing up to an abuser. The world did not bend over backwards for me when I turned to different friends for help and they turned their backs on me. Hell did not take mercy on me when people, in the guise of help, tried to financially prey on me in a vulnerable state (The key word: tried).
In other words, life did not stop for me.
Life did not stop for you, either, did it?
You are here.
You are reading this post.
I am proud of you—us.
Because despite all the people who give way to hell’s agenda,
We are the ones who choose to walk in light and remain in it.
We light the path.
Heaven has a way of sending angels, in human form, too, and messages of comfort in different ways when we are going through hell. We can cherish our blessings, even though on the outside, it looks like we should shake our fists at God. Deep down we know that if God be for us, no one can really be against us.
You are the Real Deal
I think it is perfectly, awesomely human to acknowledge, “I had a rough year” or “Whew! This year was brutal.” You have walked through the fires of a hell year and deserve more than self-righteous word police.
I am not going sit on some high and mighty leadership pedestal and turn my nose up at you because you acknowledge the realness of your pain.By the way, it does not mean you lack faith and lack super duper spirituality.
Allow me let you in on a secret: More people than you realize do not deal with life because they spend more time trying to cover it up and, for our Christianese peeps, they are busy “speaking those things that be not as though they were.”
I want you to consider some things from everyday life. Even corporations assess if they are in the black or the red. On the other hand, in our individual lives, multitudes avoid seeing a cascading red line diving toward the South Pole. Seriously, if your house is on fire, I think you better call the fire department instead of standing in the flames of denial, repeating aloud, “It is okay.” You cannot effectively resolve a problem with words or actions if you ignore it. You have to recognize the existence of death, in order to truly speak life to it.
I have a personal saying that goes, “I might perceive events in a day as bad, but God never makes a bad day.”
When you really think about it, it is true.
God does not make a bad day, week, month, or year.
Much of life is dealing with our perception of the events that happen throughout the time granted to us.
Even with this understanding, I have moments when the storms of life feel real.
I have had experiences where it seemed like the overlord of the underworld decided to set up shop at my residence. I continue to learn to permit myself to feel the pain- the trauma.
Years ago, it took a serious hell of a hell year for me to release the need to perform some perfect version of my faith as my life. It took this particular hell year to realize that Jesus was not laughing and singing on the cross. He felt pain and agony of suffering, even though he knew there was a bigger purpose and vision. And this particular hell year brought me closer to God more than any church service I attended that year. I ceased condemning myself for my feelings—for thinking I was less Godly because I felt weak in my flesh and needed to rely on the Divinity to comfort and keep me. And another beautiful thing happened, I moved more easily through the suffering to receive more of God’s grace. I let go of fighting to live like a 24/7 motivational android. I had a depth of knowing and comfort that Christ was with me and understood my humanity. I felt loved.
This year invited more heavenly counsel.
By allowing yourself to feel whatever you are feeling, you can then transcend from your feelings to the truth.
The truth is that when you surrender to the Divine, the flames of hell do not destroy you. They refine and strengthen you.
You can authoritatively speak heaven to the hell with integrity of your mind, body, and spirit.
Honey, (yes, today, you are Honey) you no longer fake it until you make it. You embody and live it. You are the real deal.
Speaking of flames, I say own the hell year.
And give a big ol’ Heaven Yes! because you made it!
Do not minimize the significance of your victory and power in the name of self-help and shelf-help mumbo jumbo.
You made it through hell, again.
Take that, enemies.
Take that, frenemies.
Take that, devil.
Praise the Lord!
You are More Than a Conqueror
You are a fighter and a victor, even when you do not feel like it. You are not just a conqueror. You are more than a conqueror.
Even if you feel like you are in the depths of despair and you feel the sorrows of life right now, you brought heaven to earth by choosing to show up.
Perhaps you feel the loss of a love one, and you feel like your heart—your life has been ripped out of you.
Maybe you were deceived, disparaged, cheated, abused, harassed, and/or rejected, and you struggle with the weight of it all.
Or you feel severe financial strain, as you try to make a dollar out of fifteen cents.
Maybe the struggles of your life compel you to look up at heaven, asking God, “Can I catch a break?”
Along with with feeling your humanity in your trials, you still conquer them. Picture this scenario: You are just trying to catch your breath from the first blow of hell and then another one came, and you fell to the ground. While you are down, trying to breathe and pick yourself up, hell returns to kick you. You crawl in the dust and grab hold of tree trunk and slowly use it as leverage to pull your weakened body up. Then hell sends a nefarious gang to rob you.
You feel desperate, with a palpable hunger and thirst. Disheveled and anxious, you try to figure out where to go from here. But then, you realize the tree is an apple tree. You gain enough energy to keep going. You feel the warmth of the sun, and take hold of a ray of hope- a sliver of heaven. Still, you rise up with a determination and fight like never before.
You and I more than conquered this hell year.
You are Necessary
I do not see you in person, yet I as I write this post, I sense that numbers of you do not recognize the inspiration in your choice to keep going.
You chose to keep going and to do it without selling your soul.
While others contributed to bringing misery and destruction, you and I chose the narrower road. We are the ones who are fighters. We are the ones that hell underestimates.
We are the bearers of heaven.
In a world where people are going through living hells across the globe, the world needs more of you.
We need your goodness.
We need your love.
We need your integrity.
We need your understanding.
We need your empathy.
We need your stand.
We need you to keep standing in and for the truth.
We need you to keep showing up in the world, even when hell demands for you to shrink back.
Because your very life speaks truth to power.
And as your fellow sister in humanity, I need you to keep going, so that the gates of hell will not prevail.
Here’s to a year of finding heaven and bringing it to the world.