When it comes to wintertime, northern Indiana is less than paradise. Weeks can go by without so much as a day of golden sunlight or the various shades of blue dancing across the heavens. Clouds hang heavy, leaving the townspeople begging for a glimpse of the sun... or perhaps a refill of Vitamin D.
I sat at my desk, that afternoon. Feeling much like the weather. How long could this go on? Is this all there was to life? One disappointment after another?
“Aren’t You there, God?” I tipped my head back and stared at the ceiling. What I found left me annoyed and wishing for a can of paint. A cynical laugh slipped from my throat as I considered how nice it would be if I could erase the canvas of my life much like a gallon of Sherwin William’s Bright White Ceiling Paint could cover the residue from last summer’s resident houseflies.
Pushing back from the desk, I rummaged through my closet, pulling out my favorite running shoes. I had to get out. I had to run. Something... anything to clear the muddled messages running rampant through my brain.
I had to think.
A cold spray smacked against my skin as I stepped onto the concrete slab outside my door. I welcomed the sting. A reminder that though I felt dead within, somewhere inside my being, life still existed.
I turned left and headed for the track near the college. The wind picked up as the misty droplets gathered into more substantial pockets of rain and drenched my face. I laughed the maniacal laughter of bottled up stress... pain... loneliness... maybe even craziness. “Bring it!” I shouted to the heavens. “Bring it! I don’t care. I don’t... I don’t care.” The moisture on my face was all I needed and I sobbed. Salty tears mixing with the sweetness of winter rains upon my cheek. It felt so good. So good to cry. The rain camouflaged the tears, allowing me the liberty of crying as I jogged through the college campus.
What was my problem? Why still the constant pain? The aching void? I had to admit to myself that though full of disappointment, life hadn’t always been hard. The little girl in the garden had grown up. I glanced at my surroundings, still amazed. How quickly life had changed.
Was it only a year ago that I had found myself in the best situation I could have imagined? I had pushed aside the pain caused by my relationship with Jack and, thankfully, had learned to live my life without him. I even took steps towards overcoming my eating disorder and was getting back to a much healthier lifestyle.
My dreams of going to college had become a reality - and I was doing well. I found joy in immersing myself into my studies and even finding success in the university’s sports program.
But more than that, I smiled at the thought, more than all my recent accomplishments, I had found love. Mark was everything I had ever wanted in a man. So why this gnawing pain deep inside?
My future was bright. I raised a gloved hand to my face and dried the tears. “That’s enough,” I told myself. Stopping next to a bench, I pretended to do a few stretches. Raising my arms above my head, I filled my lungs to capacity. The oxygen made my forehead tingle as it sent life through every cell in my body. Shaking my hands out at my side I felt rejuvenated. Alive, again. No more crying.
Mark was going to be home soon, and I needed to get ready. I still had a little homework to do before tomorrow and with the 6:00 AM workouts with my team mates, I knew my time was limited.
Whatever my problem was, I needed to get over it. My life was full. My schedule, overloaded. I was in the best place of my life! I had so, so much to be thankful for, and running around, crying in the rain was not on my list of things to do.
“Get over yourself, Hannah.” I muttered. The exercise, the cry, the inner pep talk was all I had needed, I told myself. Mark had something he wanted to talk about tonight, and the thought made me smile. Something was up. Something good! I was sure of it.
I ran the last few steps up my walkway and opened the door. I had done what I needed to do. The ache inside was simply a need to mourn the pain of my past. Now I was at the threshold of something bigger and better than ever before. Whatever Mark had up his sleeve, I knew it was God’s blessing, perhaps even His restitution, for the abandonment I still felt each time I heard my father’s voice.
I kicked my shoes off near the closet door and grabbed a towel.
A hot shower, another hour in the books and then I would be off for what was sure to be a grand evening. An evening that was sure to change the course of my life forever!
Note: Through the following weeks, we will walk through "Hannah's" journey as she continues to search for acceptance and meaning in her life and her story will conclude on June 10th at Firm Foundation Ministries - my home church. Hannah will be coming to reveal her true identity as well as testify to the grace of God in her life.
I invite you to come, as I know you will be able to appreciate the life that Hannah now lives. She is an amazing person who inspires me daily! Hannah's story conclusion will be posted here as well.
Please feel free to share this link with others. As I've listened to Hannah tell me her story... as I write these words, I am struck over and over again at the importance of father/daughter relationships. I began this series, praying it would encourage young women - teenage women... that it would help them find their value in Christ alone. But the more I listen, the more I write, the more I realize the lesson in here for fathers as well.
If you haven't already, be sure to subscribe to Walking on Water (top right corner), and plan to join us each Monday as Hannah's story continues to unfold.