I have a friend whose daughter is an aspiring actress. I sadly learned that a boy she acted with in a movie committed suicide. Apparently this young teen was being bullied and it was more than he could handle. I often read of people who are just so despondent, so tortured by life that they don’t know how they can go on and it pulls on my heart.
Jeremiah 29:11 says ““For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”” This is my life verse and has been for decades, pretty much since I first read it. But even with that promise, there have been times when it was difficult for me to imagine that I had any hope and a future. One time in particular, I was sitting in a large, stuffed sofa nearly catatonic. The plush fabric felt soft and warm – it seemed to almost surround me, as if giving me the very hug I needed in that moment. My only source of comfort was holding my little five pound poodle mix Wiggles. I held her snuggly in my arms and slowly massaged her little neck with my hand through that curly white fur of hers. All I was really cognizant of in the room was the physical and emotional numbness I felt from the sudden loss of people I loved, people I considered family. My life seemingly had collapsed around me and I was in such a deep, dark hole that not only didn’t I see a way out – I wasn’t even looking. My existence no longer made sense. Just months earlier life was the best it had ever been, and now the most important people in my life were gone and I didn’t understand how God allowed me to get to the point of being this low with no visibility or hope of a future.
Having lived in California all of my life, it was quite different when I moved to Texas 12 years ago. Specifically the streetlights – or to be more accurate, the lack of them here. And let me tell you, when there is no moon out it can be VERY dark outside at night. Driving late at night, particularly on the mostly winding roads we seem to have here in the hill country of Texas can be to say the least – adventurous. At any time a deer can pop out in front of you, not to mention the little varmints that wander the roads at night. And if you’re doing 55 mph or more on a 2-lane country highway you don’t get much notice, nothing but blackness beyond your headlights. The same goes for curves in the road, you would be very lucky if they had those large, reflective arrow signs telling you that the road was about to turn to the right or left. Sometimes you can’t see the exact path of the road until it’s just in front of you.
I didn’t know the plans God had for me, fortunately He did. The fact that I had no visibility into what lay ahead for me didn’t change the fact that I DID have a future. Eventually He did pull me out of that hole, I felt very much as Jonah did when he prayed in chapter 2:5-7 “The waters swallowed me; the deep abyss was covering over me. Seaweeds were wrapped around my head, trapping me as I sank down to where the mountains are rooted to the earth. I went down to the place where death’s gate would lock me in forever. Yet You lifted me up from the pit. Eternal One, You are my God! Only as my life was fading way did I remember the Eternal; To Your sacred dwelling, Your holy temple, my cries did rise to You.”
I’ve learned that no matter just how low you may feel, how hopeless your life may seem, how you can’t see past your life today (never mind past tomorrow) that we have a God that is faithful and his promises are true. Our lack of visibility into our own future doesn’t mean we don’t have one. His promises are His gifts to us. Sometimes however because we are messed up and human we are unwilling to accept those gifts, that’s on us, not God. But even when we’re willing that doesn’t mean He will give us those gifts/promises all at once. Just as you may get gifts on Christmas, again on Valentine’s Day, maybe again on Mother or Father’s Day and then on your birthday – you don’t get them all just once and then told “there, that will hold you for another year.” Faith is the first step in seeing His promises come true in your life, even then you won’t see them all immediately. Your trust in Him and His promises will result in your seeing His promises fulfilled in your life.
I know being transgender places an indescribable burden on your life. Society doesn’t understand, your church doesn’t understand and your family may not understand, hey for most of my life I didn’t understand myself – but it’s how we’re made, it’s how we’re wired. Don’t give up, God hasn’t abandoned you even if He doesn’t seem near. He DOES know His plans for you. You DO have a hope and a future. He’s right there where He has always been just waiting for you to look up into His face and say hello again, or – maybe even hello for the very first time.