49 Shades of Gray
49 Shades of Gray
Betsy St. Amant
I used to live in a very black and white world.
Being good was easy. Sin was easily discernible and just as easily avoidable. What was the problem, anyway? Why did people around me struggle with things that so clearly went against God's word? His way was best. Duh. "Just live it, people. Get your crap together. It's not that hard..."
Black and white.
Crisp, sharp edges.
I had it all under control from my perch on high. God with me, of course, getting the glory, because that's His thing. Sure, I needed Him... that's what everyone told me at the church I grew up in, anyway. I knew better than to accept credit for anything on my own. That would be prideful, and pride was bad. Black and white. Snap snap.
Though I had it in abundance anyway. Pharisees are subtle like that. So subtle sometimes they don't even see it in themselves while waving their pointer finger at everyone around them.
But sure, I experienced God, worshiped Him, talked to Him. Things usually went my way, too. Me and God had an understanding, apparently. An unofficial, unspoken deal. I was the good girl, He helped me out on the stuff I needed help with. I was special.
But the past 6 months have been a washout of gray.
Blurred, shaded seams. Uneven lines.
Months of "Where are you, God?"
No more understanding.
No more deals.
Rock bottom gray.
The kind of gray that makes you wonder if you're crazy. The kind that tosses you down a rabbit hole and leaves you understanding poor Alice in an entirely different way. The kind that makes you realize the theology you swallowed on your sugary spoon wasn't enough. The kind that makes you realize you actually NEED Jesus.
The kind that stiff-arms you smack into the middle of a crossroads:
Go left, clutching the broken fragments of your life and heart, blood dripping down your arms from your refusal to let go of all the ragged edges, your determination to put it back together in your own desperate way welling in your spirit so strong it nearly suffocates?
Or go right, releasing every single, vital, priceless shard, trusting God to gather the pieces and make a mosaic in His way, in His time, while holding up your wounded hands to Jehovah Rapha to heal?
I stood in the middle for a long time. A really, really long time. The gray was suffocating, it was all around me, and I took several staggering steps down each path, which only served to make me dizzy.
All while still bleeding.
Because I didn't trust the Doctor. I didn't like His instructions. I wanted to mend myself. I could do it. And do it a lot faster, too. See?
See Betsy bleed.
Doing it yourself leaves unnecessary scars. Just as you wouldn't demand to hold the instruments on the surgery table at the hospital and stitch yourself up, we can't demand the same from God. But, because He loves you enough, He WILL hand you the supplies and let you give it a good shot before you cry out and hand it back, humbled, hurting, and finally ready to let Him do what He does best.
I had to choose my path. So do you. And not choosing is still choosing, friend. There's a default path, and it's the wide, slightly less intimidating left path.
I'm going right. Choosing life. Choosing surrender. Choosing to heal.
Because as much as right hurts, left is worse. Please trust me. I ventured far enough down in my staggering to assure you.
I don't know where your crossroads is today, and what path you're debating, but I can assure you, I know how hard the decision cuts. I know how hard it is to surrender those pieces of everything you hold dear. And you're going to have to do it more than once. Maybe every day. But God takes them every time you offer them, and keeps working on His masterpiece.
It'll be gallery worthy.
After all, He made that sunset you still remember because of it's glory. He made that snow-capped mountaintop you visited last winter and He made that galloping wild mustang you saw when driving cross country. He made your daughter's blue eyes and those rocks you sometimes see that are shaped like hearts and He made those sunbeams to shine just right around the clouds and give it that ethereal glow that reminds you Heaven is for real.
We can trust Him.
But I'll warn you. There's no black and white anymore. There's a lot of gray. 49 shades worth. Even on the right path, maybe especially on the right path. There's days the fog hovers so low you can't breathe. There's days you feel like it won't ever lift, that you're destined to be blinded by it all forever. There's days you want to sit down in the middle of the road, bury your face in your knees and just cry.
But you keep walking. Because if you're moving forward, you're one day closer to the breakthrough.
One step closer to freedom.
One moment closer to the unveiling of your masterpiece.
It IS there. If you go left, you won't find it. If you stop, you won't see it.
Press on through the gray.
Your mosaic will be worth the wait.
Betsy St. Amant lives in Louisiana with her fireman hubby and adorable preschooler. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers and is multi-published in Contemporary Romance. Her first YA novel, ADDISON BLAKELY, CONFESSIONS OF A PK, released 2012 through Barbour Publishers. When she's not reading, writing, or singing along to the Tangled soundtrack with her young daughter, Betsy enjoys sharing the good news of God's grace through inspirational speaking and teaching. You can read more about Betsy at www.bestystamant.com.