Though the beginning of this blog post may not seem to have anything to do with re-entry, please trust me that it will all connect together at the end.
Over 20 years ago, I had arrived at the lowest point in the history of my life. I was making my living as a drug dealer, my relationships with family and friends were completely ruined, I was facing criminal charges, and my ex-girlfriend was marrying another man who was to parent our child. Then, by the grace of God, I found myself within the walls of a church building, completely surrendering the broken pieces of my life.
When I gave everything I had (which was not much) to God, he filled my heart with “a feeling of his love.” But as time went on, the “love in my heart” began to grow distant and faint, until one day, I realized that it was gone- no where to be found. When I asked those in the church why the feeling had left me, they told me that our faith goes through seasons and, in some seasons, God wants us to trust him even without experiencing the “feeling” we felt when we first believed.
This answer satisfied me, for a while, until, one day, I forgot about “the feeling of love” and I even forgot that I was in a season of trust. Though I continued to seek God and attempted to be faithful in following after him, I entered a much more difficult season in my faith journey. This season was a season of darkness, marked with deep pain, loneliness, feelings of abandonment and overwhelm. Little did I know at the time, this season was not from the Lord, but was created by myself as I attempted to control my destiny and take back the life I had so completely surrendered when I first believed.
Last year began the start of yet another new season in my life, a season of re-entry back into the faith I once had at the beginning, a faith marked by complete surrender to God. And, without any expectation of him doing so, God touched me in a way I haven’t experienced since those early years of my new spiritual birth (See blog posted on April 4th, 12th paragraph). The memory of that touch has been burned into my heart and mind ever since.
It has now been over two weeks since our re-entry into “normal” life. And though we did expect it to be an adjustment, we were in no way prepared for the struggles we have had to face as we attempt to re-connect once again with our family and friends who are closest to our hearts. Today, we found ourselves humbled before God, praying for his grace and mercy in areas of our lives we find ourselves powerless and without control. As I prayed for God to strengthen us in our pain and insufficiency, he blessed me with His presence once again.
To a degree I had never experienced before, I felt, in great measure, God’s spirit fill my heart, and the power of his love become real beyond all conscious understanding. It was unbelievable yet undeniable. Jesus himself said “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” God has become our comfort today as we continue to struggle through our re-entry. But though the physical re-entry into my “normal” life has been a greater challenge than expected, the spiritual re-entry into a life of total surrender gives us hope for the future.