I started this series by talking about a big change that led us down a path of surrender, grief, and managing expectations. But in the end, what we finally had to do, was accept our life as it is now, and not as it was.
As I began this long journey towards acceptance, someone whom I’d never met told me I was about to embark on a journey where “great grace” would be given to me. I was comforted initially by the thought of great grace but as I pondered over it I realized, you only need great grace if there is a great need. What would my great need be? What change was coming my way? What would I need the grace to accept?
You will always need a certain level of grace to accept change. Sometimes it takes less and sometimes it takes ALL you have to get through to acceptance.
Either way, to fully accept changes in your life, it will take great grace.
When I address this subject I know how deep and long and wide this struggle towards acceptance can be.
Just thinking about it takes me back to the day when our sweet 19-month-old, Angie, was instantly killed in a farm accident. In those moments, I was in great need.
To live my life without our baby girl seemed impossible. I fought internally to accept the fact that I would never see her this side of Heaven. I knew God would give me the strength to accept life as it is but I wanted it as it was.
So my struggle began.
Many years later I found myself exhausted, broken in spirit, and sitting in the office of a counselor. I told her about the loss of Angie, the abuse of my pastor, and the success of Auntie Anne’s.
These three experiences in my life were in such contrast it was hard to manage all of this in my mind and heart. I needed professional help to manage the inner struggle of it all.
After a long period of silence, she stretched her hands out toward me and said, “Anne, on the one hand, you’ve experienced great pain. On the other hand, you’ve experienced great success.”
She brought her hands back together and said, “This is your life. To fully live your life well you will need to accept both.”
I clearly remember that day as I realized for the first time that my life was made up of both great pain and great success.
Acceptance was the only way forward.
Until that moment, I lived my outer life pretending all was well while my inner life was dying a little more each day. I tried to make it appear that I had accepted my life as it was.
All of us have an outer life and inner life that we manage every day.
The outer life is what others see.
The inner life is only known by you and God.
I started to focus on my inner life – the battle in my mind. It’s truly where we fight all our battles as we struggle to accept what life has handed to us. It’s where I wrestled to eventually accept my new life and who I had become. I began to believe I was lovable, changeable and forgivable.
My inner life was my compass and directed my outer life to a place of total acceptance, and emotional and spiritual growth.
When we moved to Texas five years ago, I thought I’d conquered how to accept whatever life brings my way. I was SO wrong.
The lesson of acceptance in this new season of life was more difficult than I anticipated. I had to go back to the foundational beliefs I had learned throughout my life to help me manage my inner life, and ultimately reach acceptance.
These are the ten beliefs I held onto:
- Time and God are my friends.
- God hears and answers my prayers.
- When I don’t understand, I can trust anyway.
- Tears are a language that God understands.
- There will always be one or two friends right beside me.
- Being transparent leads to acceptance.
- Acceptance will bring peace.
- This too will pass.
- Hope is good and it will help me anticipate a better tomorrow.
- No matter my age, or circumstances, I won’t lose my faith.
I discovered I really did have what I needed to accept my life as it is. This time I didn’t crash and burn emotionally or spiritually. It took more time than I wished, but eventually, I enjoyed the benefits of acceptance.
I know that change will eventually come my way again because change is constant. I know and believe, however, that when I surrender, grieve appropriately, manage expectations, and learn to accept my life as it is, I will live in a new freedom that brings peace and joy.
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