Stakes in the Ground: on recovering from hard things and learning to claim the landmarks

stake in the ground

“Lord, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, Lord. Repeat them in our day, in our time make them known…”

Habakkuk 3:2

“What do you do when you’re in the valley? You remember what God has done. And you dare to believe that what He’s done before, He will do again.”

-Craig Groeschel, Hope in the Dark

 

For the past 3 or 4 months, I’ve thought about filling out a sticker with “Hello, my name is Nausea” and just wearing that, because it felt like my personality had been hijacked by the Hyperemesis – that I was 90% nausea and only 10% Beka.

I think when you’re sick for an extended period of time, you tend to come out the other side of it a little altered, and while you’re in the midst of all the shifting it’s easy to feel like there’s no familiar territory, not even in your own heart. To me…that looked like a lot of blank pages in a journal I normally filled to the margins; crisp, white paper rather than markings that made sense of my world.

But finally, finally, I’m starting to feel like myself again! I’m still pretty dependent on meds and rest, but the nausea has moved to the background. I have preferences and goals and ideas climbing back up to the surface, and I now recognize the person I see in the mirror.

I also see changes: changes in my thinking, changes in me. New hues where old ones have faded or overlapped, new certainties, new hesitations; but I think they are, all of them, landmarks. Way-points that tell of a good God who never wastes difficulty.

A friend and I were talking about the recovery process and looking back on sick seasons. She spoke of a similar concept and called them “stakes in the ground:” markers she could look back on that reminded her of God’s faithfulness.

I loved the idea and I think it’s an important part of any recovery, to acknowledge what has been hard, but also to see the stakes in the ground as you survey the terrain.

I think we move forward from hard things always carrying heavy memories, but stakes in the ground define them, keep them balanced, make them worth carrying and maybe even lighten the load. Perhaps they mark out who we are even more than our experiences do, because they tie us to an unchanging God rather than to all that fluctuates.

Stakes in the ground hold steady when stressors and heavy seasons come again and threaten to take our fragile hearts under.

So I will learn to put down stakes. I think I can’t afford to move forward without them.

Lord-

I stand in awe of your work in my life.

Thank you for inviting me to come to you with my daily, practical needs. Thank you for teaching me that I can be confident you will give your guidance and help here and now, just as you always have to those who look to you.

Even as I breathe relief, I feel so out of my depth toward the decisions that lie ahead. I don’t know what’s best. I don’t know what to do. But I will put down stakes and gaze back at your faithfulness, then I will look ahead and watch for you with expectation.

For you give anchoring hope as I look to you.

“God also bound himself with an oath, so that those who received the promise could be perfectly sure that he would never change his mind…Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls…”

Hebrews 6:17-19

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