Making A Way

By: Madison Newman

way maker, miracle worker, promise keeper, light in the darkness, my god, that is who you are.

If this season in my life had a theme song, it would be Leeland’s “Way Maker (Live).” In it, listeners are reassured by the beautiful melody and consoling lyrics that God is making a way for them. Through any struggle we may endure, any challenge we must face, or any fear we long to overcome, God is there, holding our hand and leading us towards the light.

It’s easy to look around at the world today and feel utterly hopeless. We are bombarded with news stories of loss and trauma. We want to visit and hug loved ones yet are cautious about the potential repercussions. We think of all the missed events: proms, graduations, weddings, baptisms, and vacations. We also long for the sweet, smaller moments that we expected to partake in.

For me personally, I was looking forward to enjoying end of the year celebrations for graduating seniors at my college. I dreamt of the warm spring days spent outside with my roommates after the long, very cold winter. I was excited about presenting my senior thesis on projects I have worked so hard on. I wanted to spend every moment with my best friends before we all went in different directions. As much as I was looking forward to walking across the stage to receive my diploma, I found myself hurting over the little things the most: the missed dinners at our favorite Thai restaurant, the missed movie nights in our townhouse, the missed conversations over tea and banana bread.

To put it bluntly, I have a type A personality to the extreme. I thrive on the feeling of retaining control over all situations I am in. It makes me feel this profound sense of security. I wouldn’t call myself a risk-taker; I like safe and comfortable. If the COVID-19 circumstances have taught me one thing it is that I don’t always have control. Things happen that we can’t always predict, and perhaps that we don’t always like. It's startling and unsettling. I don’t respond well to circumstances that remind me of this. A tizzy ensues. I lose my optimism and am quick to respond with pessimism. I spent the first few weeks in a dazed state. What was happening? When would it end?

A dear friend of mine has continued to remind me to look for the light. In moments like this, I must breathe deeply, and remember that I will not always have control over the things, people, or circumstances that surround me – and that’s okay. I can lean on the One who does have control and find peace. There is good and purpose in every season if we can only look to see it.

As I pondered this truthand reflected on the good to come, it seems that messages of redemption began to pop up all around me. In the book I am reading – Lysa TerKeurst’s It’s Not Supposed to Be This Way – it is a central theme. She assures readers that through every struggle or disappointment, God is using the hurt for good and taking the brokenness we may feel to bring about change. He is truly making a way. The peak of the pandemic in many regions fell around Easter – the ultimate story of redemption through Jesus Christ.

This is a season of release and redemption; of profound change in my life. As I prepare to go on to what is next, I am entering with a new perspective on the way I want to live. I don’t want to miss any more moments or take anything for granted. Constantly feeling like I need to have control is exhausting and distracts me from being present. I want to look for the light every single day. I want to try new things and risk failure. I’ve decided I’m going to try painting and creative writing, even though I’ve always feared not being good enough at either. I would like to travel someplace new when we are able to again – it will push me outside my comfort zone. I want to write more letters and make time for long phone calls. I want to let go of my need for control and instead embrace the beauty around me that I might have otherwise missed. I am learning to focus on who God is rather than who I am; I am learning to trust in His control rather than the false assumption of my own.

While we hear of the suffering in our world, we also hear stories of goodness and compassion. We see the humanity in others that is far too easy to miss or ignore in our normal day-to-day life. I think of: the people who are delivering groceries to their elderly neighbors, children painting rainbows and smiley faces to display in their windows, the outpouring of support, love, and admiration for the healthcare workers, the grocers, the mail men and women, the cleaning staff, and the teachers. The world is slowing down and remembering what really matters. We all are going to change after this – and that change is hard and sad. It may come with loss and a lot of disappointment. Yet, I want to try and look where the light can pour through. Our communities and our worlds are being redeemed, just like we are. May we never again forget to appreciate every hug, every smile, every delicious cup of tea at a café, and every little moment of joy.

In the live rendition of Leeland’s “Way Maker,” it concludes with

his name is above depression, his name is above loneliness, his name is above disease, his name is above cancer, his name is above every other name.

How comforting is it to know that God’s name is above our circumstances. We may be feeling lonely and afraid. I certainly am. But there is hope interwoven all around us. I want to focus on that. I may not be able to retain control, but I can hold onto hope.

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