Several years ago, I unearthed the marvels of closed captioning.  It was not an intentional discovery; it was because when my son’s girlfriend departed for her home state several thousand miles away, our TV remote also disappeared.  Not necessarily were the two events connected, but the result was that I now had a TV where I could not remove the subtitles.  Tried every trick I knew and those pesky subtitles kept running at the bottom of every show I watched.  I was ticked.  However, after a while I began to discover the miracle of subtitles.  I love foreign movies and television and now my viewing experience was greatly improved because I could understand the dialogue, regardless of the accents.  Also, we lived in a house next to a major highway and it didn’t matter anymore how loud the din of the traffic was, I could still read every word of the script.  Subtitles became magic.  What at first I considered a huge inconvenience became a great advantage. 

A few years after that I lost my hearing.  No, it wasn’t the physical hearing that goes with all the tiny bones in the ear, it was the ability to hear God’s voice.  I was a pastor’s wife and everything had plummeted to a rocky bottom.  The ministry we lived and breathed abruptly expired, many relationships with friends died on the vine, our bank account quickly evaporated and worst of all, I felt like God had moved a million miles away with no forwarding address.  I felt like God zigged when I zagged and I was left in a dark forest with no path, no compass and no flashlight to find my way out.  All I personally wanted was for life to become normal again.  I wanted the old restored and I wanted it rebuilt immediately on my terms.

I consequentially sank deeply into depression, anger, and humiliation.  Where was God when I needed Him?  Where was God when all I wanted was for Him to clarify exactly how He was going to repair my life?  My path disintegrated and the sign posts regressed from being broken to being smashed into even tinier pieces.  The identity I had known for years was washed away and the cleansing process took far longer than I ever could have wished.

That’s when I started to slowly commence reading the subtitles God laid before me, which I had previously refused to acknowledge.  When I finally began to give up interpreting life on my own terms, God began to read the script for me in His terms.  I began to understand some basic concepts like true thankfulness, even for the smallest things.  I initiated reading Scripture not because I was supposed to teach it, but because God’s Words were now becoming my own river of strength.  I no longer attended church because it was part of duty, part of responsibilities, but because that is where my spiritual brothers and sisters were.  All those lovely and vital parts of God’s screenplay that I had missed hearing before became the very fabric of my new life.  God’s subtitles became magic.  What I first considered as a great tragedy became one of the greatest gifts I ever received.

For all of you who feel like you are breathing your last breath due to crushing defeat, disappointment and failure, I want to let you know that there is hope.  The pain may be excruciating right now but I beg you to hold on and ride out the tide.  When you feel like you can no longer hang on and you can’t hear God’s voice, look for the subtitles – God is there.

Delight in helping women to discover wholeness in their "New Normal".