Abnormal. That was my answer.
The word, though awkward and uncomfortable, had slipped easily off my tongue.
It was the word that Fear had been whispering to me (sometimes even screaming at me) for the past several years.
Fear. It seems like he’s always there lurking in the shadows waiting to pounce on me.
At times he jumps out at me suddenly and knocks me right off my feet, as he screams that ‘spine-chilling’ word – abnormal. Other times he sneaks up on me, stealthy and cunning, until we are walking hand in hand and then he whispers poison in my ears.
Abnormal. Yep, Fear reminds me, that pretty much sums up my life in recent times.
It was the way life felt when I lost my dad a couple of years ago. Yes, he’s was older and we kind of knew where his sickness was heading, but not having my dad around was hard to get used to. That gaping hole, the sadness and grief on repeat - abnormal.
Then just over a year later, fear and panic give way to searing pain, when my youngest brother could not be found. A seasoned seaman lost at sea – abnormal. A young man gone so soon – abnormal. Life without him… without my dad… abnormal.
Then there were the botched plans that further threw me off my ‘normal’, but a few months ago when I emerged from my refuge and observed the devastation left by Hurricane Irma, I waved a final goodbye to ‘normal’.
I had become familiar with abnormal.
So, when the question was asked on our way back from dropping my first born off at his new college apartment… a trip that Fear had invited himself along on, it was no surprise that ‘abnormal’ bobbed quickly to the surface. It’s not the kind of word that’s easy to keep down.
The question - a ‘brainsparker’ chosen at random by my daughter to stimulate a thought provoking conversation - ‘State the problem in one word’.
My ready answer – ‘Abnormal’.
What is your answer?
I thought it curious how the question assumes that a problem exists. But then again, in this life there usually is one. A problem – something that bumps into you, and pulls the ‘normal’ right out from under you.
What about you? Has abnormal become a way of life for you? Does the very word conjure up fear? Have you given up on finding your new ‘normal’?
Well, my friend, I’m now in my latest phase of abnormal. There have been more phases than I care to count. But rather than fight it, I’m learning how to befriend it.
And it’s for one simple reason.
It is within the abnormal, that I find my ‘Normal’.
You see, as I look back at all my ‘abnormal’ phases I see a pattern emerge.
I see a common thread woven through those times… the times when I lost my dad and my brother, when my well-laid plans were derailed, when I was displaced from my damaged home, when I dropped my son off almost a year earlier than expected, yes throughout all these ‘abnormal’ times, one true ‘Normal’ shines through.
It’s in the gentle whisper that shatters my fear. Every time. A ‘still, small voice’ that soothes my weary, anxious soul with three simple words – ‘I am here’.
It’s in the comfort and hope I find when I retreat to a quiet place to be with Him – my God and Father - and when He reminds me of His love, His faithfulness and His sovereignty.
It’s in the assurance that He will never change…that His love lasts forever and that no matter what He will always be by my side.
It’s a ‘normal’ I see easier when life feels abnormal.
And the amazing paradox of it all… my God is not ‘normal’. Not even in the slightest.
He is not average or regular or usual. He is above all. Period. (Psalm 97:9) And He can do exceedingly above all things that we ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20). He is, I guess we can say, SUPER-NORMAL; although the word doesn’t quite stretch high enough for Him.
So, no matter how ‘abnormal’ life may feel, or what Fear screams at me, I remember that my super-normal God promises me that His presence, His power, His protection and provision will always be ‘normal’ for me.
When Fear tries to draw me in, inviting me to hide in the shadows with him, I can refuse to cower and stand in the light of my ‘Normal’.
And when Fear jumps across my path screaming – ‘Abnormal!’ – encouraging me to run or fight – to strive with all my might to put things back right – I can stand in the armour of my ‘Normal’ and remember Who fights for me.
It’s the 'Normal' I cling to which leads me to a peace that I can’t explain. A peace that’s not normal… a peace that carries me through my ‘abnormal’.
Today, I'm praying that same peace for you no matter what the problem may be.
Sharing this post at a new-to-me link up - Glimpses Link Up today.