We are free to choose our actions, we are not free to choose the consequences of our actions. Stephen Covey
I’ve had several conversations with my oldest the last year about choices and consequences. How even when we are deeply sorry about our choices sometimes, it doesn’t mean that we can escape the consequences. Maybe it just felt right at the moment. Maybe it was a response to fear. But a choice was made.
If I’m honest, it’s easier to talk to my kiddo about this subject than it is to accept it in my own life. Suffering consequences for my choices, blah. I’d like to skip that part. However, this concept is as old as the Garden of Eden and will continue throughout the story of mankind.
Eve, in the middle of the Garden, is our first example of choice, consequences, hopelessness and God’s plan in the middle of the mess.
Imagine Eve taking a bite of that apple. We know the big picture of that choice. But until a story I read recently, I hadn’t ever considered what that choice meant to Eve on a personal level. I can only assume she was forced to face some deep level pain as she watched her choice unfold into a big fat mess.
The intimacy she knew with her Creator, changed. Her home, no more. Her family, her oldest son killing her youngest. One choice. One bite. Her world unraveled.
Can you relate? Have you ever felt the weight of your choice, your actions as life just seemed to spin out of control? It’s a heavy load when all you can do is utter:
This is all my fault. I did this!
And she had. She allowed the enemy to influence her thinking. Apples are good. Knowledge is good. What could possibly go wrong? So, she let it in, the deception hissed into her thinking as she ultimately took the bite that would change everything.
I imagine she felt robbed of her peace. Hopeless as her mind raced to find a way out, a way back to who she was before. Who they were before. To the future she had planned in the Garden with her man and her Creator.
I have a friend that likes the phrase, you can’t unring the bell. I like the analogy. One you’ve made a choice and acted on it, you can’t undo it. What follows is a direct result. Consequences happen. Relationships suffer. Status or position can change. Credibility is lost. Trust destroyed. Emotional consequences like fear and depression trickle in as companions to the tangible consequences.
This seems kind of hopeless if that’s where the story stops.
But we know that’s not the end of Eve’s story. We know that God already had a plan for Eve. For you and me. He was preparing a way to lead her and the rest of creation back into His presence. His son.
She couldn’t have seen that in the middle of her mess, To know she caused her own gut wrenching pain, despair. Guilt, shame, regret, fear and on and on often become our companions as we wrestle with the gravity of our choices. But, God was making a way. Her vision likely couldn’t expand past her new companions to include God making a way to redeem her story.
When our stories get messed up, when things don’t go like we thought, planned or hoped, it can be very hard to see what God is doing. We think How can such a mess be redeemed?
But God specializes in redeeming our stories for His good. He is masterful at taking what is broken and making something beautiful. If we can hold on to hope, we often see how he redeems our stories and does what we could never imagine.
My parents divorced when I was a toddler. Having now been through divorce myself, I am sure the pain my parents felt must have been heavy. Divorce is hard on everyone. Life must have a felt like a big mess. Blended families. Broken dreams. Single parenting. All of it. So much.
But my character in their story has seen first hand how God took that season, and many difficult seasons that followed, the choice to divorce and worked something so beautiful, my life would not be the same.
I met my best friend as a result of the divorce. We were 10 at the time. We shennanigated our way through our teens. Her family saw me at my worst, but they also saw me grow up and grow out of that phase.
One day, in an unexpected plot twist, our stories bonded us together as a family. We had the privilege of adopting within her family. We adore our birth momma. Her birth momma loves her deeply, she has sisters she gets to know and love, her grandparents have changed my life personally more than I can even articulate.
The blessing I’ve received in my daughter, my friend, her birth mom, her grandparents is more than I ever imagined I could be blessed. My family loves my precious baby girl and shares a connection with our birth family too. I’m certain my parents never ever imagined something so beautiful could come from that season, the pain, the brokenness , the choices. But it did. It has. And it continues to bless my socks off Every. Single. Day!!
So while I can’t tell you that things will be easy in the middle of the mess, I can tell you hope is not lost. Hold on tightly to it. It’s your lifeline in painful and dark times. Hope that your situation can change and life can be good again. Hope that a relationship can be restored. Hope that all is not lost
Look for the good. Grieve your loss. Accept what is but don’t let it define you. Your story is still unfolding. When God is the author of your story, you’re life is a page turner. If you choose to believe He’s writing something beautiful from your plot twist, hope and anticipation of what is to come find it’s way back into your heart.
Out of the ashes, Beatty will rise.