Let me start by start by saying I passionately hate Jeremiah 29:11. I hate that it's a promise that God gave to Israel right after He told them that "guess what guys, you've gone so far away from me, that the last tool in my toolbox to get your attention is selling you off to slavery (again)" Jeremiah 29:11 kicks in as He tells them "but I'm not going to leave you there. I'm not doing this without a reason, and there is hope and purpose and future that I have for you. To get there, you have to walk through this, but this won't last forever."
That verse becomes this glib, pat answer, written on graduation cards, sympathy cards, milestone birthday cards..it's on mugs, magnets, bookmarks..I hate when Scripture is misappropriated. It scrapes against my soul and deepens wounds that have never had a chance to stop bleeding.
And yet...the idea behind it, the truth that God has a plan, a purpose, Romans talks about that. About how He works things for good and glory. Hebrews reminds us that that good and glory isn't always this side of death. Sometimes we get the raw end of the deal and we don't see what has been promised in our lifetime.
Sometimes though, God is gracious and we do see it, even if it's only pieces. Today was one of those pieces. In the midst of being honest with myself for the first time in a long time about how much shame I still hold, the last piece of plan clicked into place and I could see. I could see how Be + Story 101 + belly dancing was His perfectly crafted gift to me for this next season of healing. It tackles the big issues, my faith, my voice, and my sense of myself as a woman. It stares down my identity issues. It not only gives me a voice, but teaches me how to better use my voice. To reconnect with my body, to teach it strength and grace and flexibility, to feel like a woman, sensual without being tawdry. A woman who holds herself up and dances - without shame, opening herself up and sharing her joy.
I'm excited. I feel like I have something to hold onto here as I dig into the painful places that my Healer is leading me. There is a purpose for facing the pain, there is a light of hope that says I am crafting a perfect plan tailored specifically for your damage so that you won't stay here in this place of darkness and shame. I better understand why people love Jeremiah 29 - I get it, because they can connect it to the slivers of hope that they've been given.