My backyard aspen leaves transform from vibrant green to sunshine yellow, a warm smile welcoming the first notes of autumn. Beautiful though they are, their presence throws me for a loop, like a guest who shows up too early for the party. In my Colorado town, an extended winter bullied spring for months, and summer didn’t jive full swing until July. So, my heart holds tightly onto summer even though the calendar and crisp air say fall.
Every unpredictable Colorado season feels like a curve ball to this original Oklahoma girl. And in any make or model, I’m no fan of curve balls. (Which is probably why God had me fall in love with a military man. Because the military life? Curve. Balls.) I’m a thirty-nine year old kid who finds comfort in routines, rest in predictability. But eventually, a curve ball will slide into each and every person’s landscape view, and sometimes life doesn’t just throw them. It hurls jagged-edged rocks at us, rocks that hurt and bruise worse than any unexpected weather patterns.
The rocks show up differently for each of us: disagreements, debt, disease, even death. They may tear us in different ways, but they make us all bleed the same.
I’ll never forget a curve ball moment four years ago, one that arrived as our family traveled on the infamous road to Hana on the eastern side of Maui. We twist and turn around hairpin curves over 600 times, my stomach flip flopping with each change in direction. I successfully fight off the nausea until I get a text from my baby sister that reads:
He wants a divorce.
In a hairpin turn, a heart turns to glass.
The curve ball shatters her heart and my nausea reaches a new peak as our whole family is cut deep.
Some days you hold your heart’s splintered sharp edges in your hands and think maybe, just maybe you’re going to bleed right out. But you don’t. You don’t because you have this hope.
You have this Hope that the story does not end with you holding cracked and broken pieces but with Him holding you, His love entering all the in between places.
You have this Hope because God doesn’t just help you endure it but is the Way you travel through it.
You have this Hope that Jesus catches curve balls because He is the curve ball – God made flesh – that came down from heaven to lift up the lost, the lonely, and the left out. He turned the way of the world upside down and gave value to that which didn’t have value before: women and children, the humble and the servant.
He treats with care that which is carelessly trashed, trampled, and tossed away.
You may not feel Hope in you today or tomorrow, but that doesn’t diminish the truth of its presence.
The only lasting way to stop the tailspin from a curve ball is to curve into Him and feel His banner of love curve over you, like the boughs of golden aspens covering you and your stitched-up heart…
When a curveball flies your way, how do you keep it from shattering your hope?
Kristen Strong, holding onto hope at Chasing Blue Skies