On April 24, 2003, I stumbled into the prayer garden and kneeled down at a wooden bench, my heart too heavy for words. I cried and pleaded for God to take the frail and damaged pieces of my heart. Through tear-soaked eyes I looked up and read the engraved plaque on the gray stone wall, a holy scripture I had read so often, but this time read with amazing clarity.
"Now unto him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all we could ask or imagine …"
I took a stone from the prayer garden that night. I wanted a tangible reminder of God’s comfort. On the stone I wrote the date and "exceedingly abundantly, above all." I carried the stone with me for the next week, squeezing it whenever I felt my heart ache.
During that difficult period I jotted randomly in a journal, "My life is bigger than this moment." At the time it was just an emotion-fueled statement. I forgot about it as quickly as I wrote it. I didn’t fully understand the depth of meaning in those words.
I hate clichés and problems solved in neat, simple packages. Life is complicated. There are no easy answers to the questions that keep us awake at night, long after our roommates have fallen sleep. But whether I realized it or not, that statement answered a lot of my questions.
My life was bigger than that moment. I can see that clearly now. Over the last few months I’ve experienced the "exceedingly abundantly, above all" that I was promised that night in the prayer garden. The pain and the hurt from which I thought I would never recover is passing, and I am amazed. The ache hasn’t completely vanished, but the hurt is healing. The scar will remain, but it will be a marker of the faithfulness of a Creator who comforts the heartbroken in prayer gardens and reminds them their life holds so many more possibilities and delights than they could ever ask or imagine.