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A Thrill of Hope.

So much has happened between the two of us. So much has happened in these two years. I look back on a sky full of stars and remember all the sadness, all that has been stolen from me. I look into winter skies and remember the season that is coming. I see a star that shines into the manger that saved us all. A tiny babe, wrapped in swaddling clothes- too poor for garments, too low for blankets and royal draperies. A tiny babe, wrapped in shredded cloth, a babe with the heart of a King, who came to find me.

I look into winter skies, past years and years of stars and constellations, and I wonder what the point of it all is. Why you called me into a life that leaves eyes rimmed with so much red. Why tears have to fall again and again and again. I don’t understand why you took them. Those people I loved so much. Why did they have to go? Why so close together? Why when death walked in, did you not stop him? Why didn’t you lay your hand of protection upon them and keep them safe? And why does it feel like so much betrayal on this pre-winter night? Why does the cold seem to come from so much more than temperature? Why does this heart ache with so much hollow aching? These caverns in my heart that crumble just a little more each day.

I miss you. I miss the One I loved so much. I miss that heart that beat within me with so much passion, that laughed with You, smiled with You, found joy in You. And I don’t know how to come back. I think of that little babe, that babe that risked everything for the joy set before Him. That babe who declared with newborn wails, that I was reward enough. Oh how He loves. The Prince of Peace, who felt the same shock of isolation one cold winters night so long ago. And yet, despite all we share, I cannot provoke my heart to come back to life and love you. Life does not spark, and I wonder if I will ever find you, and that peace you offer oh so sweetly, ever again.

When will these tears stop falling? And when will this pain stop breaking me over and over and over.

I don’t know who I am anymore. And I don’t know what I’m for anymore. This hollowness eats me, and breaks me in a way I have never known. What good am I? How do I do anything? How do I live? Oh Jesus. Rescue me now, just as you did on that night so long ago. Be my Thrill, the Thrill of Hope I so desperately need. I cannot do this on my own. I cannot find this Hope you speak of on my own. I cannot turn these stone walls to flesh. I cannot shake this companion named Grief.

So instead I fall back into sheets and blankets surrounded by darkness. And I look out into the stars that hold more history than I will ever know. Stars that witnessed the greatest light. Stars that witnessed the greatest darkness. My hand closes around yours, while tears fall from red rimmed eyes.

“Be my Thrill,” I whisper. “Be my hope.”

I hear the cries of the world echo my prayer. Indeed, the weary world rejoicing. I join their chorus. And together we cry. Until darkness breaks, and we find a new and glorious morn.

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When the Conflict Comes

I’m angry. Can I even admit that? It is not the fashionable answer. The fashionable answer would be fine. But this is not fine. It does not feel fine. And I am not fine. I am not good, or cheerful or happy. This is not how I planned my life to go. I never wanted this sickness, this pain, this medical debt I can’t seem to catch up on, the aches of memories past, the fear of what may never be, the recognition of what is, the loss of friends I loved so dearly. I am angry. And I am sad. And I am grieved. And I am exhausted. And when I have been all of those emotions I come home and sit in my chair and I am numb. I am so numb. I don’t think I’m supposed to tell you any of this. I think I’m supposed to say something inspirational. But I have sat in silence for four months because I had nothing inspirational to say. And I realized sometimes the inspirational is just in the vulnerable. Sometimes we can be encouraging just by being honest. And maybe I don’t have a lot of inspiration right now, but I do have a lot of vulnerability, and I do have a lot of honesty.

Lately I’ve been doing a lot of thinking. I’ve taken time away from people, retreated into a safe place as it were in my heart. And there, in that place, I’ve thought a lot about stories. Donald Miller talks a lot about story. Have I told you about him? He wrote an entire book about it. A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, that’s his book. And when he talks about story in his book, he also talks about conflict and how it is necessity to a good story. I am not even halfway through his book but I know he’s right. Every story- every good story- has conflict. There must be conflict. There has to be conflict. There has to be danger, and peril, and fire, and evil queens, and corruptions, and dragons, and death defying stunts. There has to be sickness, or failure, or bogs, or if we are lucky maybe a rodent or two of unusual size. Somehow, in some shape or another, conflict will come. And with it, comes a good story. The kind of story we write into books, and make into movies, and tell to our children and our children’s children and our children’s children’s children, over and over and over again. We don’t care about the easy stories. The one where Jack and Jill go up a hill and do nothing. We want the good stories, when Jack and Jill go up a hill and discover something they never expected, something that is so much more than just a pail of water. Because when they discover that thing, and they go through the danger, and the peril, and the fire to get it, then they discover the epic, and don’t we all just love a good, epic story?

But I’m angry. And the thing is, while I realize the goods to make an epic story I don’t know if it’s worth it. Or rather, I don’t know if I’m strong enough to get to it. I don’t know how much more conflict I can take. I don’t know how much more conflict I want to take. My body is tired, my spirit even more so. The trauma and change of years past has worn it thin. And thin muscles, no matter the kind, don’t lift well. I think about the spiritual adages that we give in moments like these. We say, “lean on Him”, “give it to Him”, “Let Him carry it for you”. And that is good, and that is true, and that is right. It is everything we are supposed to say. But I don’t want to say that anymore. I don’t want to say it anymore. Am I allowed to admit that? Is it OK to say these things out loud?  I ask the window I am standing in front of. I don’t want to say these things, these truths that I know are true, but I’m getting tired of saying, tired of doing. I don’t want to say it anymore. I want to say, “this is easy!”, “this is getting better”, “this is getting so much better”. I want to say, “it’s not so hard anymore”, “it isn’t a struggle anymore”. I want to say, “the worst is over”. Can I say that instead? Can that be my truth? Rather than the awful truth of “I’m angry.” Rather than the awful truth of “I’m angry because…” I am not ready to admit that.

I don’t like this truth. I don’t like feeling it. I don’t like admitting it. And I don’t like the grief that comes along with it. I splash water around in my sink, washing away the soap and suds that have caught randomly after a sink drained. I look up at my windowsill, I look past it out the window. I have so much to be thankful for. And I know it. Faces blur in and out of focus as I recount the years past. Those who took me in and took me out, all in the name of love. Those who cared for me in my most basic needs, those near and far away who stepped up when they had no inkling but a tug on their heart to do so. And as suds swirl in this steel sink, faces swirl in this mind of mine. I have not forgotten. I will not forget.

But how do I reconcile all of it? How do I reconcile the pain, and the anger and the gratitude? What does one do with a handful of beauty and a handful of ugly? Can those hands ever be joined together? Or does something have to drop? And if something does have to drop, what do we do when it’s easier to drop the beauty rather than the ugly? Am I making sense? Can I even ask these questions out loud? Again I ask the window. But no answer is given.
I wash away the suds in my sink, hoping to wash away some of the grief as well. It is a question I will have to answer eventually. What kind of story do I want? Am I willing to encounter the conflict in order to encounter the epic? Am I willing to surrender to the Author and let Him write a story worth telling? Or will free will buck the pen, and splatter my own ink across pages? 

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Sackcloth and Ashes

Sunlight shines through to-the-ceiling windows onto wooden tables, bouncing  from table to table to wall, spilling down, oozing life into cracks and crannies, no spot unturned, no piece missed. I stare at it in wonder, reminiscing. I used to be like that. I used to spill down to the floor, oozing into people’s lives, cracking out smiles and laughter before they even understood what they found funny. Used to. The operative word there is “used to”.

I stare in the mirror and tired eyes look back at me. When did those eyes get tired? When did they start to age?  When did the soul start to? The thing about aging is you don’t realize it is happening. You only realize after it has. One day you feel an ache, or you can’t make as deep a stretch, or joints suddenly crack and skin suddenly has lines. You didn’t notice it happening, you only notice once it has. And it is the same for the soul. One day you look inside and see the lines in your soul that were never there before, you feel the aches, and realize that the stretch that used to be so easy somehow isn’t. You didn’t notice it happening, you only notice once it has.  

I remember driving home from Indiana on that first trip in September. The first time we saw Dad after he got sick. I remember how loud the silence was. I remember how tired our minds were. It was not just a trip to see Dad and driving home we knew time was forever changed. We felt the exhaustion that came with change. We felt the trauma of it. And suddenly, as if my heart were a wall, trauma led to trauma and I could feel each brick crumble and tumble and fall into a heap. I didn’t cry then. I haven’t really cried since. The feeler stopped feeling. And life became still. Not everyone’s life stopped, but mine did. I was no longer revolving with the others. I was simply still as I watched others carry on. I used to spin with them. Like planets, we were spinning and revolving and living. And then one day the trauma set in and I instead stood still. And others went on revolving and spinning but I? I stood still.

Friday morning I woke up crying, my mind already reacting to the pain inflicted by my stomach. And oh the pain. It was so strong, so real. We hear the word breathtaking and we think of fairytales and fantasy. We think of sunsets and love stories and far off places. It’s ok when moments steal our breath, as long as it is in the name of beauty. But what about those other breathtaking moments. The ones that don’t just take our breaths they steal them with every bit the delinquency that you would expect from such an act. The ones that take each breath, leaving you desperate, desperate, desperate! for relief, for just one moment when the pain isn’t so bad, just one moment you can grapple with until another comes along.

I laid in bed at 4 AM working through the pain, realizing that if I didn’t get to the pharmacy down the street the pain would only continue. I thought through all the possibilities of people I could call, realizing with each name called to mind that they were indeed soft asleep in their beds and no call would rouse them. I couldn’t do that to them, I wouldn’t do that to them.  At 4:30 I knew I wasn’t going to get the medicine if I didn’t get it myself. At 5 AM I told myself the pain wasn’t that bad. That I was merely overreacting. I could stand up if I really wanted to. Walking was simply putting one foot in front of the other. A child could do it, and so could I. At 5:40 I put one foot in front of the other, stepping through the pain and down my deck to get to my car. I drove to the pharmacy, chose the medication off the counter, and started walking to the register. Only I didn’t make it there. I woke up on the floor with an employee standing over me. I tried to stand up, but my body refused to hold my weight, sending me back, again, to the floor. I laid on the floor, trying so hard to act casual, pushing back tears. I handed him money and let him walk back to the register while I continued to lay there. He came back to me with my receipt and bag of goods. He scraped me off the floor and walked me to my car. I sat in my car and watched him walk back inside as I felt the retching working up from my stomach to my throat. Over and over I retched, but nothing came up. And finally after what was only 10 minutes but felt like forever, I climbed into my car and began the drive home. I had to get home. I had to get home and give myself the medicine or none of it would stop. I had to get home, and it was just pain, I told myself. But as soon as I pulled onto the road, the retching started again, and this time it was not just the motions. Mess was all over my car. Mess was all over me. And finally after what had been so long, I cried. I cried and I retched and I cried. It was the lowest of the low. Alone, in my mess, I cried.

I don’t have happy words to give you right now. I want to. I want to bring you the words that will inspire and create. I want to give you words that will stir your soul back to its youth, and reminisce with you with childhood abandon while we dream of places over the rainbow. I want to give you happy words, but I have none to give. I only have honest words to give. And those honest words? They are made up of the emotions that I don’t like. The emotions that I don’t want to talk about. Emotions like anger, and grief, and confusion. Emotions that feel like a dead end, no way out destination. And what happens if I start to talk to you about them and they are all I ever talk about? What if I give you these words, honest as they may be, and they are the only thing I am ever able to give? I don’t know if or when I will have happy words to give you. I don’t know if these honest words I abhor so much will ever bring about more than what they are. I don’t know. But I do know this, if I can’t be my most vulnerable self than who can I ever be?

The Hebrews were a people unafraid of vulnerability. They knew grief and they knew suffering. And they were never afraid to share their grief. With sackcloth and ashes they wailed. Wearing their tears in a bottle round their necks, a visible exchange to the truth of their heart.  We are not like these Hebrews. We are not so candid with our grief. Nor do we see the value in such a poetic and vulnerable display. No, we are not like these Hebrews. And in a world full of access and immediacy, we fail to understand process and time. We fail to see the beauty in anything that does not advertise for glamour. Thus, we villainize grief and all its familial emotions.
Sunlight shines through to-the-ceiling windows onto wooden tables. It is noon, now. And that morning sun has thickened into afternoon sun so gooey that shades are drawn to counter the stickiness. And still the sunshine finds way between shades, seeping and pooling onto the floor. And still I stare, and still I wonder, and still I reminisce. I used to be like that. I used to spill down to the floor, oozing. And in my most vulnerable self I could bounce light off those also in the room, giving way to see life within every crook and cranny. And it was beautiful. But for now? I will draw the shades, and I will sit in the after effect. Letting go of what could or should be, I will accept what is. It may be the lowest of the low. It may feel lonely and messy. And I may or may not catch tears in a bottle worn round my heart. But I will not be afraid of this grief. Yes, for now I will draw the shades, and it will still be beautiful.

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The Quarks and Quirks

I’ve been a lot of thoughts today. A lot of thoughts that seem haphazard and disjointed. And yet, I cannot help but wonder if they go together much more than I think.

I feel. And I feel thick. My pendulum for emotions swings full and hard. And I hate it. It’s never made sense to me, and I’ve tried so hard to bury those feelings deep, deep in the earth of my soul. And yet always, without fail, those feelings prove themselves stronger than I give credit, and erect themselves again only to expose me like the traitors and bullies that they are. And I am the one left there, in the cold, vulnerable, confused, and embarrassed.

I sent a piece to a friend yesterday. “This is me. This is some of me. This is what I’m willing to share.” It said to him. “When did you write it? Do you still feel that way?” he responded. I thought it was an easy piece. Inspiring, encouraging, but easy. No need to throw out all the dirty laundry at once, yeah? But He still picked up on it. On them. On the feelings. “Do you still feel that way?” His question lingers in my mind. I tried to bury them deep in the earth, and still they erected themselves and exposed me. Traitors.

I sit in front of the mirror and stare and think. Think about his words. Think about mine.

“Do you still feel that way?”

“Doesn’t everyone?”

I ask the mirror. Doesn’t everyone? And suddenly I am hit with a thought so heavy it is as thick as a humid, Georgia summer in my mind. Doesn’t everyone? We all feel. Some heavier than others, but we all feel. And yet, what if we don’t know that we feel. What if we don’t know what we feel. What if that is why I am here. What if that is why all the deep feelers are here. What if the deep feelers were made to feel things harder to help the others feel, grief for grief, as it were.

What if it’s not a mistake? What if I’m not a mistake. What if you aren’t a mistake. I know I’m not the only one out there. I know I’m not the only one who walks day in and day out, feeling more than her fair share, walking with heart full, aware of my pain, aware of theirs, trying desperately to make sense of it all.  Grief for grief. And I cannot get the thought out of my head. What if we are made to feel thick to give word and expression to those who can’t?

We live in the thickets, the deep feelers. We live in the thickets, walking through bramble and thorn, feeling each scratch for them. And there are days that it feels weary. And there are days we cannot feel another feeling. And there are days that we wonder why we aren’t like the others. But there are days they wonder why they aren’t like us. Reaching out, hands open, wishing just once to grasp more than enough. Wishing to grasp more, so much more.  

I talk to my friend Amanda about this constantly. Asking her why I am so broken. Why my emotional pendulum does indeed swing full and tears pour easier than the rest of them. Whoever the them is.

“I wish I could feel more.” She says. “I wish I could experience the emotional reaction that comes so easy to you.” She speaks and my world stands still.

Because truth is, we belong together. And we need each other. And just as they help us to step out of the thickets, to live and be free and let go and enjoy, so we help them, to live and be free and let go and enjoy. Tit for tat of the emotional sort. Tit for tat of the healing sort. Because if we never felt the pain, walked in the aching, the uncomfortable, the overwhelming, the great, the beautiful… If we never showed them the extremes, how would they know what to reach for? And if they never walked through the day, balanced, at ease, persistant and consistant, how would we learn to stop and just be?

Truth is, we are bound to each other, woven together through this thing called humanity. Each with a different role, but none less needed than the other. And to see ourselves as mistakes is to alter the story. We are bound to each other. Opposites attracted. Positive and negative charges, each extremes in their own right, and maybe on their own they can seem too much or not enough, but together we create so much balance that life sparks, and the foundations of humanity exists. We are altogether atom. Proton, electron, and neutron, each its own role, each necessary to enhance the other. The scientists say they are composed of quarks, those electrons and neutrons. Up, down, charm, strange, top and bottom.  But could it be we are composed of quirks? The ups, the downs, the charms, the strange, the top, the bottom? Yes, I think so. Each our own charms, each our own bit of strange. The ups and downs, the top and bottom or that is, our own beginning and end, but not mistakes. Never mistakes. We are altogether atom. And when we live our role, life sparks, and beauty is made.

I’ve been a lot of thoughts today. A lot of thoughts that seem haphazard and disjointed. And yet, I cannot help to wonder if they go together much more than I think. I cannot help but wonder if maybe we go together much more than we think. We are not haphazard. We are not disjointed. We are altogether atom, woven together through this thing called humanity. Each with our own charms, our own bit of strange, our own beginning and end, our own ups and downs. But never mistakes. Not a single mistake. We are altogether lovely, altogether perfect, fearfully and wonderfully made.

 

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The Unsettled

We walk through days and days, and yet nothing feels tangible. As we wander neither here nor there, looking and waiting to see what will come. Hoping for something new to come, but never being satisfied when it does. That thing. That thing we can’t quite put a finger to. That thing we bite our lower lip over. Reaching with our minds towards something that can’t quite come into focus. And whether or not we say the words, the question still lingers…

What is it?

Where is it?

When will I find it.

When will I have it?

That thing. That thing we hope in. That thing we hope for.

That job. That paper. That grade. That call. That someone.

That thing. Those things. All of those, and more. The ones that create craters in our hearts that ache from emptiness. The ones that maintain whispering nuisances of not quite enough. And while we wait, and while we look, and while we strain, we become more and more, unbeknownst to us, apart of the culture. The culture that so actively grows larger as the days grow longer. That culture of The Unsettled.

We are The Unsettled.

Wandering nomads of status and stuff.  Seekers of followers and friends. And even as I write this, I sigh deeply hoping that thing will appear out of air much too thin for these dreams, but still I hope. How did we get like this? How did we become a people so focused on how many? How many likes. How many followers. How many this. How many that. We are The Unsettled. And I, I am in the thick of this crowd. And I hope and I long and I reach for those things. My things. Those things that I think will quiet and satisfy my soul.

Just as Eve reached, and took, and ate. But it did not fill. And so to share in the void, she gave to her husband. And he reached, and he took and he ate. But it did not fill. And so it began. And so it continues with us. And now all sons of Adam and daughters of Eve reach. Born with arms stretched out and fingers grasping, grasping for what they do not know, but still they reach. And so we grow, always reaching, always unsettled, always hoping still. Hoping still for that thing. As if our answer was within the tangible. Oh the fools we have become. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools. We became fools. Chasing the culture. And exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man. For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie and worshipped and served the creature rather than the creator.

Woe to us. Woe to the scribes. Woe to the pharisees. Woe to the religious, who have no need for relationship. Woe to those who have no desire to know the Creator over the creatures. Woe to us, who walk in shoes of the believer on paths of this world. We who say we follow the Christ, yet chase after the culture. We, who in our heart of hearts, do not seek the abundant life, but rather seek to fill. Woe to us. Woe to the unsettled.

We are the unsettled. We were made to be different. We were made to bring light to the darkness. We were made to honor, to give thanks, yet we gripe and grumble like our predecessors in the wilderness. And still He provides and water spurts forth from rock. And it is not enough. And so bread falls from heaven, and we complain that there should be more. And so quail falls, and our bellies are full but our hearts are not and all we can see is how much more. We grasp and take, more than needed for our day. We grasp and take and wake up to the rot of materialism. And still, all we can see is how much more. How much more we need. How much more we want. How much more there should be.

And there is no abundant life, and there is no relationship, and there is no need for a creator. For it is the creature we worship. And status and stuff, and followers and friends. No, our heart leads us to the rot of materialism. And suddenly there is no need to seek a kingdom we can not see. For we have lost our First Love, we have lost our way from Zion, and all we care to see is ourself. And all we care to exult is ourself. And all we care to know is ourself. And so the abundant life never comes. And we continue to reach, and we continue to grasp, and we continue to eat what never fills. Like ghosts wandering here nor there, without beating hearts or purpose, we walk. Never full. Never satisfied. Grasping, reaching. Always hungry. Always looking. Grasping, reaching. Always seeking. Always needing. Grasping, reaching.  Waking, sleeping, Always doing. More and more and more and more. Grasping, reaching. Always unsettled.

And then we tire. And we grieve. And we finally see the broken blocks with which we built our life. For the creature we so worshipped, brought us nothing but hollow pain. Are you tired? Tired of balancing what seems so small and seems so big? Tired of always doing, always reaching? Tired of the empty that consumes you?

Let down your nets beloved. Let down your nets for deep catch. Come to the One who awakens your soul, come to the One for which your heart was made. Come unto Him and He will give you rest.

Romans 1: 21-25 | Matthew 11:28

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Life Abounds

I’ve tried to write it. And I’ve tried to explain it. And I just can’t. Words won’t flow onto paper. They just won’t come. And I’ve wasted six months trying to make it work. And so for now, I’m letting it go. And I’m trusting that when the moment is right, the Holy Spirit will ink my quill, and words will form and I will finally be able to tell you the story. Because I want to tell you the story. But for now, I just want you to know that He healed me. For an entire year, He healed me. And the disease was gone. The disease I hated so much. The disease that caused so much pain. The disease they told me I would forever have, it was gone. And they couldn’t find it in CT’s or MRI’s or blood tests. Everything came back perfect. And it was the most wonderful year. I did things I had forgotten how to do. I ate food that I never thought I would be able to eat again. I celebrated. I stayed up late and woke up early. I was strong. I worked full time. I traveled. I saw friends I had given up on seeing, much due to the many miles between us. I felt, and I saw, and I experienced with so much depth and color. The sun set differently. And leaves fell intentionally. And laughter was heard with so much intensity. And the smile I saw on faces shined brighter than any full moon. I was not just living, I was alive. And it was beautiful. And I will never let go of that year.

But now, its back. And just as quickly as it left my body, it returned. And I don’t know why its back. And I can’t decide if the hurt is in my bones or in my heart. And that’s OK. There are nights when the pain is so real that I wake up gasping for relief. And there are nights when the cries are so loud that I think surely my neighbors will hear. And there are nights when His presence is so thick, that even the densest fog cannot compare. The disease came back, but my Jesus never left me. And despite the ever present reminder that I am sick, so is the ever present reminder that He is here.

It’s a strange time. So much of me wants to ask God where, where are you taking me? So much of me wants the road map. I want to see what and who and where and why. I want to have a tangible thread I can see sewn into the tapestry of my life. But as aware as I am of these deeper waters, as aware as I am that change is coming, that restoration, rebuilding, reformation is coming so am I aware that He is here to send me on a turning point. I can feel it. And I want so much, in my excitement, in my nervousness to know where. But as clearly as He has told me I am to go to deeper waters He has also told me I am not to know the name. It is not in my path to see the name. It is only in my path to follow. Step. By. Step. By step. By step. I walk. I hear the crunching of earth trodden at my feet. I hear those who holler for me to stop and stay awhile. I hear the noises from behind beckoning me back and the noises in front of me. Those noises with their scare tactics. Those noises that try to frighten me to look back. To turn around. But all the while I hear Him. I am rebuilding. I am remaking you. Even as you sit here I am remaking you.

He makes all things new.

My prayer for this new year is that I will trust Him. My prayer is that I will not turn away because of fear or the allure of security. My prayer is that I will entrust my whole heart in a heart of surrender. That I will know the One who knows me best. And by doing so I will know myself all the better.

He is calling me to deeper waters. And I will go. Because wherever He is, there I am safest. Even in disease. Even in the unknown. Even in pain. Even in confusion. Wherever He is, there I am safest.

I am not just living, I am alive. And it is beautiful. Even in disease. Even in the unknown. Even in pain. Even in confusion. Wherever He is, there I am safest, and thus, life abounds.

 

|Revelation 21:5|

 

 

 

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The Plans He Has for You, The Vulnerable Side, Uncategorized

Seeking Peace

I prayed all summer for an answer to a question I didn’t even really know how to ask. Isn’t that how it goes. We know what our ideal is, we know what we want, but we know our ideal really isn’t an option. We know we have to pray for something, but all we know to pray for is a way out of the tricky.

But when the tricky overwhelms us like a tidal wave, how do we pray? What do we pray? 

I didn’t know what to pray. Change was coming. Whether or not I wanted to, choices had to be made. Summer would only last so long, and as the fall comes, so comes the crisp wind of change and change brings choices. Choices like going back to school. Choices like getting a job. Choices like making a plan. Choices like making something work, even when everything around you refuses to: finances, people, health, schedules. It doesn’t matter how many planners I buy. It doesn’t matter how many schedules I go over. How many budgets I write out, how many good intentions I may have. I may be willing to move, but I can’t change the mind of those rocks and hard places. 

And I was stuck, whittled deep into this place, surrounded by more than one rock and more than one hard place. 

I waited for things to resolve. I waited for answers to come from groanings I couldn’t even give word to. I let God hear my groanings, and I let them suffice as prayers. I prayed for a word. I needed a word. I needed Him to tell me what to do. Whatever He said, I would do. Because it was obvious I didn’t have control. I knew I couldn’t do anything but what He was directing. Just tell me what to do, I said. Give me a word and I will do it. Tell me to go to school, or tell me to find a job. Just tell me. I will find the strength. I will figure out how to make it work. Give me big green flags. Give me a word. Give me open  doors, give me open windows, I’d even take a small crack. Just give me something!

Isn’t that what we say?

 But nothing came. I kept straining to hear. I listened for the voice. For the still, small voice. But no matter how quiet my life got, there was no voice. Not a loud one. Not a quiet one. Not a door. Not a window. I didn’t get a thing. In fact the only thing I seemed to get was a lack of peace. The more I prayed for a job, the less peace I seemed to have. The more I prayed about going to school, the less peace I had. And the less peace I had, the more confused I got. 

We are made for work. We have always been made for work. Since the moment God put Adam in dominion over the garden, we became garden keepers. We were made to work, to keep. Our gardens may be different, but the call is the same. Thorns and thistles grew up from the curse, not from our purpose. Work was not always a toil. Work was not always a thing to be wary of. We are made for work. But I couldn’t seem to find peace about it. 

And that felt wrong. It felt wrong to not want to work. It’s what we are made for. It’s what I was made for. I was made to be busy. I’ve always been busy. So, how do I justify what I was made for? How do I say OK to the life that includes no job, how do I say OK to the life that includes no school. How in the world do I say OK to the life that doesn’t include either. Hadn’t I gotten all the time I was allotted to be off? Didn’t I need to pick myself up and get busy? How in the world do I say no to a culture that says go. Culture says move. Culture says stay busy. Culture says do more. Always more. But there wasn’t any peace in it for me.

 

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts.

 

Its a battle isn’t it? Accepting the peace of God. It is the thing we want most in life, and yet, really what we want is for the peace to line up with what we want. Because I had total peace about going back in. But how do I have peace about staying out? And how do I tell people that? How do I do the thing that people will raise eyebrows at? The thing that seems wrong to them. How do we accept that the peace of God is often counter cultural? 

 

Come to me, all you who labor, and I will give you rest. 

 

I didn’t feel like it was fair. I still don’t. I am tied to legalism. I am tied to should do’s and need to’s. I am a people pleaser. I even please those people I don’t know. So how do I look them, those people, the ones with the eyebrows that go up, how do I look them in the eyes and  tell them I don’t think I’m supposed to get a job just yet. How do I tell them that even with only a year left, I’m walking away from school?

 

Be strong and courageous. The Lord your God is with you wherever you go.

 

I do it with courage. There’s that word again. Courage. Yes, I do it with courage.  I do it with strength. I do it knowing that my God, my Father God, my Creator God is with me. I do it seeking peace, not pressure. Culture gives us pressure, but God gives us peace. I choose peace. I choose Him. I choose to follow His thoughts, not mine. I choose to let the peace of Christ rule in this heart.

 

Colossians 3:15 | Matthew 11:28 | Joshua 1:9

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