This the fourth time I have logged in to blog and started typing and tried to find words to say that might convey the state of my heart and might make some half-hearted attempt at funny, or cool, or meaningful. It’s been so hard to write lately. Maybe because it’s been hard to sort things out enough to even make words of the jumbled thoughts that are constantly scrambling in my brain to bring about some sort of meaning. Maybe because I’m not sure if this blog has become what I wanted it to or imagined it would. Maybe because lately I’ve felt completely unpoetic, unoriginal and by no sense of the word creative. But here I am. Today. I don’t know when I’ll get to the point where I can post weekly or even monthly again, but right now, I’m going to do today.
A few things have really stuck out to me lately about God, myself, and just life in general.
He is faithful. I have always known this in my head, but for some reason, my heart likes to doubt and test His faithfulness again and again. I so easily find myself believing that God might not be enough for me in a certain situation. I might have to work some things out on my own. I might have to figure things out that I can’t possibly figure out on my own (but trust me, I try). And what’s kind of comical about it, is that when I get to a place where I know I’m powerless, I begin analyzing God’s motives and start trying to know what the lesson is that He’s trying to lead me through. As if, somehow, knowing why I’m walking through something will make it easier.
For instance, a job. I have been job hunting for a solid five months, ever since I got back from Kenya this past summer. I have submitted so many applications that I lost count in October. I’ve cried, been frustrated, been mad, cried, had peace, gotten frustrated again, and cried some more over my lack of job opportunities this past semester. Over and over, my prayers have echoed, “God, I know you are faithful.” And I’ve waited. Not very patiently, and not because I had a choice, but I have waited. And I still don’t have a paycheck. And I analyzed and overanalyzed what I thought it was that God might be trying to teach me. I thought He was testing me, to see if I really depended on Him and really trusted Him to be faithful. I thought He was teaching me to live with less, considering I have just about zero spending money at all. I thought He was teaching me that I can’t possibly get a job when I’m functioning out of my own strength. All of these things are good lessons to learn and more than likely play into what God really is teaching me through this. But I also think I completely missed it. I think that I missed a whole semester to invest in people in a way that I’ve never been able to before. I had four whole days out of my week that were almost always completely free. I’m sure that I did some good things with my time. And there were a few days that I really did use that time to serve people. But I think God was giving me a chance to learn what a lifestyle of service looks like and I think I missed it. I thought that His faithfulness would bring about a job, when in reality, He wanted me to have rich, self-sacrificing friendships. I thought that if I trusted Him, He would give me a job, when really, He just wanted me to lay myself at His feet every day. I’m not good with failure. I internally punish myself more than I think anyone could externally. And when I let God down, I’m overcome with guilt and shame, and usually nasty lies that He couldn’t want to be with me anymore. That as soon as I make a wrong move, His love suddenly becomes conditional. (As if I have any control over that at all, hah.)
But somehow…I don’t really even know how, but somehow, there’s beauty in failure. There’s restoration in admitting that I can’t do it. That I don’t know. That I’m frail, weak, and so so forgetful. I’m not God and I don’t have to try to do His job. I don’t have to try to figure it out. And I am by no means a master of the things He is walking me through. I still have days (today, for instance) that I really only serve myself. I like to blame the grouchy, cold rain clouds outside for making me stay in all day, but it’s really just that I value my own comfort. And after 5 months, I finally get that much. I know He’s still teaching me more. I know that, especially because I still don’t have a job, that I’ll more than likely find a few more gems around this dusty trail. But finally I realize that praying, “I know you are faithful,” does not equal job. He IS faithful. And I will rest in what He has given me today and do my best to live the life of a servant, just as Jesus modeled.
As I mentioned above, I am so fragile and so forgetful. After a recent horrible day, involving lots of tears, lots of 5W-30 motor oil, far too many stops for a five hour drive home, and the kindness of a stranger, that was the number one thing I learned about myself. I am fragile and I am forgetful. My weakness is obvious, whether it shows up as the stereotypical, “I’m a girl and I know as much about cars as I do Neptune, and even when I try really really hard to be self-sufficient and smart with cars, I still mess up…multiple times,” or whether it shows up as not being able to, even with all my might, find a job. My forgetfulness is also pretty obvious. I forget about assignments, about things that I’ve said I would do, about birthdays, and meetings. I forget about the grace God has shown me and the times in the past when His faithfulness has exceeded my expectations. I forget how much He cares. I forget how frighteningly awesome He is. I forget that He is the epitome of strength and that I am the epitome of weakness.
And as I finally drove home in the dark after sitting at Walmart for over an hour while my car got an oil change, with tears streaming down my face, I saw, so clearly, my frailty and forgetfulness contrasted by His majestic strength. From the very beginning of my day–through my uncle, from every little mishap–through the patience of my step-dad, from the lowest of low points–through the incredible kindness of a stranger who had nothing to gain from helping me, God was protecting me. He is bigger than I could ever dream, stronger than I could ever hope and His hand is moving in my life. So it’s very fitting for the section “About Me” to not end with me at all. Because anything and everything about me, is really ultimately about Him anyway.
Life comes and goes in circles. You don’t understand why things are happening in one moment, and then the next, you can look back and be filled with “ah”s. You sit despairingly in the depths of the valley one day, and, as long as you keep moving, it won’t be long before you stand on top of the mountain with your arms outstretched to the sky, looking back, and wondering how you made it up a ledge that steep. You move from deserts to gardens to wastelands to beaches. Each stage has its own beauty, some more obvious than others.
But life can be really exhausting and sometimes the battles leave gaping, aching wounds. Sometimes you think you can be your own healer. That you can take enough medicine, that you can scrub hard enough to wash the dirt out from under your fingernails. Sometimes the years spent in the desert and wasteland and battlefields seem so much longer than the years spend in the gardens and beaches.
One thing I have found to be true, over and over again, as I am currently in the midst of summiting my next peak, is that even the sorrow can only last for a night. I have a hope greater than any other that I will cling to for as long as I live. I will see joy come in the morning. My mourning will turn to dancing, the heaviness will soon be lifted. I am so grateful for a King who sits on His throne. Who is not too proud to love this weak, weary sinner. And who loves me enough to push me onward. To see me through new heights and new depths. To help me grow in my dependence of Him. To be gracious and loving, but also jealous over this life being lived fully for Him.