Thursday, July 31, 2014

Exhausted Grace.

Three AM...
We have to stop meeting like this.
I cannot remember the last time I slept through your awful hour.
I cannot remember the last time three am saw the back of my eyelids.
And my thoughts could overflow landfills.
And I wonder, God if you're ever exhausted.
I wonder God if your perfect grace is exhausted over me.
God, I wonder if who I am now, is all I'll ever be.

How can a person feel so lost and yet know they are found?

I do things slow. I am a slow moving person. Decisions scare me, life changes scare me, and failing scares me most. I am in a constant state of questioning. Questioning every thought that comes into my mind, every word that comes out of my mouth, every decision i decide to take. I am in a constant state of tired fear and questioning grace.
     My indecisions lead me to dark places, full of self-loathing and hatred. Full of wondering if I am every going to get this thing we call life right. If I am ever going to pull myself together and function. Because if at 23 this is what my life is suppose to look like, then I must have made a wrong turn somewhere down this road and I desperately want to go back. But there is no reverse, only drive, and I can't seem to take my foot off the brakes. I'm scared of driving over a cliff.
      And I keep thinking that grace must have its limits, especially when it comes to my life. I've seen less grace in myself than anything. And the more I think about it, the less I feel I deserve. I feel as if I'm not worth the hassle of receiving this abounding grace, because I never been a grace-giver. And I think it has something to do with how I've treated people in the past and the way I treat myself now because of that.
   Like I was never a good enough friend, sister, girlfriend, mentor, roommate, or daughter; and I feel like I'm constantly playing catch-up from the person I was before to the person I desire to be now. And it's an overwhelming, heavy thing. It's exhausting and how can there be enough grace to cover all my indecisions, to cover all my mistakes, when I feel like I've constantly got to make sure I'm not causing problems in the lives around me. I'm constantly worried about hurting someone accidentally or saying something stupid, or what people might think or say. I'm trying to give away this grace that I feel  I haven't even received, which makes it all the more harder to accept it. I don't deserve it. how can I give something I don't have, how can I receive something I don't deserve.
    And the thing is with the world and with people we can lose traces of ourselves in the things that they say, but the thing about God is we cannot lose traces of ourselves in the things God says, His breath is in us; we are everything He says.
             And I keep forgetting that.
   I struggle with this idea, this grace so freely given, this love so unconditional. This God who looks at my wretched soul and loves me and pours abundance of grace upon me. It's hard to capture, it's hard to accept. I feel like I haven't done enough, that I'll never do enough. That I will spend my life trying to repay the abundance of love and blessings and grace God has outpoured. But that's not what He is about.
     I've heard that grace is easy, but I've honestly never really known it that way. Grace is always dirty, right in the mess. Grace is wild. Grace unsettles everything. Grace overflows the rivers, Grace messes up the hair. Grace is not tame.
     And these storms lately have been heavy. Oddly enough, it's the storms that whisper His name, the storms that make His presence most known. And I'm scared that if I stand here too long in this rain I'm going to let my life pass me by.
      But I keep coming back to His truths. to being strong in the grace that is in Jesus. and knowing that even in my indecisions or in the fear of my decisions He will be with me. To trust that His grace is perfect for my imperfect life. That His grace is joy in my depression. His grace is humbling in my pride, and His grace is not afraid of my fears, my indecisiveness, or my mess. And though I'm exhausted, His grace never is.

Grace is not so much about any one action, or rule, or attitude, but Grace is more of a story about broken people being loved and healed. 

And I need to stop trying to fit God into my life and instead build my life around Him. The God who continues to painfully and divinely piece my life back together.
    And I know I can do this. Whatever "this" may be.

I'll make it.
Because He carries me.

May you find me where my heart lies; and may it always be found in the arms of Christ,

HIS and yours,


Friday, July 11, 2014

Fear is Overwhelming, Strength is Overrated.

How should I begin. Should I write a list of rules and guidelines, of do's and dont's? Should I pick a nice number that adds up all the ways to get through this. Should I give advice that I certainly would never take myself? Should I smile through clenched teeth and say everything is alright if we just do this number of things.  Giving an answer to all these questions, to aching hearts and wandering eyes. A list. would that do it?

Not even.

And I'm tired of list, and numbers and bullet points of advice for my life. I'm tired of the 23 things i should do before i'm 24 and i'm tired of the 7 things i should do while I'm single and the 5 things i can do to be more joyful.

Life is not a list. Life is not bullet points. Life is not so easily mapped out. And I have to write these things out. Write them down, because that is what I do with the things that unravel me. I drag it across the page in hopes of it all making sense one day. But I'm seeing that sometimes it's best to stop trying to make sense of things, because life isn't always clear cut, black and white, there are always gray areas.

Lately it's felt like I've been wandering in the wilderness, with a broken heart, lost in every direction with no map to guide me and no footsteps to follow and I'm finding no trail of bread crumbs. There is dry rivers winding through the trees and me.

And the tears I've shed the past two weeks could fill these dry riverbeds. and in all my sorrow, I know Jesus is better, I need to make my heart believe.

But strength is overrated. And maybe I'm just saying that because I have no strength. Maybe I'm saying it because I feel so weak, too weak to pull myself out of bed, to eat, to shower, to make conversation, to go a day without swollen eyes and crying until I can't breathe. There is no list for these feelings. There is no boxes to check on how to get over this.  Life keeps hitting me hard in the face, waiting for me to get back up again just to kick me in the stomach. The wind is knocked out of me, I have to keep reminding myself how to breathe.

I think one of the most dangerous wars is the one we have within ourselves. I am so easily defeated by the one who knows me so well. Me.

"The weakness of God is stronger than man's strength." 1 Corinthians 1:25. But I want to know if His strength is greater than my weakness. greater than the ache of missing in my heart. Because lately this weakness has never felt so strong and I'm leaning in close to Him and He's giving me breath and He's drying my eyes and He's reminding me that it is okay to be sad. it's okay to miss the ones I so fiercely love. That there is nothing wrong with that. That "His grace is sufficient for me, His power is made perfect in weakness." But this weakness hurts more than it ever has before, my heart feels like paper, stained with tears, being torn in two. And it's hard to not want to pull away and hide in my darkness.

I am afraid. And the crazy thing is I made this decision. I chose to move across country, away from the people I've fallen in love with. But knowing I prayed through this decision and feel it's right doesn't make it any easier and doesn't make it hurt any less and doesn't mean i'm not scared out of my mind. It's a big life changing moment when I don't know what the next ten seconds will bring, but I know in my heart nothing is ever going to be the same.

And right now in my weakest moment, I want what was before this moment, I don't want the now. I don't want the fear of the unknown. I'm in uncharted territory, deep waters, in no-man's land. And I'm not really sure what to do next, but to be honest and say I'm sad. deeply sad. and I'm afraid. deeply afraid. And that that's okay.

A dear friend of mine constantly tells me to find my joy in Christ. To delight in Him and depend on Him, that Christ is where my true joy lies. and so I'm trying to lean more into His arms, more into His grace and His love. but I'm still afraid.

and i'm not saying with God we will no longer fear, that we will no longer be afraid. No I think that there will always be fearful moments in our lives. But it is with God that those moments become bearable. It's with Him that we can conquer them. It is going to take time and patience, something that I don't seem to have a lot of. And for me it's taken a lot of sobbing into my pillow and in the shower. lots of looking at pictures and listening to old voicemails. of trying to remember to not be afraid of the unknown but to embrace it with God right beside me.

That is where the Word comes in. Through the scriptures New and Old Testament are stories of people just like us. It may seem like an old boring book, but I bet if we open it up and we really look at it we'll find ourselves in it. Moses who kept silent out of fear he might stutter, Jonah ran scared of the place God was calling Him to. Martha busied herself, David full of jealously, Peter denied Jesus three times for fear he would be identified as a disciple. There are our stories in there, things that we struggle with, things that we go through, that we fear.

And throughout the Word it shows us that God is the one who conquers it. It shows us that no matter how worthless or inadequate or how scared we may be He is calling us, He is using us. Even if we don't know it, Even if it frightens us. He's taking care of us, carrying us through and giving us hope when all seems dim.

I'm not telling you to not be afraid. I'm afraid. I'm saying be afraid but do it anyway. at some point we just have to let go of what we thought should happen and live in what is happening.

I've constantly been telling myself stop being sad, don't be afraid and I'm realizing how stupid that is. saying don't be afraid is like saying don't move out of the way when someone tries to punch you, or don't blink or breathe, or don't be human.

I'm afraid and you're afraid and we're all going to be afraid that's the point, in this life it's bound to happen. What we should be telling ourselves is be afraid but do it anyway, love anyway, live anyway and know that God is there with us, guiding us and keeping those things that so easily frighten us at bay, even when it doesn't feel like it.

And I wish I could live my life always being happy and always be fearless. I wish I could live unafraid without making any wrong turns. But that's impossible. A path like that doesn't exist. We fail, we trip, we get lost, we make mistakes and little by little one step at a time by faith we push forward.

It's all we can do.

I've been waiting for God to give me some big purpose or waiting for Him to tell me that I haven't done enough yet. But I think He just wants me to understand that He is with me and for me no matter how sad, and dark and scared I may be right now.

...and when I become brave, I will let you know, but until than I'm going to try to do a lot of awesome things scared out of my mind, with faith that God's got me in His hands.

I am learning that I am not a train, and it's okay if I fall off the tracks. That "life is not about the outcome we settle into, but instead about the story we write along the way." And I'm enjoying the story so far, I wouldn't trade it for anything, and even the pain I'm feeling right now is worth it.

And I'm still scared and I'm still sad, but I'm also settling into this wild place, this uncharted wilderness, this no-man's land. Because it is even here that God is with me, and He loves to make a way when it seems like there isn't one.

He is singing over me "hey unfaithful, i will teach you to be stronger. hey ungraceful, i will teach you to love. hey unloving, i will always love you."

Leaning into Him through the sadness,

HIS and yours