Friday, May 17, 2013

hope- the joyful anticipation of good.

there was a pretty intense and significant period of time, not too long ago, where i allowed myself to succumb to so much regret and self pity. in theory, i always say that regret is probably the most useless expression and waste of emotion b/c there's literally nothing you can do to change what already happened. what's done is done and what's important is how you handle it going forward. there's no point in wallowing over the past and aimlessly dwelling over what you would've done differently. but that's exactly what i was doing. i kept playing back in my mind all the times i should have been stronger and wiser and holier. i couldn't help but think of how much better life would be had i not made so many costly mistakes- whether it had been for the sake of curiosity or love.
i was doing my quiet time this morning and finished reading the end of romans which, by the way, was pretty dry and mundane- right up until the last passage.

25 Now all glory to God, who is able to make you strong, just as my Good News says. This message about Jesus Christ has revealed his plan for you Gentiles, a plan kept secret from the beginning of time. 26 But now as the prophets foretold and as the eternal God has commanded, this message is made known to all Gentiles everywhere, so that they too might believe and obey him. 27 All glory to the only wise God, through Jesus Christ, forever. Amen.
Romans 16:25-27

 i just sat there kinda astounded, reading it over multiple times, and found myself smiling really big as i tried to fathom that God has had secret plans (really, really good plans) for us since the beginning of time. it has been His intention all along to save us, redeem us and make us His own. you know what though? it's so easy to believe that God has redemptive plans for us when we already have the fulfillment of it. that doesn't require any faith or hope. but when we're at our absolute lowest and we see no sign of rescue but somehow we still believe that God is good and He's coming, that's real. His word says this kind of faith is worth more than gold. all odds can be stacked against us yet deep down we just know that He's on the brink of something huge and glorious. this is foolishness to those w/o faith, but to us it's our saving hope.
not that i take pride in my mistakes or glorify them in any way, but i'm learning to be grateful for them. i was jokingly yelling at j last weekend about how it took him so long to find and pursue me. he could have saved me a lot of bad dates and heartache if we met years earlier. in all seriousness though, looking back on where my heart and faith was even just a month and a half ago, i'm glad i believed God at His word and anticipated His promised restoration before the actual revelation of it. i'm thankful for the painful and desperate experiences that brought me to my knees, drew me closer to His heart, and built my foundation in Him alone. i don't know where or who i would be without these scars but i know they help me to cherish and appreciate j more.
whether we know it or not, we all need a savior. our predicament is when we try to save ourselves and carry a burden that was never meant to be ours. i've had the same exact recurring nightmare since i was in grade school living in kansas city. in these bad dreams, i'm attempting to carry a large couch the size of a nj transit bus. this has subconsciously, and somewhat comically, instilled a fear in me of over-sized objects. i never thought much about the significance or sought to interpret what it might mean. but as i was randomly thinking about these nightmares last week, i also happened to be meditating on psalm 46:10 (again)-

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God..."

what's ironic about carrying a giant couch is that it's sole purpose is intended for relaxation, rest, and stillness. i felt like the Lord was telling me "just be still"- the same way a mother tries to calm down a rambunctious toddler. there's a wisdom and art in being still and shouldn't be confused with being idle or lazy or passive. it's about trusting in the Lord implicitly and having a relentless and resilient hope that anticipates His next move.

Oh great God
Be small enough
To hear me now
There were times when I was crying
From the dark of Daniel’s den
I had asked you once or twice
If you would part the sea again
Tonight I do not need a
Fiery pillar in the sky
Just want to know you’re gonna
Hold me if I start to cry
Oh great God
Be small enough to hear me now
Oh great God
Be close enough to feel you now
(Oh great god be close to me)
There have been moments when I could not face
Goliath on my own
And how could I forget we marched
Around our share of Jerichos
But I will not be setting out
A fleece for you tonight
Just wanna know that everything will be alright
Oh great god be close enough to feel me now
All praise and all the honor be
To the god of ancient mysteries
Whose every sign and wonder
Turn the pages of our history
But tonight my heart is heavy
And I cannot keep from whispering this prayer
Are you there?
And I know you could leave writing
On the wall that’s just for me
Or send wisdom while I’m sleeping
Like in Solomon’s sweet dreams
But I don’t need the strength of Sampson
Or a chariot in the end
Just wanna know that you still know how many
Hairs are on my head
Oh great God (Are you small enough)
Be small enough to hear
Me now

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

you won't give up on us.

i've been single for most of my life so it's no wonder i'm independent (so long as there's public transportation or a good pair of running shoes around) and absolutely comfortable and content being by myself. there are plenty of things i'd rather do alone and actually look forward to- running on any given day, eating at a sports bar on a friday night after a long workout, strolling around the city w/ no particular agenda, and watching college football all day saturday in my sweats. single life is kinda nice. it's safe and doesn't require much risk, faith or sacrifice. it's hard to imagine and prepare for having someone else constantly around who always wants to share all that precious alone time- especially when it's so abrupt and unexpected.
i notice that in the midst of this unfamiliar intense peace, laughing way out loud and my heart being so utterly full, i want to run away and hide. i don't know when i began to morph into such a frightened and reluctant little girl but it's harder than i expected to find my way back. it's not that i seek to purposely sabotage what i have but it's so tempting to simply give up. it's too hard and i'm uncertain if i'm ready or willing to trust someone else with my fragile and tender heart. it's as if there's this battle raging inside of me that tells me i don't deserve this, but the other side fights to give me permission to be happy and accept.
there's a tiny despicable voice inside my head that keeps whispering that these fears are well observed and warranted b/c they will soon be realized. and as ludicrous as it sounds, sometimes i give in and believe i should heed to these warnings now before it's too late. i hate this. enough is effing enough. i don't know when or how i'll finally be reassured that this time this just might be real, he might really be sincere.
i woke up much earlier than was necessary last saturday morning and spent a good chunk of time filling in my mom about all my commitment and trust issues. in true form and full of wisdom and so much grace, mom just simply said the best thing i can do is just be thankful. thanksgiving has the power to effectively erase the trauma of the past and release hope in goodness again.
so with great humility and a thankful heart, i went ahead and told j about all these annoying and paranoid thoughts that run through my mind. i was kinda harsh, definitely a mess- even crying in a crowded restaurant during dinner, but he was thoroughly calm and so patient. so cool, this guy. i even told him about how i use blogging on a public forum as my outlet and occasionally, as of late, i may discretely write about him (like right now). i explained how i felt so strongly that God was convicting me to write about this journey and the struggle and healing that accompanies it & that He would use it to bring glory to Himself somehow. surprisingly j was supportive and said he won't read it until i'm ready.
as amazing and trustworthy as j is, this isn't really about him at all. it's not up to him to convince me that i'm beautiful and it's not his responsibility to fix me & make me get over my issues. it would be incredibly foolish, unfair and burdensome to look to a mere man for that sort of validation. instead of focusing my energy on if i'll allow my heart to learn to love again, it really comes down to trusting Jesus at work in each others lives. from the beginning of time right to the very end it has always only been about Jesus. even now when this may seem like it's just another tale about two deeply flawed people, Jesus is faithfully and purposefully weaving us into His story. He is not intimidated by my commitment issues and He won't give up on us.

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Corinthians 13:7

And when you're needing your space
To do some navigating
I'll be here patiently waiting
To see what you find

'Cause even the stars they burn
Some even fall to the earth
We've got a lot to learn
God knows we're worth it
No, I won't give up

I don't wanna be someone who walks away so easily
I'm here to stay and make the difference that I can make
Our differences they do a lot to teach us how to use
The tools and gifts we got, yeah, we got a lot at stake
And in the end, you're still my friend at least we did intend
For us to work we didn't break, we didn't burn
We had to learn how to bend without the world caving in
I had to learn what I've got, and what I'm not, and who I am