Saturday, December 20th
Today is a very unusual time to write, but I thought I’d try and snag a few moments to myself since I missed writing on Tuesday.
I’m with the girls this weekend, and I can hear 50 Cent or something similar droning softly from each of their respective rooms over my Angus and Julia Stone Pandora station. We are all up and ready for the day, laundry is being done and I managed to slap some eyeliner and a side braid on to create the illusion of being prepared for this day.
The truth is, I’m not really sure how I’m functioning right now, other than being sustained on the prayers of my parents, and my sighed whispers to Jesus to help me get through (insert literally whatever I’m doing at the moment). Maybe it doesn’t sound like much, but honestly, having only one full day off a week is wearing me down.
But it’s more than what I’ve been doing, and I’ve known that for weeks. It’s ironic; I pride myself so much on being honest, vulnerable and authentic especially here on my blog, and I also feel an obligation to be strong and end everything with something at least vaguely spiritual because I know that therein lies the answer.
But the truest thing that I haven’t written in weeks is that I’m not okay.
Nothing is wrong, and yet, I’ve literally become weary in well doing. In between covering shifts so other people can go out and have fun, celebrating my sister’s engagement, trying to wear dresses every day, make it to church so I can check off my good Christian card, putting myself out there to meet new people, I’ve just gotten tired of it.
Just a few weeks ago I was so certain that I needed to be here in America and what I was doing right now matters because the people I encounter and love on matter. This hasn’t changed. It’s still true.
But I’ve let other thoughts come and roost in the henhouse of my mind, thoughts that are so ugly that I hate to ever write them down here. Frustration at feeling like I’m always held to a higher standard while others can run free without consequences. Anger at how things aren’t moving forward in my life the way I keep dreaming about. Bitter that, once again, I’m left celebrating someone else’s relationship and falling asleep wondering if someone will ever look at me that way again and if any of the songs I hear will ever be more than words in my head again.
It came to a head the other night, and part of that was because I worked a 13 hour day and it had been a long, long week of extreme busy-ness at work and correcting issues and smiling through it all and I came home and I just cracked.
Arms folded in the kitchen leaning on the counter, with my sweet mom trying to counsel me, hearing the words I know so deeply to be true and hating hearing them all at once. God loves me, God has time to hear from me, and suddenly it bursts out of me:
“He doesn’t have time for me because he’s forgotten me! He left me here alone in America and forgot me!”
The kitchen seemed so quiet for a moment, and the tears fell freely for several minutes, as I stared dully at the green numbers on the stove clock. I should have stopped there and I knew it, but I spewed all of my frustrations out for the next several minutes and they tasted strongly of bitterness and salt.
Even as the entitlement and questionings and frustrations fell from my lips, I was angry because I knew I wasn’t justified in holding on to them and that is the worst feeling of all when you’re trying to have a proper pity party and all you hear in your heart (against all of your carefully crafted reasoning) is the song of how much grace you’ve already been freely given in your life.
Maybe that’s why entitlement and disappointment look so awful on us as children of God. Our arms are too full of grace and we’re wrapped so thickly in it that when we try to pick up other attitudes we can’t even hold onto them properly—we know too much. We have too much. We are too much. We don’t do what we do to “get jewels on our crown” and physical rewards in this life, and if that’s our only motivation then we have so far missed the mark that it’s laughable.
As it would turn out, I’d let my parents pray for me that night and I’d start actually praying again too. Sometimes the only prayer you have is, “Help me, because I can’t help myself”. It’s our first prayer when we meet Jesus and for some of us, we forget that it’s still just as honest, just as true, just as necessary however many years later when you’re wondering whether or not you could get away with smiling in a church service on Sunday.
My faith, still, is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
No matter how sweet all these other frames are, it’s only ever been Him holding me up.
Tuesday, 23 December
What a difference a few days make.
You would think after all these years that I’d have the pattern of life down—if I learned anything from my (brief) days as a screenwriter it’s that the “dark night of the soul” always precedes the breakthrough.
Right after my breakdown (and the subsequent breakdown of my pride which lead to honest prayers) the light started peaking through a bit. A bit at first—and then it came bursting forth in all areas of my life.
I was given a promotion at work, and this is a big deal because it’s the first time I’ve ever had a boss really praise me for my work ethic and put me in charge of something.
I was blessed with a friend to look at my car (since it’s been sounding so god-awful lately) only to discover that it’s not ready to croak at any moment and it should last me a while longer.
I was able to meet my Dressember goal by Day 21, which was exciting and humbling because it was only through everyone else’s generosity. That in and of itself was encouraging because it’s amazing to see how giving people can be, and are, if given the opportunity.
I was able to finally sit down and have a heart to heart with my little sister, and it was much needed on both of our ends. She’s one of my best friends and we’d gone too long without spending time together.
I went to the Christmas party at the safehouse and got cards from the girls, and had the chance to spend time with a whole bunch of amazing freedom fighters, foster parents and lovers of Jesus who are changing the world today and here in America.
Most remarkable of all, I somehow have the next three days off. It’s truly a Christmas miracle.
I see all of it for what it is: a reminder that Jesus has me. He’s got my back. He is still ever and always bringing me and my circumstances back to the light of His truth. He hasn’t forgotten me. He sees me. He knows me. He’s ever bringing life–both eternally and here and now, in my present life. This is the good news. This is the stuff that makes life worth living, and the only thing that keeps me going.
Communion has been the coolest for me lately, because I realize that Jesus literally broke himself to bits to sustain me. If he did that in his death, how much more can he restore now that he is alive?
So take a breath and break the night,
Stranger to the light.
Wind of God, dig up the graves
Breathe into the slain.
Immanuel: God with Us.