“You’re gonna miss this.”
This sweet little mess of a country song has me idling in the garage with the radio on, straining to hear the last few words, mascara track streaming down my face. Every. Time. Without fail it finds me at a time when things are so precious I never want them to change, or at a time when I feel like they’re so bad that they never will.
I’m in a perfectly imperfect season, I absolutely love it. It’s crazy hard about 80% of the time. I drag myself around most days, doing things that should help improve my health. I take the vitamins, I drag myself to the gym and let endorphins flood my foggy mind. I lay down far more than I’d ever have been comfortable with 5 years ago. It’s basically offensive to my personality (type A’s say ‘holla”). I force myself into having fun on my tiredest days because my soul turns fun into oxygen. Other days are full of so much more energy for no discernible reason.
I externally process the fact that I feel out of control of my body multiple times a week. There’s a relief in saying it! It’s like unloading a heavy backpack.
In the midst of pain, transition, and unanswered questions, there’s a gentle, beautiful leading I catch myself being embraced by when I’m looking for it the least. It’s like getting a surprise hug from a warm summer thunderstorm. Kindness sneaks up on me, it pops up in the passenger seat because driving is my favorite form of liberation. Joy grabs the wheel and spontaneously and unapologetically reroutes me towards the closest body of water. Earlier this past year I asked God to come find me if I wasn’t the only pursuer in this relationship.
He has relentlessly found me.
He flies into my world with grand gestures and over the top, gregarious introductory bows. He’s always ambushing me in a nuance or a phrase that slips from someone’s lips and sends me into a crumpled heap of laughter on the floor. People are far more magic than we give them credit for. His loving encouragement flies out of the mouths of the least expected sources. He hides in the people I love, and wraps himself up in their language, their personalities. He is written all over everyone, everywhere. He has woven himself into the human race.
In the deepest challenge I’ve found the deepest joy. Yes, this has been hell, but yes, I will miss this.
Not because I’m masochistic. No. In the deepest pain my heart found a father who would give everything for me, and nothing in my life will be able to remain unaffected by that anymore. Because the shadowiest season has shown me that no matter what’s happening externally, no matter what I feel I’ve lost control of, there remains something so unshakable in my world that I can’t help but feel giddy. This one fact’s enough to make me excessively happy into eternity; the important things don’t move.
I’m a constancy girl and I’ve learned, as I’m sure you have, that life doesn’t offer too much of it. So to stand, to remain unmoved…to my soul that almost feels weirdly romantic.
There are the most precious moments found in the most vulnerable, scariest times of our lives. There’s no other time I can get loved like when I’m weak, exhausted, and needing everything God has to offer me, all at once. No, He doesn’t love us to be in crisis or pain, but He always loves to love us. Those you love deeply, you want to know in all the ways you possibly can. You want to be the soup-bringer AND the dance partner AND the midnight conversationalist AND the one who holds them when they’re crying. Love himself can’t manage to love in parts. He’s an all at once kind of man. He long and longs to be that kind of friend.
In the moments when I feel like I’m at my worst and I open up my chest to let the truth-teller understand me, that’s when His love gets to hit bottom. At first doing this felt like walking through fire. I had learned intimacy ended in pain. The more He loves, the more I find it feels more like a late-night rap sesh at a bestie sleepover. To the level that we offer Him our hearts and make them vulnerable to Him is the depth to which He can impact us.
This season’s an absolute oxymoron. There’s been more laughter, tears, breaking, and healing than I can remember. I have had more fun than I’m even comfortable with, with more obstacles than ever before!
The most beautiful, confusing thing I have learned is that wherever there is bitter (pain), sweet is lying nearby in wait, eager to be found by anyone willing to hand over their need to be in control.
In our willingness to embrace complexity and tension, we allow ourselves to be able to acknowledge both the bitter and sweetness held in the same moment. I have had the ‘beauty for ashes’ verse spoken over me so many times I could effectively bury myself in those ashes. Ladies and gentlemen, I’m happy to report the beauty really does come.
For that reason alone, I will call this messy, questionable season successful.
I dare you to find the gift in your current challenge. Sometimes the gift is simply that you get to be hugged and be known by God as you do really hard stuff. That has often been my only bright-side. Sometimes I just get to groan-celebrate that I’m learning endurance. It might be that you get to learn to be loved in a vulnerable state by God and friends instead of projecting perfection. That’s enough. That beast of a relationship might be teaching you confrontational skills you never wanted to learn.
What sweetness is hidden inside your current bitter? When you find it and lean into it, whatever it is, you turn the lights on. I’m already proud of you. ❤