“Look at yourself, child.”
That was what I heard as I looked at my reflection in the mirror. It was said with love and compassion, but also with finality.
My eyes were almost swollen shut from crying. My nose was running. I looked scared and overwhelmed and exhausted and sorrowful. I hardly recognized my own reflection.
And He, my loving Father, was calling it quits. “That’s enough, beloved,” He said. And then, as gentle and tender as anything I’ve ever heard, “It’s time for bed.”
He stood by, watching with vigilance and love while I sobbed, gasping for breath. He stood by and He felt my pain. And now He was calling me to be done. To rest. To let Him be God over the nighttime, and God over my heart when I awoke again in the morning.
And so I took a deep, hiccup-y breath and went to bed. And everything in me was so heavy and swirly and confused and grief-ridden that I couldn’t even give words to it.
But it was okay because He was taking control of the situation. He was reminding me, in words as loving as a kiss, that I am His child. Precious and beloved, but human. Small and young and needy. And He is God.
How quick we are to forget that we never stop being children. We never stop needing to be parented.
And this Father of mine, in His infinite wisdom and love, was calling it bedtime.
This has been the most painful birthday of my life. It has been excruciating. And even though it hasn’t been void of love, it has also been full of aloneness and sorrow and grieving all that was lost in my 28th year of life.
It has been full of tough love. Of learning and feeling misunderstood and having to humble myself and listen even when everything in me is screaming THIS IS NOT FAIR!
Tears and hugs and disagreements and embarrassment and vulnerability and words–both comforting and painful–spoken in love.
No rose-tinted glasses here. It’s been real and raw.
A stripping away of so many things.
A necessary acceptance.
Peace where there once was only screaming grief.
And gratitude–a breath-taking reason to say Thank You–for all this last year that wasn’t lost.
The family God is grafting me into.
It’s been a hurricane- a wild swirling of emotions and hard truths and questions and longings. My eyes haven’t known where to focus.
But of course, the only way to survive, is to look up. To focus our eyes on Him.
Oh, God. There’s so much I don’t understand.
But at least I know where to focus my eyes.
And as I was talking to Him last night about my birthday, as I was telling Him how painful it was, I heard:
“I know, daughter. I know. But it has been important.”
I’m starting my 29th year of life off with some really, really hard things laid out before me.
But in all the pain and swirling, God is building a foundation. Stripping away lies and things I have been blind to. Planting my feet firmly on Truth. Forcing me to ask myself, “Do I trust Him?” even when I’m in intense pain. And, in exchange for my unconditional “yes”, giving me a peace that is greater than any of the sorrow.
And I wouldn’t trade this birthday for one that was more full of smiles and warm feelings. I don’t want to live a birthday like this ever again, but I trust the importance of it.
The pain of God undoing what never should’ve been.
The pain of responding to the call to grow.
The pain of a new beginning- a beginning that “just so happens” (I’m looking at you, God 😉 ) to coincide with the beginning of my 29th year of life.
And I believe, with my whole heart, that is it going to be good, this year.
Because I’m leaving it up to Him. And He loves me fiercely. Protectively. He looks at me and smiles. He sees potential. He whispers over me promises. He calls me dear and beloved.
And He looks at me, with my swollen, red eyes and nose chapped from blowing it so much, and breathes peace into all the wild within me.
And He says, “It’s time for bed, child.”
And I take a deep breath and nod my head. And I surrender.
It’s all going to be okay.