Love Wears Work Boots

I stood in the middle of a two-lane road today and screamed at someone.

I was trying to be thoughtful. I was trying not to inconvenience anyone. And it back-fired. (Yes, that is self-pity you hear in my voice.)

I was going for a walk, and I reached the road. I could’ve hit the crosswalk button, but then the cars would’ve had to stop, and I knew I could cross to the center median before the car to my left even came close, and that I could wait there a few seconds until the car to my right passed.

But instead, just as I was stopping at the center median, the car to my right slammed on his brakes and started screaming at me about not hitting the crosswalk button. He was irate and dropping f-bombs… and so what was there to do but defend myself in typical Tamara style? It’s the social worker in me. I can’t keep my ever-loving mouth closed when something feels unfair.

And so I faced him, moving deliberately out in front of his car, and I screamed: “I WAS WAITING FOR YOU!”

More f-bombs on his end, and then his tires squealed and he drove away.

And I resumed my walk.

Only it only took me a few minutes of processing before I burst into shoulder-shaking, hiccuping sobs. And I walked that way, crying, for the next fifteen minutes, making people uncomfortable while I passed.

And, admittedly, the driver was maybe not even wrong for being mad. I’m sure he thought I was going to cross the road in front of him.

But I also know a typical person, even one who was angry with me, wouldn’t have screamed like that and swore repeatedly at me.

I text messaged Laura after that. “I don’t think I’m feeling very ‘love wins’ today,” I said.

*

I was reading a book description last night.

“…finding strength and courage in the most unimaginable places.”

“Determined to dictate their own fate…”

“…give each other strength and hope as they fight to survive…”

“Brave and defiant…”

“…friendships that will both nourish and challenge her.”

“A beautiful testament to love, family, and the sheer force of will…”

“…a figure of abiding grace.”

If someone were to write a story about my life, I would want it described in that way.

I want to live a beautiful story.

*

I was talking with Pauline yesterday about fighting for truth, about not letting my emotions dictate my behaviors.

I told her how I felt, and then I said: “But the best thing I can do for [this person] is to set my emotions aside and fight for truth. And I want to do that.”

I do. I want to love well. I don’t want to make my emotions, (which, let’s face it, are often the product of lies and fears), the priority of every situation. I want to choose love. I want to choose them over me.

After I said all that, Pauline reminded me that she’s talked with me for a long time about fighting for truth. Admittedly, I have kind of rolled my eyes at it before, believing my emotions to always be the truest, most important thing.

Then Pauline said, “It strikes me that God knows you through and through. He created you. And He knew that, in order to commit to this fight, He’d have to put you face-to-face with something you really valued.” Then she paused and said, “And He knew you’d fight if it was for [this person].”

It’s so true.

God doesn’t put us in situations that hurt, but He uses them.

Our pain isn’t without meaning.

*

Love, love that puts the other person first, that shushes our own scream for comfort and security, it’s hard.

It’s a series of deliberate and conscious choices.

Whether it’s space or a hug, a night out or a long conversation, you show up (metaphorically or otherwise) in the name of love.

And, for all the ways you can’t make things better, you lift that person up in prayer. You plea and petition with the Lord to do for that person what you are incapable of doing.

You take a deep breath and you do the right thing. Over and over and over again. You tell your other emotions to sit down, and you call Love to the bat.

And you text a friend. You ask for prayer. Because Lord knows how hard it is to make smart choices, especially when your emotions are involved. You say, “Please pray with me for strength to make the right choices, and for my perspective to be based only on truth, and for my heart to be filled with peace and patience.”

Because we need each other. Loving well takes being loved well.

*

A few days ago, Pauline asked me how I’d like to be remembered when this life of mine ends.

And, without hesitation, I said: “She loved well.”

Reality

Sometimes it’s hard for me to know what’s real.

I don’t mean to say that I am out of touch with reality, (although that too, sometimes ;-)). I have no problem being able to say, “This happened today,” and know that’s true, but the trouble comes in when I, without realizing it, start assigning meaning to the events of the day.

I look at the facts and start answering for myself “why did that happen?” and “what does that mean?” Like an architect examines a structure for stability, I pace back and forth over the events of my life, examining them second by second, inch by inch, asking the questions: “Is this thing solid? Am I secure? Am I safe?”

I don’t feel very safe today.

And that’s why I say I don’t know what’s real. Because nothing bad happened, it’s my own analysis of events, my own answers to the “why’s” and “what’s” that has me feeling like the ground I am standing on is shaky.

And is it? Am I safe? Is it shaky? I DON’T KNOW. I don’t know what’s real and I’m scared because I need to know I’m safe.

Which brings me to another one of those fork-in-the-road moments though, doesn’t it? I can either choose to act out of my fear, or I can choose something better for myself.

I can choose to view my day through the lens of fear and trauma, or I can choose to view it through the lens of: “Where was God?” That doesn’t make it any easier for me to know whether or not I’m safe, but it does help me get back to the basics of what ACTUALLY happened today.

Remove the emotion, get down to the facts: Where was God?

He was in my slow-start morning.
The willingness of Laura to bring by my medication.
Having people to call when I need to be emotional and messy.
The warm day.
Watching Arlow play at the dog park.
Finding a ball at the dog park, after realizing I forgot to bring one of ours.
The woman I met, who I talked with about her divorce and daughters and dogs.
Not hitting traffic on the drive back home.
A good sermon.
Flickers of hope.
The invitation to have dinner and s’mores at a friends’ house tonight.

*

I heard a sermon today about the men who lowered their friend through the roof of a house to get him to Jesus. They would’ve done anything to get their friend to Jesus. They weren’t concerned about being impolite or interrupting or making a hole in someone’s roof. They just wanted Jesus.

And I heard that, and I thought about my theory about love. How loving someone means doing the least selfish thing.

But what those men did? That was pretty selfish. And it might not have even been motivated by love, but by need. And yet, Jesus still responded to it.

People can’t handle desperation. People can’t handle it when you come to them with a “cut a hole into someone’s roof” category of need. But God can.

With Him, I’m safe.

But He’s not here.

He’s in my day, but He’s not here.

And I wonder if it’s more important for me to love Him well in the midst of this life that is too hard for me, or if it’s okay to come to Him desperate and ruled more by need than by love.

Here’s Where You Get To Choose

It’s easy to love people when things are good. It’s easy to love them when you feel secure and comfortable and loved in return. But what about when loving someone starts to feel scary?

What about when it hurts like hell and everything in you wants to demand they fix it?

That’s when you get to decide what love really is.

Do I love people because I want to feel comfortable and secure and loved in return? Because that isn’t love; love isn’t self-seeking. Love wants the best for others, even when it’s uncomfortable for us.

And it’s the hardest thing in the world in that moment, when your emotions are so big, but you have a choice. And when everything in you wants to scream and cry and demand and control, but you choose not to? That’s when love puts on its work boots and becomes genuine.

*

What about when you’re misunderstood, and the core of who you are is threatened by a person’s inability to understand you?

What about when everything in you wants to tell them they’re wrong?

That’s when you get to choose.

It’s a moment, just a split second, and the decision and the person are both before you, and you want to let your emotional reaction have a voice because it hurts to feel misunderstood and they need to know they’re wrong. But that isn’t your only option, it’s just the easier one. And you get to choose.

After all, is it possible that the God who is too big for us to comprehend could have created two people who have different opinions for a reason, and that maybe neither of us is right or wrong?

*

When the walls are closing in on you and nothing feels right or easy and there’s an actual physical pain in your chest and a bottle of pills in the bathroom and you’re so, so tired…

That’s when you get to choose.

Am I going to do the easy thing, or am I going to do the thing that feels impossible?

Am I going to give in to despair or am I going to stand up, even when nothing in me feels it, and say, “I’m not gonna let life steal my hope.”

You get to choose.

*

Over and over and over again we get to decide: “Where am I going to go from here? What am I going to do with my pain?”

But at the core of all of these decisions is this question: “Am I going to trust God with my heart?”

And in that, too, we get to choose.

*

I make the wrong decision so often.

Thank God He can redeem it.

Things Being Loved Teaches You

1. You are lovable. You are not a burden, a charity case, or a waste of anyone’s time. You are chosen. You are wanted. You belong.

2. No one will be able to make you feel secure about your relationship with them until you start to see yourself as lovable.

3. It is safe to exist, just as you are. It’s safe to ask yourself questions like: “How do I feel?” “What do I think?” “What do I want to say?”

4. You don’t have to perform. Love doesn’t require we show up “put together” or “perfect”. Love doesn’t want facades, it just wants you to come exactly as God made you- flaws and all.

5. Your flaws don’t make you “bad” or “wrong” or “less than.”

6. You can speak freely. You don’t have to weigh every single word you say. It’s okay if you’re not always understood, if people don’t always agree, and if what you say isn’t funny, because you’re safe.

7. Not everything social interaction is a test. Love doesn’t demand you keep proving yourself.

8. You don’t have to view your life through the lens of “How do I not measure up? How much about me do people see as ‘wrong’?” You are not inferior. You are exactly who God intended you to be.

9. You don’t have to do what everyone else is doing. You don’t have to try to be like others in order to measure up.

10. Love doesn’t walk out on you.

11. Not everything in life has to feel scary.

My Heart Will Choose To Say, Blessed Be Your Name

As I was getting home from work the other day, I saw my neighbor outside in his front yard feeding birds. And I kind of watched for a minute while I gathered my stuff and I smiled because I get it. I get how animals can become your family. Even animals who don’t live under your roof.

And then I watched while he got into his truck and backed out of his driveway.

And knocked our other neighbor’s garbage can over.

And kept driving.

And so I went over to pick the garbage can up and move it off the road, and I thought about how isn’t that just the perfect example of the complexity of human beings!? We are such contradictions.

And I found myself wondering, “Did he not care that he knocked their garbage can over? Is he just mean?” But I don’t think so. I think he was embarrassed because he probably suspected I saw it happen. And I get that too.

*

When Will and Gabe stayed with me, they kept pointing out when I was talking to myself or my pets or the TV. And I would roll my eyes and laugh and tell them, “That’s because I’m alone so much!”

And I mostly found it funny, but I also found it curious because I hadn’t realized how much I talk aloud to things that can’t talk back!

Or maybe I did realize it, but I didn’t realize it was weird!

I still do it, though. I’m okay with being weird. 😉

I catch myself when I’m talking aloud to an essentially empty room now, though. And it makes me smile and think of the boys and how I’m not really that alone if someone knows me well enough to tease me about the frequency with which I talk to myself.

And so I’m talking to my cats or the toaster or my own self and there’s just fine print, this gentle whisper, that I’m held. By Him and by others who love me. I exist in their hearts even when I’m alone.

I am loved. I belong. I fit.

There is a place for me in this world. And it is a gift. A soft, comforting thought on which to lay my head as I fall asleep at night.

I matter.

To Him, yes.

But also to those I love.

*

I don’t know how to settle my brain and heart as scenes from my 28th year of life flood through my brain without my consent.

And so I ask Jesus to give me a new script. How does He see my upcoming birthday? How does He want me to feel about turning 29?

Shame?

Like I don’t deserve it?

Embarrassed because what right do I have to celebrate something I didn’t even want?

Afraid?

Of course not. And yet that’s mostly how I feel.

And I miss my mom.

Or maybe I don’t. Because I remember many painful birthdays from when she was still alive, when I went to bed crying and feeling unloved.

Maybe I just miss being delighted in. Being someone’s daughter.

But I still am Someone’s daughter.

And I know that. And it sustains me. But it doesn’t feel like enough. And what is wrong with me that my heart is so full of ache even though I’m trying my hardest to give it wholly to Him?!

…How does He want me to feel about how there are more people in this world who passionately dislike me than who passionately love me?

It is all SO painful. This messy, complicated world, in which I can’t grasp onto anything and call it mine and secure and trust it not to leave.

I can grasp onto Him, of course. But not tangibly.

And so that’s my prayer as of late. “How do I find a home in Your arms when You aren’t here?”

I know that He loves me, but how do I make that really matter to my heart? How do I make it matter enough that I can confidently say that I don’t need anyone else to love me because I have Him?

And what is wrong with me that so much of my insides are screaming for something I can’t exactly name?

And so I lay it all down as best as I can. I give all of it to Him- a sacrifice. Because what else can I do but run to Him over and over and over again with all the things I can’t control and don’t understand?

And I say, “I trust You.”

Because that alone stops the screaming.

I trust You.

And it’s beautiful. When I refuse to think about what was or what I don’t have or my fear about the future, I am able to breathe deeply. Because today? It’s good.

Thank you, Father. Thank You for all You’ve brought me through.

Thank You for how You love me so relentlessly.

Thank You for carrying me through this beautiful, brutal world.

Thank You for helping me to see it–in all its bruty–as a gift.

How He Came

 

I fell to my knees when I got home from work yesterday afternoon.

I walked inside, set my purse down, pressed my forehead to the ground, and wept.

And I said, “I NEED YOU. I am here, kneeling before You because I NEED You! I need to pee and I’m hungry but I NEED YOU THE MOST!” Because I did. My stomach was growling and my bladder was full but even more than that discomfort, I needed Him. My need for Him hurt more. It was the more pressing issue.

And I cried and cried, the kind of cry that feels like it will never end. I’ve been doing that a lot lately. Multiple times a day. In bathrooms and cars and my shower and bed and on the couch and with my face pressed to the carpet. Forever weeping, emptying my heart out to the Lord in tears because words aren’t always enough.

And yet even while I’m teary and snotty and crying audibly like a child, (it’s all quite dignified and mature), I know He’s there beside me.

I know He was there yesterday afternoon, kneeling at my side, His hand on my back. And He didn’t say anything. He was just there. Present. Letting me wail and weep… and not making me do it alone.

I wonder if He ever feels limited. I wonder if He ever aches to hold us, to be physically present with us, to talk face-to-face.

And so I try to soften my heart to that possibility, to filter my pain through the belief that Jesus is there, at my side whispering, “I’m here, child. I’m right here.”

It helps to keep that in mind because otherwise it all feels like too much to bear – Christmas, grief, longing, embarrassment, the involuntary recap of 2015 as it comes to a close, trauma, shame, fear, sorrow…

There’s a vise-like grip on my insides when I think about what I don’t have and may never have,
and what I’ve only fooled myself into thinking I had,
and what I do have,
and why it isn’t what I DO have enough?,
and why isn’t knowing I have Him enough?,
and what is wrong with me??!,
and maybe I’m destined to live this life of being alone forever because I can’t seem to learn my lesson that God is all I need!

But even as I write that I sense Jesus smiling and saying, “Forever is an awfully long time, child.”

And He’s got a point, that all-knowing Creator of mine. And so I try to smile back. I try to roll my eyes at myself, to hold a place for my sorrow–which is real–but to also acknowledge the melodrama.

Forever IS a long time.

And He isn’t up in heaven letting things down here just sort of work themselves out or burn themselves to the ground or whatever. He doesn’t have a “whatever” attitude about anything. He is intimately involved in everything. Not a single thing escapes His notice.

And it doesn’t take Him “forever” to accomplish good things.

Sometimes it only takes a second.

And I try to believe that, to cling to His goodness and foster a bubbling sort of hope within me as I come face-to-face with a new year.

I try to force myself to be excited about it- to praise Him in advance for the good things this upcoming year will hold.

But I can’t seem to really say that without feeling some trepidation and disbelief. Because I’m tired of looking at hard things and calling them good, or seemingly impossible things and calling them possible, or dark situations and modeling my God with a: “Let there be light!”

I’m scared to believe there is good in store. Because I’ve been there, done that. And it didn’t pan out as I had thought it would or prayed it would.

And that HURTS.

And yet, if I stop speaking light and love into this world, if I stop fighting to bring heaven down to earth, where does that leave me? Would it make me any less alone? Any more secure or safe?

It’s scary to hope.

But it’s scarier not to.

And so I look at my situations that seem hopeless and I look at my broken dreams and broken heart and I say, “No. You don’t get to despair. Lift your head. This isn’t the end. God is doing a good thing. Hope on, tender heart. Hope on. Dreams? Stop calling yourself broken. Situations? Stop calling yourself hopeless. Heart? Have you forgotten how much the Lord loves you? Rise up! Take heart! This is not the end!”

And I don’t feel it. But I say it. Because I know it to be true.

It’s hard not to involuntarily recap 2015. My mind is filling with images and memories and things I felt and thought over the course of the year. And I’m remembering… and it feels unreal and too real all at once. It feels both like it never happened (how could it have happened!?) and ongoing.

And it’s too much. It’s terrible. So, so awful.

I can’t bear it.

And so I keep trying to hand those images and memories over to the God, whose ability to heal and make things whole and redeem and restore knows no limits.

And so I say “NO!” to my brain and the panic that threatens to fill me inside. I refuse to entertain those memories or wonder things or replay things or get caught back up in the trauma of it all. Instead, I lay it all down at His feet and I wait. I wait for Him to speak to my sorrow and trauma and fear; I want for Him to heal; I wait for Him to redeem.

And I’m on my knees, and I’m weeping, and I think I could weep forever. But I can’t. I can’t cry forever. Grieving is important, but there’s a limit to what is healthy and what isn’t. And so I demand my heart rest a moment and lift its eyes to heaven. I instruct all that’s within me to take a break from my grieving and sorrow to seek the Lord- to beg Him for comfort or clarity or peace.

And He shows me a baby in a manger.

Helpless. Innocent. Needy. Fragile.

AND FULLY GOD.

And I’m there, with Mary and Joseph and the animals, beholding the Christ-Child. And there’s no place for weeping or sorrow or grief there. Only awe. Reverence. Worship. It’s quiet and still and holy. And hope and love are ALIVE. They are real. They are living. They are a Person.

And I’m there, looking into the face of Wild Hope and Love Unfailing. I am there, beholding the infant Jesus. And I belong.

And I’m there, with Jesus, and I’m also on my floor, tears streaming down my face, needing to pee and thinking a little bit about lunch.

And that is where I was yesterday when Tucker came over to me and started chewing on my hair.

And I laughed. Wracked with grief, unable to do anything but fall to my knees before God and BEG for help, and suddenly I was laughing.

Tears were falling down my face, and JESUS CAME!, and my cat was chewing my hair, and I was laughing.

And maybe that’s life- the good and bad all rolled up together in one brutiful package.

And so we go forward, heads held high, speaking light into impossibly dark situations.

We go forward with hope.

Because we know this is a battle.

And we know who wins.

Love wins.

Hope wins.

Light win.

Joy wins.

And it’s a miraculous thing, but even in the midst of our most intense grief, our loving Father can surprise us with incredible joy.

And so I rise from my knees. I stand, arms outstretched. I lift my head towards heaven. And I hear His gentle beckoning: “Arise, daughter.”

Oh, carry on, warrior heart. The Lord is on your side.

Tug-Of-War and Clogged Sinks and Redeeming Love

God has been revealing something to me this past week.

There is absolutely no area of my life, even in my relationship with Him, where I rest in the love being offered.

Constantly, I am trying to earn love, keep love, and prove I’m lovable.

Because that was how I was raised.

My father was absent, which is a topic for another time, but my mother? Her love was very contingent upon what I did and how I felt. I had to earn it and keep it.

And, y’know, human love is fallible. People will do the best they can, and they will let us down, and sometimes the love they offer will keep us afloat, and then we’ll fail them, and we’ll need to ask for forgiveness, and it’s okay. That’s life. It’s messy and it’s beautiful and it’s worth it.

Human love? It’s a gift. Undoubtedly. It’s a reflection of Jesus here on earth. Jesus with skin on, to use a kind of disgusting but really appropriate description of godly love. And we NEED that. We need to be loved.

But love shouldn’t be something we strive for.

It has to be freely given.

How long have I spent viewing love as a game of tug-of-war? It’s exhausting, trying to maintain my hold on something I cannot control- pull the rope further and further towards me, terrified it will slip from my hands completely, desperate to find security in what I will never be able to find security in- human love.

But only God can love us in the way we long to be loved.

And His love is perfect. He isn’t my mom. And He’s not my father. And He never loves me more or less. And He’ll never walk out.

I need to unlearn my way of relating to Him (and others) as though love is fragile and dependent on what I achieve or say or do, how I look or feel, or whether I’m funny or sad or hopeful or messing up royally.

Oh, God. How I need a deeper revelation of how You love me. Help me be consumed by the beauty of who You are. Help me be captivated by the wonder of Your goodness and power.

Help me stop trying to earn Your love.

*

I spend a lot of time sitting in the shower, praying. It’s one of my favorite parts of my day. But every time my mind wanders, every time I stop focusing on His face and start worrying about the things in my life I have no control over, I begin a mildly abusive mental dialogue, criticizing myself for not loving the Lord “enough”.

And I think somewhere deep down, I feel like the Lord’s ability to love me is dependent on how well I’m loving Him.

Which is such a lie. Obviously.

And yet, when my mind wanders while I’m praying, or when I choose to watch TV over reading my Bible, or when I find myself making an idol of human love, I worry that He turns His back on me.

I know in my head that He doesn’t, but He’s revealed to me this past week that my heart still approaches Him with that underlying belief.

And if I don’t stop beating myself up when I feel like I’m not loving Him above all else, the joy I get from my relationship with Him will start to fade.

If I know my mind will wander when I pray, and if I know it will make me feel like I’m not enough for Him, and if I know that I will start to believe that my “not enough-ness” ensures that I will never know and love Him in the way that I’m desperate to, then I’ll stop seeking Him. Time with Him will stop feeling like a place of rest for my soul and start to feel like work. Boot camp. Training on how to be better. And disappointment when I, inevitably, don’t measure up.

If you know you’re going to fail every time you try, you just stop trying.

But even that–failure–is a lie.

Because we are human! And He knows that. He doesn’t expect perfection from us. He doesn’t even ask us to work towards perfection. He just asks us to love Him.

He’ll do the rest.

Being “better” isn’t something I have the power to be. It’s something only the Holy Spirit within me can achieve. But He can’t do that if I stop spending time with the Lord. My God, who created this heart of mine, and is intimately familiar with all that is within me, and isn’t baffled or angry with me for how I struggle. My God who loves me forever and always, independently of how I feel or what I want or all the ways I fail.

*

I have felt really off this week. Not depressed. Not even really sad. Just… subdued? Mellow? Contemplative? And teary. Desperate for the God who loves me so fiercely. I need to be washed, clothed, blanketed in that love. I feel broken and fragmented and I need Him to hold me together.

I’ve made so many mistakes. And I don’t know how to even process all of it. Everything that’s happened over the last few months… it feels unreal. And sometimes I just weep about it. I don’t even have words, just tears.

God’s spoken with me about my shame. We’ve worked on trauma. He’s forgiven me. And I repeatedly praise Him for the incredible work He’s doing in me and in my life.

And yet, all of it, the fact that it actually happened, the heaviness of it all, the darkness of that season, the fact that it’s only been three months… it just makes me weep. Not tears of despair, but tears that are a prayer for the things too deep for words.

Last night I asked Him to show me where He was on That Night. I told Him I needed to add His face–His holy, comforting, presence–to my mental image of That Night (and the surrounding events).

Instantly, I saw me laying on the couch, my head on His lap. And He was stroking the hair out of my face. And He wasn’t crying, He wasn’t angry, He was just looking at me with love.

Because He knew the road ahead was going to be harder than anything I’d ever done in my life. But He also knew it was going to be good. He knew I was going to be okay.

That was my rock bottom, and He knew it was coming, and He was there. Holding me.

And I trust He was holding everyone else as well. Cradling their hearts. Ministering to them. Speaking words of comfort. Validating what they were feeling- anger, fear, confusion, helplessness, whatever. And in doing that, in validating them and comforting them, He was essentially giving them the apology that I wasn’t yet able to give.

I hope they knew, somewhere within them, that I was so, so sorry.

In fact, the further I get from that place (thank you, Jesus!) the more repentant I become. The less it feels reasonable and logical and the more I cannot believe it actually happened, that I actually got to that place. Oh, if only I could undo it…

I feel like I could apologize forever.

I wish apologies could erase things and make them not have happened.

And yet, wishing that is a waste of energy and will just keep me stuck.

And besides, what need do I have for wishes when I have the guarantee that God will make something beautiful of this?

Only our God could take such a mess and use it for good.

Even though it wasn’t His will for me, He can transform it in such a way that my life is actually more beautiful because of it.

There is a definite Before and After surrounding That Night. But the After isn’t marred and scarred and doomed to be less good than it could’ve been had That Night never happened.

I am not living a lesser destiny because of it.

Hallelujah!

Lord, help me really believe that.

God knew I was going to fall. He knew I was going to hit rock bottom. And He knew it was going to hurt.

But maybe, because He is such a loving and good Father, He created the safest, softest landing for me possible. He surrounded me with love that would see me through, that wouldn’t walk out on me. And He held me. He caught me.

And so when I picture That Night now, when I think about everything that happened in the weeks before and after, I will add Him to the scene. Because in all of it, in the darkness and heaviness and despair, He is light and life and love. And where He is, everything is illuminated. Nothing is as heavy when I keep in mind that the battle is His and I am beloved and it’s not up to me.

I can’t undo it.

I can’t make it all feel okay.

But I am His.

I will speak that over myself. I am His. I am His. I am His.

I am held.

When I’m standing, He holds my hand. He hugs me. He looks at me with love.

And when I can’t stand? He holds my hand. He cradles my head. He looks at me with love.

It’s going to take time to work through all of it, I think. But that’s okay. I’m leaving it at the foot of the cross. I’m not going to keep holding on to it, turning it over in my hands, looking at it, feeling pale and shaky and regretful and ashamed. I am going to leave it in God’s holy hands and let Him do the work in me that He wants to do… in His perfect timing.

I am done trying to seek healing or wholeness.

Or love.

At least, in my mind I’m done. My heart is still reluctant to let go of the tug-of-war rope. But we’re working on that- my heart, the Holy Spirit, and I.

*

All I want is Him. Because there’s no other answer for everything in me that isn’t okay.

And honestly? I sometimes feel like my prayer for more of Him never reaches Heaven, regardless of how many times I ask. I feel like… the drain is clogged.

But if I start to believe that’s true, I will stop asking. I will stop seeking. And then what will I have?

About a month ago, the right side of my kitchen sink was clogged. No matter how much water I ran, no matter how many times I tried to use a plunger on it, the sink wouldn’t drain. It just kept filling up with water. And I lost hope. I didn’t know how to fix it, so I stopped trying. I just stopped using that side of the sink.

I don’t want to that to become the way I view my prayer to know and love Him more.

Especially since scripture says if we seek Him, we won’t be disappointed (Jer. 29:13-14).

Aye. I don’t know, guys. I don’t know what that means. I don’t know what His plan is or how He will answer my prayer. But I know He hears it.

And if I stop seeking Him, if I stop falling on my knees and petitioning and begging and crying and believing Him for more–not more things, but more of Him–where else can I find life? If I give up, if I stop seeking Him, where does that leave me? There is no life for me apart from that.

And so, regardless of what I feel or perceive, I will trust that the time I spend with Him accomplishes something. That it makes Him smile because He’s been waiting for me to realize that there’s nowhere else I can go to find what my heart longs for. Which, really, is the best thing that could’ve possibly come out of my Rock Bottom.

And He isn’t going to leave me in this place. This isn’t where my pursuit of Him ends- with this realization and aching and longing for more, without some way to dig deeper. He isn’t saying to me, “Okay, good. I’m glad you finally realize I’m everything you want and need,” and then walking away in ‘my work here is done’ fashion. That’s impossible because it completely contradicts the character of our God.

Maybe, instead, this is where it all really begins.

And so, I command my soul to listen to this truth: I will never, not on earth or in heaven, come to know all of who He is.

He is still holding my hand and taking me on this journey to fall more deeply in love with Him. The sink isn’t clogged. Together, He and I are still walking forward. Even if it doesn’t feel that way right now.

And so maybe that’s why I’ve felt off this week. My heart is aching and longing to be held by my Jesus, and I don’t know anything else that will satisfy… and I can’t play tug-of-war with God.

All I can do, ever, is surrender. Life is a constant practice in surrender and trust, isn’t it?

Lord, teach me how to rest in Your unfailing love.

Help me trust that You hear me and that You are the mighty, holy, relentlessly good and benevolent and generous answerer of prayer.

Help me let go of the rope and instead hold tight to the truth that You want me to know You even more than I want to.