On having a wrenched spirit and saying it is well.

Midway through the month of August, I wrote about walking through the wilderness. I even used distancing language, in a vain attempt to avoid the admission that I am, indeed, in that place. Because its hard to find anything pretty about my here and now, and I wrestle with wanting to look like I have it all together, and August was another messy month. Everything was late and rushed and busy and some was left half done, and here I am completely and totally undone, again. I realize that I have been here for awhile now, stuck in a revolving door that dizzies between so much faith and so much anxiety. I lift my hands in worship and experience the beauty of surrender and the power of shaking the gates of hell for an hour and a half on Sunday morning, but inevitably, Monday morning pounces and the lies creep in again and I fall back into the pattern of too much to do and never enough time or energy. I read blog posts about how precious time is, and how the true key to joy is found in slowing down. For a moment, I lavish in the thought, but eventually, bitterness seeps sour into the crevices of my heart and I gnarl to myself that there is no way that the person who penned those words could know anything about me and my life. Slowing down is always easier said than done, because faster is always made to look more attractive and productive.

The truth is, I'm a mess. Seeking some solace, I picked up my friend Holley's book "You Are Going to be Okay" last night and turned the pages in search of answers. In the first chapter, Holley writes of a conversation she has with Jennifer Dukes Lee in which Jennifer says that we don't have to be citizens of wherever we are right now. I quickly shut the book and replace it on the dresser, singed by conviction. Its a dangerous thing to pray for answers. They almost never show up where I expect them, and almost always reveal some harsh truth about my flesh. I didn't want to come face to face with the realization that the overwhelming majority of my difficulty lately may very well be from browsing the real estate catalog and renting a post office box in a place that was never meant for staying.

Perhaps it is the season of life I am currently in: desperate to put down roots anywhere, seeking meaning and identity and purpose wherever I happen to land. Because I want to be so much, but mostly I just want to stop waking up in the middle of the night with the feeling that I'm drowning. My spirit is wrenched by the current, and fear and doubt make for a horrendous ball and chain.

The mantra that has defined my days has been one of rebellion: one of no, I'm not okay. I meditate angrily on the same page, repeating the words until I can no longer catch my breath for the panic that has invaded my cells. I wonder, could it be that the remedy to this madness, the map to turning the page and healing all this hurt is to say it is well? 

It is well, even when the pain overwhelms and nothing makes sense. It is well, even when I don't know which way is up, because the Savior is always reaching down. His plan, even for this place, is good -- but that doesn't mean that He intends for me to stay here. At some point, that truth became blurred. It might be easy to stay in the wilderness, getting just enough manna mystery for the day, but we were made for more. I was made for more than just getting through the day. It might be easy spin my wheels in the desert, but I was made to move forward, knowing not just in my head but in my heart as well that no matter what, I am going to be okay, and that yesterday is well, today is well, and tomorrow will be well with my soul.

You're Going to be Okay // Amazon / Barnes & Noble DaySpring

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in search of golden things:

I have been silent here for what feels like forever. There have been a few false starts: halfhearted posts that sit idly in my drafts folder, paragraphs written and rewritten a hundred times, only to be given up on in the end. I did something strange this morning: I turned the radio off for my commute to work. I sit here physically, emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually exhausted. But the truth is, I think underneath all the exhaustion is the bitter fear of silence and stillness. White space intimidates me, and I hasten to fill it. I have said yes to too many things over the past few weeks, and in the process of the seemingly unending yes, I have said no to my husband, my home, and my health. I had a panic attack recently, and pretty much live in fear of having another one. Last night, my drive home was spent in sniveling tears. I have been packing heavy for too long, allowing each person, each snide social media post, each frustrating situation to take up residence in my heart. I wonder what this is, this stark inability to let things simply roll off my back.

Processed with VSCOcam with a5 preset The rain is falling outside my open window, speeding cars humming and splashing as they travel up and down Grant Street, and this is the first silent moment I have had in ages, and what do I want but to turn on the music, check Facebook, browse for something new to occupy. I can only take so much silence, so much stillness, before I begin to get antsy. I start to twiddle my thumbs and shift uncomfortably in my chair, my stomach uneasy, hanging in the balance between craving the quiet and fearing it.

I think, I must be doing something, must be completing something, must be meeting with someone, answering someone's call. But the phone sits quiet on my desk, and deep down inside, I secretly dread the ring. I dread someone else needing another answer, blaming me for another problem, and I can't help but take responsibility.

I stare at the wall, painted deep red and scarred from too many nails, and I think of all the things that have been nailed to the deep red walls of my heart. I think about the possibility of being sick from all of this, and how the only sure antidote to sickness is worship. Worship is the only anti-venom when the snake slithers.

We worship by building the kingdom through the passions Creator God infused in our cells before the foundation of the world. We worship by magnifying His light in the things that bring joy to our hearts: the things that give life.

Sometimes its hard to find any semblance of life when the whole world seems stormy gray. I search for the signs, and my mind wanders to the pink tickle of mimosa flowers, the new grass sprouting in our front yard that began as the tiniest of seeds poured out of our hands, and I remember that we are made the same way: to push up through the black layers of earth and respond to the rain with one brave bloom, and another, and another, until all has come alive.

There comes a time when we must reevaluate the yes and the no, a time to return to that which renews after spending so much time in the desert.

Hence this blog.

Linking up with Lisa Jo Baker and a host of other brave and beautiful women for Five Minute Friday.