3 months.

3 months can fly by in a flash. it can drag on for eternity. i’ll let you guess which of the two has described my past few months.

three months of searching for answers, hoping for them, desperately needing them. and finally, i’ve resigned myself to one day having them. no longer bent on hoping, no longer believing my efforts have mattered. i have tried — by god, i’ve tried. i’ve done everything i know to do — talking about it, spending time alone, with god, with wise counsel. i’ve tried giving every anxious thought over, i’ve attempted to keep hoping when it seems futile. i’ve begged, i’ve cried, i’ve sat silently hoping to feel something. i’ve raged and asked nicely and tried to discern the best way and decided to move. and then the door that may seem a crack open, has slammed in my face yet again. what do you do when no answers appear?

silence seems to meet me the loudest.

i’m often crippled by decisions. choosing where to eat, what to eat at that restaurant. what decision to make, when to make it, what it will turn out like. when it comes to the big decisions — which job do i apply to? should i move on with my life? is this relationship a wise one? where should i move? — it’s near impossible for me to feel like i’m making the best one. i always put so much pressure on THE decision, forgetting that god’s grace will carry me along as he gives me the wisdom to choose. this time around, i have been struck dumb yet again by the inability to choose. it felt like i had both endless options and none. finally, after feeling some excitement about potential job, new city, things i actually love, i decided to just make a faithful choice. it seemed that some pieces had the stamp of god, had the scent of something holy spirit led. so i started planning for this. after months and months of feeling that he’d make it crystal clear, i decided to take a step forward in faith instead. i felt hopeful and excited for the first time in a long time. so i attempted to take a few steps in that direction. what was i met with? the door slowly swinging towards shut. while he hasn’t said “no,” it doesn’t seem likely to work. and after being strung out on sadness and sick with sorrow, i simply can’t handle another “no”. it doesn’t just seem like a door shut to an opportunity, it seems like a door shut on my soul. barely hanging on, the sliver-thin string has been snapped off in front of my face. i know god must have purpose in it but i no longer care. it seems like the endless “no” is reverberating in every facet of my life and i’m distrustful that god really and truly cares about me.

i know one day it’ll all make sense and all of that cliche stuff i’d tell someone else in my position but right now, none of it seems true. in this moment, it seems like i’m in a desert — the path behind me dry + desolate; the path in front of me empty + uncertain. but since i’m in the desert, i know i can’t stay here. while i’d like to lay down on the ground and hope that someone will rescue me out, i know i have to keep moving forward in faith that god will lead me to an oasis. there will be life again. i know this and, ultimately, i trust this. but in my everyday struggle, it’s a fight to move ahead one. step. at. a. time. kicking the dust up as i go, often crawling, often crying out the last sustenance i have in the hopes that i’ll reach the thriving place soon.

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new every morning.

it’s true that his grace is new every morning. but often so is the reminder that your life is not as you wanted it to be.

i really want to be able to give you guys a positive report. i am way better at sharing my struggles from the other side. from the side of healed and whole and happy. it’s in this broken and weary place that my words run out. the pain is unbearable so i choose to feel nothing in its place. the grief is still there — churning and rolling in the depths of my soul. it’s the ride i can’t hop off of. the one that seems as though it will never end. i will be forced to see it through until the end. and as it stretches on and on, i don’t think i have the fortitude to withstand it. i don’t think i want to.

i unwished myself alive yesterday. that’s a nice way of saying i wanted to die. i don’t want to exist in this pain and so i dreamt up ways i wouldn’t have to. that’s a nice way of saying sometimes i’ve thought of ways to die. i get that this is dramatic, dark, demonic. it’s near impossible that i’d ever act on it knowing that it’s not a real answer to the problem in my aching soul. i know there’s purpose and hope in a King and Kingdom. but all those things FEEL light years away. they don’t feel true every day. they don’t feel like something that matters when i can’t breathe or cry or function. and short of drinking or drugs or the million other things that take the edge off temporarily, i don’t know what else to do. ask Job how long you can cry out to god while your soul is crushed. how long will we wait, lord? how long must i find joy in unrelenting pain? how long will nights of futility be assigned to me? how long will my days come to an end without hope? how long will my pain — whether silent or spoken — dissipate? how long will my broken spirit remain? how long must i wait?

i don’t have cute answers or cliches and i don’t want them, either (seriously, save ’em for your mama). some may contain truth but mostly they force me to believe that there’s something wrong with grief. that i shouldn’t feel this way and it isn’t honoring to god. that he can’t handle the depth and weight of my heartbreak and i know he can. i know he will see me through until the end. i know he loves me. i know this won’t last forever. i know i have hope in heaven and in my sure savior who has rescued me from true death. we will only suffer a little while until we enter into eternal glory. he said “a. little. while” and i hope to hold on that long. clinging to his promises and that his mercies are new every morning. even when they don’t feel like it.

for the uppers & downers.

how’s your temperament? are you as cool as a cucumber, always steady and even-keeled out? i envy you. i’m not sure if once in my life i’ve been on a straight line of emotion. i’m up or down or upside down or twirled around.

do you need a substance or something substantive to keep you on track? to make you feel normal or to make your highs more uppy or take the edge off of your lows? i empathize with you. while i may not choose the hardest of substances or choices to cope with my emotions, it has been a constant battle for all my life to feel some semblance of normalcy where my emotions are concerned. while some people can be happy without letting it overtake them, i’ve never seemed to be able to. i choose to ride the wave out until it subsides or until it goes crashing into the rocks, whichever comes first. nor can i, like some, feel low without it crushing me. while i’ve grown to be more aware of my shifting emotions and try as best i can to give them to the lord, i’ve found that there’s no way to change this sensitive spirit i’ve been given. in all my extremes, it’s difficult not to let it give way to hopelessness with no seeming end or to exhilaration that i expect to last forever. i know either terminates eventually but it can feel like a long ride til death (too far?).

to you who are in command of your emotions, who can feel happy and sad without it consuming you, this is a gift. we crazies need you. your steady spirit soothes us. it makes us feel like everything may be okay. but we need you to know something – our struggles (like yours) are often of immense pain and sorrow. we can’t be fixed or solved or made into something other. we aren’t being melodramatic (most of the time) but we feel deep and big. i know what you’re thinking — if we could just see the REASON in it (or that it’s lacking), you’d help us come to our senses. well, my darling friend, that may be so but we have sensitivities more than senses. so you just buckle up for our roller coaster and we promise to cry and laugh alongside you in equal measure in your grief and joys.

to you who are of my own kind, i’m sorry. i know this roller coaster can be riveting and revolting. it can make you sick to think that your pain will never end, that your darkness has no glimmer. but this too is a gift. you are in tune with so much that others aren’t. you can walk 10 miles in someone’s shoes. with them. while crying. you can create better than the best of them because often these huge feelings give way to vulnerable art. you can both soar with the wind of joy and dive deep into the depths of pain and not let it kill you. it will make you a wiser, kinder, more empathetic human. it will. but if you dull it with food or drink or friends or pity or sex or drugs or with anything, you will be dulled. you will miss out on the transformation available to you when you traverse into the crevices of the valleys of your deepest pain and survive by the will and power of god. you will fail to see the beauty that god gives us in our most joyous, harmonious moments. you will neither stand amazed nor astonished as you dull every drop of life into monotony. it will kill you. because although often it may feel like death is a more suitable option, what you really desire is “life and life to the full”, that which the devil himself comes to “steal, kill, and destroy” (john 10:10). so live it. live to the breadth and depth of all god offers us on earth. don’t let depression or sadness or exhilaration or temporary happiness or temporary ANYTHING steal what jesus came to give us by his death on the cross. grace and mercy abundant. life everlasting. a day when there will be no more suffering and no more tears. until then, enjoy this glorious ride he’s given us.