Monday, March 6, 2017

you are h e r e

frankly i haven't thought about this blog in nearly a year. until today. i was talking to a girl about how beautiful it is that Jesus comes through the tangled mess of our lives and ties up all the loose ends, turning it into a beautiful story that reflects His glory. for whatever reason that jogged the memory.

it made my think about the life, the story, that the Lord has chosen me for. the one that He has set me apart for. the one that i have been consecrated for. it made me think about all the kinks He's untangled and all the ends He's tied together. My 20's have been significantly marked by refining. He's come through my guilt and shame and hidden places like a storm. storms don't discriminate. storms don't choose the weak over the strong or the incapable over the capable. they just rage on.

and that's how life has felt in my 20's (which are more than halfway over...what?). those waters have covered the face of my life and uprooted everything that sat in the darkest depths of my soul. my life has felt like the Earth must have felt during the flood. almost as if the Lord looked at my life with such great longing, such intense love, such deep sorrow, that He decided He could no longer allow it to exist as it was...He needed to wash it out and let it start over. start clean.

in the last 5 years there have been no parts of my life that haven't felt those flood waters. everything has gone through seasons of being bombarded, of being drowned.
my health. my heart. my deepest fears. my pride. my mind. my confidence. my identity. my hopes. my expectations. my longings. my body. they have all been painfully overwhelmed. beautifully exposed.
what began as a stomach ache, snowballed into years of unanswered questions. what began as one sad day spiraled into hundreds of days where getting out of bed was only the beginning of the battle and laying my head to rest was harder still. what began a painful memory, became a megaphone, accosting my identity from every angle. revealing fear and shame and doubt and self-loathing. making me feel like a bird who's had all it's feathers plucked out. a strange, alien-esque creature that only vaguely resembles it's former self.
that in and of itself is grim and hard and hurts. it hurt a lot. and i'm not really saying that the hurting part if totally over. but i would also be wrong if i said that it's the end of the story.

the pain in my body really was never about the pain. it was, and always is, about the way it hurts my pride. hurts my expectations. hurts my confidence. pain in my body spoke to me the lie that if my body wasn't working, then i was broken. that i wasn't enough. that i was too weak, too frail, too vulnerable. and i would never be good enough.
the sadness in my heart wasn't just about a painful, ugly memory of trauma and violation. it was, and always is, about the nature of hiding the things that make us feel ashamed. the things that make us feel like we have to prove that we are strong, because we are so afraid of people finding out just how weak we are. the things that make us hide and protect and freeze in our tracks.
these are only two examples, but this is all to say that those floods washed me out for years. they tossed me back and forth in a torrid sea of truth and lies. clashing and breaking and never holding still long enough to be grasped or even identified.

but recently something rather extraordinary happened. it stopped raining. (ironic bc it's raining outside as i type...). i think it's gotten to the part of the story where Noah is in the ark waiting. waiting for the flood waters to drain and dry. waiting to see the saturated ground that lies beneath and rediscover his world on (somewhat) dry land. i very much feel like i'm in that place. waiting to rediscover the heart and body that have been drowned out and made new by His flood waters.

by His grace, His prompting and His power, everything is being illuminated. the darkest places of fear and shame and pain have worked their way into the light; and much like the Earth feeling like the Earth again once the waters dried, i am feeling like myself again. sure, the Earth was different. it carried all the marks of the flood, the erosion and tributaries, the lakes and plains and peaks and valleys. but it became the Earth that Christ Himself would be born into. would walk upon. would live and laugh and sacrifice on.
my life carries the marks of my flood. those marks have woven their way into the landscape of my story. but those pathways in my story are the very ones Christ Himself walks upon. and that looks more like myself than anything i've seen in years.

and my rainbow? while i can't say that i have the promise of my life never experiencing a flood again, His faithfulness is the promise i hold to so tightly. because i am making it. everyday more and more. i am making it. and that promise. that faithfulness. it is worth more than the biggest, brightest rainbow i could ever ask for.

so instead of living in hiding and fear. instead of denying the flood, thank Him for the rain. thank Him for the hurt. thank Him for the love that is deep enough to uproot the hidden places and bring them into His glorious light. "just set your sail and risk the ocean, there's only grace". (david crowder band) this is where healing is found. this is where wholeness begins. i promise.