I have something to share. Shocker, I know. But God has been piercing through my reality lately, and I can’t hide it under a bushel (No!).
Last week, some heaviness that had been building up around me (gracefully) came to a head, and I had to confront feelings that had risen up for a variety of reasons, issues I would have rather not dealt with, and shadows I would have rather not seen. Hey, people—this is called life. Am I right?
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” —John 16:33
There I was, hanging out with my bacteria, feeling uncertain and stirred up, unsure and peaceful all at the same time. I knew the Lord was—is—creating new things in me all the time. This semester has a different feel, an edge that is exciting and frightening all at the same time. I fought against it for awhile; “No, thank you,” I answered. No to change, because stability is my thing. No to complete honesty, because almost honesty was soft and comfy. No to walking on tumultuous waters, because in the boat, it just seems like a gentle rocking—nothing too dangerous—and that’s the way I like it. But I know how satisfying it is to jump in.
What’s more, I know what it feels like for the Holy Spirit to burn inside of you. I can ignore a lot of things: whining kids, a looming assignment, a counter lined with dishes, somebody’s use of your instead of you’re, the roommate with whom I’m angry. I’ve yet to figure out a way to run from God. In fact, the idea of His Hands on me is as exhilarating as it is nerve-wracking; His romancing steals my heart again and again until I can’t breathe and I have to say, “Have Your way.” You’ve probably heard me say all of this before, but I’m a knuckleheaded human. I have to be romanced day after day, listening to the soft whispers of the Savior asking me to dance over and over.
This past weekend was the most renewing, refreshing, rejuvenating three days of the whole semester. I sat down with multiple people, sometimes itching to get up and walk right back into comfortable, looked them in their lovely faces, and spilled my beans. I am blessed to be loved so well that I can say things all wrong, and still, they know exactly what I’m saying, and they refuse to let go of me. I emptied my whole heart to them, and then I held out my hands and asked to be filled up; I was filled.
Today, I faced a whole new world. My heaviness was dissolved, and while things don’t go away easy as pie, sometimes the freedom is in putting it on the table and walking forward into the next steps, whatever those may be. But I felt light. Free. Which explains why I was smiling so goofily as I sipped my venti iced coffee (which definitely had no contribution to the smile, if that’s what you’re thinking.) When an older man held the door for me as I was leaving Starbucks, I greeted him rather enthusiastically.
I said, “Have a great day! It’s beautiful out here, isn’t it?” He looked around, with the one o’clock sun lighting up his face, the breeze tossing his hair about, February’s gifts warming us from the outside in, and shook his head.
“I keep hoping for some of that warm, sunny weather from last week,” he said. I was so perplexed. I looked around. It was gorgeous, people. If you were walking the sidewalks of the University of Alabama, you know what I’m saying. We’ve got skips in our steps and joy in our hearts; trees are blooming and people are tossing frisbees like that’s what they get paid to do. The favor of the Lord is all over Tuscaloosa in the form of sunshine and weather patterns. Today was brilliant. I didn’t know what to say.
“Oh, but it’s gorgeous!” He looked at me and gave a sad almost smile.
“Still waiting on spring,” he said, and he mumbled some more as he went in a different direction. I stared after him, and everything in me told me to run after him and tell him I understood. I wanted to tell him I know darkness; I know how cold it can get. I wanted to tell him I’ve shivered in the shade, walked at midnight, groped my way through fog. But oh, there is joy in the morning. For I know the light of the Lamb.
“And this is the message [the message of promise] which we have heard from Him and now are reporting to you: God is Light, and there is no darkness in Him at all [no, not in any way].” —1 John 1:5
I wanted to point to the sun and say, “See? There He is. Feel the glory.” But I was rooted there, overcome with the mingled contraries of hope and pain and light and dark and believing and doubting. In the end, I prayed that I’d offered some light to him, and that divine orchestration permeate his darkness until hope took hold of his soul.
“I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows).” —John 10:10
“The LORD is compassionate and merciful,
slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love….
For his unfailing love toward those who fear him
is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth.” —Psalm 103: 8 & 11
“Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.”