This is has been the summer of my life in adventurous ways, creative ways, musical ways, flattering ways, dark ways, doubting ways -- but always in ultimately good ways. This is the summer when I DID all of those things that "I always wanted to" do. This includes:
- Living in a developing country for at least a month (as recorded here, this was Guatemala for 5 weeks)
- Getting my own guitar
- Reading "Eat, Pray Love" and all the Lord of the Rings books
- Getting my very own puppy (who will obviously get her own blog post soon, duh)
- Framing my pretty new undergrad diploma
- Enrolling in a Master's program
- Moving into my own apartment (this girl is so excited to have a roommate again! <3)
I am such a believer in designing the life you want to live and then creating it. I already have a list for the Fall season of healthy, life-giving, Elisabeth-growing things to do.
What's awesome is a ton of other unplanned things happened, too:
- I feel in love with (and learned about love from) three kids, in a maternal way of which I didn't know I was capable.
- Was thoroughly enlivened by traveling for Trades of Hope to new cities
- Deepened friendships I cherish, in sweet ways I didn't even think to pray for, through hours of conversation at Starbucks
There is so much life to be breathed in between the moments we plan. Those in between moments are where the real life happens. And while I'm told it's all good, some in between moments aren't beautiful or empowering or happy.
While this summer was by far my favorite summer, it delivered me into several ugly, dark, doubting days. These days I'm terrified to speak of, but I hope (with all the hope I can muster) that speaking of them will create a place where people can go to in their hearts and no longer feel alone or confused or like an irredeemable mess.
"...to give you hope and a future..." "...the desires of your heart..." "...quiet you with my love..." "...I have overcome the world..." "...for such a time as this..." Like, what? What does that even mean? Words, phrases, verses that used to bring me comfort began to feel completely sterile. I got to a point where the only things I knew I believed was: 1. I really do love God and 2. God really does love me (whatever that entails). Other than that, I didn't have much to say, and I didn't have much that I felt I could trust or believe in or cling to.
There were nights where I would get really mad at God for hours, and then right before I fell asleep, I'd whisper, "Just in case You don't know, I still love You. Sorry that I don't know how to stop being mad at You." And I felt like He was okay with it as long as I came back to wrestle with Him again the next day. If you're yelling at, questioning, and crying with heated tears at Someone, at least you still believe that Being exists and at least you still believe that Being cares enough to listen to you be a maniac. That, the wrestling, the grace given to me to allow me to wrestle with God, that saved my life.
While most people would probably look down on me for going through such days, I think it was really important for me to go through it. I think it was really important for me to see that I don't love the Bible, I don't love the promises, I don't love worship songs, I don't love the comfort I get from organized religion -- those things are good, but I LOVE Jesus and who He is. I don't love Christianity (a lot of the time these days I actually dislike it), but I love and adore Jesus -- apart from the things that we associate with Him. As much as I want to be comforted by the Christian tools we use (it would be such an easier fix), these days, I can't seem to be comforted by anything else besides God Himself. And I actually think that's a good thing.
The wrestling brought me to being able to say:
"Even when I have no song, and I have nothing to say to You.
Even when the fight seems lost and I can't help but wonder, in my darkest abysmal moments, if it's Your fault.
Even when it hurts like hell.
Even when I feel like pieces of who I am are gone.
Even when it makes absolutely no freakin' sense.
I can't deny that this heart beats for You. It beats in a strong, steady, furious rhythm that even I can't alter.
"I don't know what it will be -- I have no freakin' clue -- but I know that a miracle is coming. And even if from here on out the only miracle I'll ever experience will be entering into Heaven -- even if the rest of my life is miracle-less until that moment I become undone right in front of You -- I will sing until the miracle comes. I will sing until the miracle comes. I know, somehow, whatever it is, it is coming."
Breathe it in, soul. Breathe in the questions. Breathe in the longing. Breathe in the confusion. Breathe in the chasm between your dreams and reality. Breathe in where you are right now in your human journey.
Breathe out courage. Breathe out hope. Breathe out the strength to trust one more time, then one more time, always one more time.
I won't give in either, and we'll fight to keep dreaming - somehow - together. I'm rooting for you. Your story is one to be heard. In this season I learned that I don't know much, but I do know that right now, your Creator is fighting for your heart.