Let me paint this picture for you: It’s Friday night. I’m sitting in the floor of my bedroom eating mashed potatoes and fried chicken from Publix while Parenthood reruns play in the background. I’m surrounded by dirty clothes, water bottles & gatorade bottles, bottles of essential oils, vitamins, nail polish, and a few random purses and bags (I’m such a bag lady). I was sitting here trying to figure out how to start this and realized how much this random assortment of things represents my life. I’m going to hit the hard stuff first, then I want to tell you a few things that have been beautiful about June, okay? So, bear with me through the rough stuff. I promise there’s celebration at the end.
I keep hearing this song by Francesca Battestelli on the radio that says, “bring your brokenness and I’ll bring mine; Love can heal what hurt divides” – it’s all about being honest and vulnerable with our people, especially our spiritual family, and watching God heal what hurt and brokenness divide. Here’s my honest:
For four years I have been riding waves of change and chaos in pretty unhealthy ways. I graduated from college in May of 2012 and have experienced so much life. I’ve visited 16 different countries, lived in six different houses in Georgia, visited almost all the states on the eastern coast plus two in the midwest, changed jobs 3 times, lost two grandparents, wrecked a car and bought a new one, and so much more that I can’t even begin to put into words. My life has been an adventure, which I’m thankful for, but one that has left me with little understanding of what living in stability actually looks like. I’ve struggled with anxiety for a while, but in the last couple months, and maybe even longer than that, it’s become something that overwhelms me on almost a daily basis, messing with my physical health in such a way that seems insurmountable at times. When you walk one path in your brain for a long time, you create ruts (I read Switch on Your Brain last year and you should, too – it’s incredible) that are hard to get out of without serious work and aggression to fight the hard things. I heard God specifically tell me in January that this would be a season of rest, but I think He’s having to teach me how to rest because I’m clueless.
What I’ve learned about myself in the last four days is undeniably of the Lord. I can’t get over the way He is kind and patient with me, even in my stubbornness and weakness. I wrote and rewrote Psalm 103 yesterday and kept getting hung up in two places:
verse 13 and 14 say God has compassion on His children because He knows what we’re made of – remembering that we are dust. He’s mindful of our humanity and He chooses us anyway. He doesn’t impose impossible standards on us because He knows our little lives are fleeting and our eyes can only see such a small portion of what is happening around us. He is mindful of what we can carry and what we need.
and verse 4 where He crowns us with compassion and faithful love. I imagined flower crowns in the middle of summer, but that’s just me. We are royalty in the eyes of the Creator, but we so often walk in denial of the power we have, leaving us in such unhealthy places. God wants us to know in the deepest parts of us that He crowns us and covers us with His hesed – covenant love – the kind that redeems us. I don’t know what else will make you feel more like a princess than that (okay, *maybe* Disney World, but it’s a stretch). A pal told me once that life isn’t a fairytale, but we’re royalty. We have the crowns to prove it.
So, that’s my honest and that’s my struggle. That’s where I am: broken, usually in a lot of pain, and just really holding out all hope that God will show up and rescue me. I’m like Paul and the guys on the ship in Acts 27: dropping anchors & praying for daylight.
I wait for Yahweh; I wait and put my hope in His word. I wait for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning— more than watchmen for the morning. Psalm 130:5-6
I promised you celebration, so here it is:
Summer is my favorite season. I love autumn and spring as well (winter and I.. we struggle except for Christmas, twinkle lights and sweaters), but there’s something about just sweating half to death five degrees from Satan’s kitchen that warms my heart. I love the sun. I love afternoons at the pool or the lake (or the beach, of course). I love summer hikes and afternoon naps in my hammock and having to power through an ice cream cone so it doesn’t melt down your arm. I love the way peaches taste in the middle of summer and the way grass feels on the bottom of barefeet. I love flip-flops and that new OPI color on my toenails. Most things pale in comparison to freshly cut watermelon, tomatoes straight from the garden, and potato salad the way your family has always made it. I love the southern sayings that all stem from summer heat and the way the first heat makes folks crazy and all the fans needed to keep cool when the air is as thick as a sweater. I love parties where everyone brings a dish and playing outside is normal. Few things make me feel as lighthearted and joyful as driving around town with all the windows down and the music up loud. There is something about a southern summer.
Speaking of music, The Tony Awards happened early in the month and they were wonderful. As if this isn’t always the case, the talent was overwhelming this year. If you haven’t listened to music from Hamilton or Waitress and haven’t signed up to see She Loves Me live thanks to technology and Broadway, you are missing out on some greatness.
Rome held a new Shakespeare Festival early in the month where the town green was covered by a stage and the sunset cast the perfect lighting for A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The rolling thunder and distant pops of lightning from coming storms only added to the aura. We sat on blankets and watched the story unfold around us and the part of my heart that loves the arts and all things literature was full in a deep way. Sometimes I blink and almost think this place is Stars Hollow. As difficult as learning hard lessons can be, this life I get to live is overflowing with little joy moments that I can’t get enough of. I am forever thankful for the little things and for the glimpses of God I see in those around me.