I let my dogs out tonight and sat on the back steps for a while while they sniffed the grass and the air to make sure everything was safe for mom. The cool air refreshing, not sticky… welcoming, not oppressive. I could literally sit outside on a night like this with a massive hooded sweatshirt on and my yoga pants (cause lets be honest yoga pants are the bomb – and I just dated myself! Ha whatever…) Moving on, I could sit there with my comfy, grungy clothes on, looking worn and tired while sitting in front of a fire – that I built mind you – and just be. The cool air hitting my lungs and cleansing myself of all the crap that I walk through every single day. I can sit, and listen for the most important voice, because it’s finally calm. I can finally be still in the presence of God, and just be. I can release, and let everything that I am holding onto so tightly fall off of me like the leaves fall off the trees when a breeze rustles them loose from their branches. The stress, the heartache that usually fall down my cheeks until my eyes are puffy and red… It can all just blow away, as I sit in the presence of the Most High.
This past year has been my nightmare come true. So much heartache, so much change. Sometimes there are things that I honestly still can’t wrap my head around, and maybe I never will this side of heaven. You grow up thinking that life is going to picture perfect and that everything will be all “Snow White and Prince Charming” – sorry reference to Once Upon A Time. But it’s not. It’s far from it actually. Life is really hard sometimes. It’s a theme here lately…the challenges of life. When we face challenges this side of heaven it can feel unbearable at times. Divorce, cancer, death, job loss, uncertainty of what the next step should be, etc. There’s so much to worry about and fear that it will bog us down if we aren’t careful. I’m constantly reminded of Peter walking out on the water to Jesus. Taking that bold step of faith even when he was scared out of his mind. It’s such a great image to keep close. When we keep our eyes completely focused on Jesus, we can do the impossible. But the second we start to worry and fret… which I am GREAT at by the way… we sink.
If we aren’t careful we will allow ourselves to get shaken to the core of who we are, and will be turned to the dust and rubble of our past. I know I do it all the time. I allow myself to get shaken by all the change, all the storms surrounding me and forget to look straight into the eyes of the ONLY one who gets me. I look around and feel like I am alone. I end up binge eating fruit snacks and drinking Pepsi. I start throwing myself a pity party become self-indulgent, and start focusing on all the wrong things… usually all the things I have lost. And why do I do this? Because I’m a “Lego” Peter and took my eyes off of “Lego” Jesus. I put on the happy face and pretend that all is well, but deep down I am dying inside. I have forgotten how to be thankful for everything I DO have while facing the storm. I have forgotten to look at the silver lining of the struggle. #silverliningpeople
It’s so exhausting living in my head sometimes. I question and second guess and wonder what people will think of me if they knew everything. I wonder how I could have handled things differently. I wonder where I messed up and why he walked away from me. I continue to question what God is doing and why. Constantly asking “Why is this happening God? Why do you think I am strong enough to handle all this crap?” When I question the storm I show my doubt in God’s power. It’s basically like I am saying “Hey, listen here, I can do a better job at this life God. Thanks for trying.” It’s me working on one upping God and proving to him that my plan is better. I let the fear and uncertainty rule my life. I have such a limited perspective… my tunnel vision takes over and I can’t see anything but what’s right in front of me. If we are honest, all of us do that. Why? Because we are human. We are not meant to see the full picture because then it would negate the whole purpose of having faith and why Jesus existed! We are so small and can only see glimpses of everything. But yet we refuse at times to see past the mountain of uncertainty in front of us to even try to see the promise that God’s got this. I do this all the time…you think I would have learned by now. But I am not perfect by any means, and I am trying to do better.
When I was kid I had all these dreams and aspirations. I figured that since I did all the right things, said all the right things, and went to all the right places that God would bless my socks off. He would be as faithful to me because I was faithful to him. Ha! Let me tell you how wrong that thinking is people! God is ALWAYS faithful to us even when we turn out backs on Him… He’s always right there waiting for us to collapse in his arms when we realize we can’t do this without him. And sometimes he sees that we are a warrior for him, a soldier in his army, and he will test us to refine us. He will put storms in our path to see how we cope, and to strengthen our armor. Sometimes those storms are the hardest, most painful experiences ever but “God wants to purify us and pain is a conduit for that.” (Lisa Harper) I am constantly reminded that I need to praise God even when everything seems to be taken from me (because it’s not, it just feels like that). He will remain faithful to me no matter what and I have to trust the process. He will redeem all the hurt and all the pain, but it will be in his time and in his way. If I take my eyes off of him… I will sink. It will feel like I’m starting over at ground zero every single time. God’s got this, now do I trust him enough to prove it? Do I trust him enough to SEE his faithfulness? Will I trust his timeline? Yes, I can… Yes I do… and Yes I will.
Fall is seriously one of my most favorite seasons, and we’ve been blessed with the fall like weather these past couple days. The crisp air, the cool nights, hooded sweatshirts, fires and s’mores… and seriously don’t get me started on all the tastes and smells (not the “pumpkin spice literally everything” tastes and smells though). Fall reminds me that change is good, no matter how hard it may appear, and how much work you need to do to make yourself presentable again. I mean come on, who wants to always look out and see the brown crinkly leaves? Fall is like dying to our old self and allowing God to bring something new in the right season. There may be a little chill in the air for a time while you figure it all out, but everything always comes up more radiant and beautiful when we trust that God will come through.
So, here’s to fall… and to Peter for taking the bold step of faith.