Wednesday, June 25, 2014

embracing life, as it is

I've spent many days of my life intensely focused on me, thinking about what I need to do better or how I should live differently. Growing has always been a goal for me.

One of my friends has told me on several occasions that I know myself better than anyone she knows. The thing is, I don't. For so many years I studied myself and my circumstances in order to understand why things happened and how I can make things be different than they are. I've tried to forget and to forgive, all to fix the frail parts of my heart.

Accepting myself was something I struggled to do, and so I didn't know who I was created to be; not just created to be, as in the future, but created to be in each moment-by-moment. I've not rested in simply being me. I've not realized that I am allowed to be as I am, and to seek God for who He says that I am.

My life has always felt regular and average, yet there are people all around me who hurt far worse than I ever have. While there are people who don't feel safe in their own home, I have never experienced a life like that. In all my growing up days, my heart was heavy with disappointment over how people can possibly hurt other people, though I was not even physically threatened. I grew up in a loving home and I continue to live in such a place where I don't doubt that I am loved. I feel badly even saying that, as I imagine the people whose lives are far different.

I want to protect other people's heart, yet I am restless and sad when I try to silence my story. I wasn't made to box up my joy in martyr-like ideology with an attempt to make someone else feel better. I cannot control or contain my feelings and experiences and still expect to live. And so, I'm learning to share without shame. I'm learning to let loose my joy and to let it unravel and spiral down through my veins and out my pores. I'm beginning to realize that when I do this, it doesn't make others wounds more painful, it gives others sight to grace and to hope.

My intention isn't to rub salt in a wound by saying, look at me and my happy-clappy life. God is loosing my fear of hurting others by giving me a longing to speak the truth about what He has and continues to actively do in my life, regardless of what that means for someone else's story. The process comes with a lot of trust on my behalf that He will fill the gaps and meet the needs of those weaved with my life; that if something I say or do triggers something painful in them, that He will make them whole. After all, He is always bigger than me.
For most of my life I struggled to receive love for myself; to even consider that I am valued. Now I see all the gifts in my life as evidence of God's personal love for me. 
God knew what would make me smile. He knew what would make my taste buds tickle and what would satisfy me. God matched me up with just the right people and experiences -- some of who even hurt and disappoint me -- for me to discover who He is and that His love comforts me far deeper than the circumstances of my life might momentarily seem to dictate.

I see all the ways God followed me into the trenches of my life. He knew just how far He needed to go to rescue me . . . from myself and my fears . . . for me to surrender my fear-focused life and trust Him.

God knows what it takes for me to see His love for me, moment-by-moment. I'll miss out on experiencing what He desires for me to experience and to know about Him and even my own self if I keep my life tucked away and hidden. And so I'm learning that each moment is a gift and my unwrapping and receiving as it is, is my worship to Him. Unwrapping my story honors all that He Handcrafted for my story and that though I don't understand, I can trust He has purposed. So, I am beginning to tell the stories of my life and I tell them with brave boldness.

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The home I live in with my groom and our son is filled with love, peace, happiness, and joy. We do things together like play Dutch Blitz, throw the lacrosse ball back and forth to each other, and play video games. There is a lot of laughter in our home on a daily basis. We sit down and have a semi-unrushed breakfast together every day, and most days we have lunch and dinner together. We go for family walks around the neighborhood with our dog and our weekends are mostly quiet-ish and relaxing.

My life is good, idyllic-like. And though I'm aware that it could be different, I'm also aware that I really don't know just how different it could be. I grip tight to this life. I fear that I will be shocked and saddened if our tomorrow isn't like today. And the truth is, I will be. Because, no one can prepare for a diagnosis or a death or a disaster. I will need a strength that is beyond me. I will need God.

I find myself thinking that our Norman-Rockwell-like life can't possibly go on for much longer; we're bound to encounter a tragedy any one of these days. A lot of mornings I gasp at this thought and fear letting myself sip and savor this life as it is. I fear receiving the moments as they are because I know everything could be different.

When a miscarriage ended our baby girl's life, I kept thinking of the women who have carried a baby full-term only to lose him or her. And when a doctor said I had cancer, I kept thinking that there are people who have much worse and more real kinds of cancer. In both of those experiences I placed limitations on my feelings, just as I continue to do with my life as it is today as I try to protect my heart in preparation for a potential hurt.

This tightly gripped "self-protection" kind of life actually has taken more energy and has inhibited me from experiencing perfect peace and joy, and most of all, Real life.

God is teaching me what it means to live a life of rest. My life might be different tomorrow or even two minutes from now, and while I don't want to take it for granted, I feel called to count my gifts and live with thanks for each moment, as it is.

My life has purpose for what it is right now and for what it has been. While several friends are frantically raising several littles who are one, two, or three years apart, I am raising one Boy-Man who is nearly a decade old and still hoping for another who will be at least nearly 11 years apart in age. While my friends speak of their life as chaos, I envy the comfort of having a larger and not so contained sized family. My friends aren't better than me with their multiple, close-in-age children who have siblings as their best friends and I'm not better than them with my simple and quiet life.
When I simply live my life, I am reflecting a heart of gratefulness for how God allows it to be. To live my own life is to trust Him. This is the heart of worship.  
If God should see it necessary for my life to change, I can trust that He's got it and He's got me. For now I can use these days to learn more about what it means to rest and not worry, to quiet the noise that says I'm missing out or wasting my days by living so simple and still. I trust God's training me today to rest and to respond, instead of react to the change or challenges in my life with shame for how I've lived.

When the tumbleweeds should start to whirl and twirl in front of me and the storm clouds rush in (because clearly we're not in Eden and this is the stuff life this side of Heaven is made of), I hope I will trust Him and abide in the peace He has given and will continue to give.

Today, I'm simply breathing and give thanks for this life, as it is. I'm trusting that this is the worship He desires from me: to live, as. I. am.

Linking with Jennifer

1 comment:

  1. You are so wise, Amy. Drinking in your words today. Thank you for sharing with us at #TellHisStory.