Thursday, January 9, 2014

A Word for 2014: Enough

I'm sitting at the local Barnes & Noble, waiting for my skinny carmel macchiato to cool, and listening to a woman learn to speak Italian as she stumbles through verb conjugation with her tudor-friend.  And frankly, I'm regretting wearing these ankle-bearing flats, because this window is freaking drafty. It's been a while since I've stared at this blank screen, knowing I have things to say, but doubting that I'm saying them the right way.  I relate to this woman next to me, as I write and rewrite this continuing story. I ask for the same grace her friend patiently gives to her because it's about to get real vulnerable up in here...

...These past few days since New Years have been really reflective and cathartic for me. I closed 2013 with a hard heart.  I remember displaying all of the Christmas cards that we received from our friends and family and feeling like I had nothing to show or tell about the past 365 days. Certainly, it was a year in the in-between. No life milestones met, no promotions or new passport stamps.  Scrolling through Instagram and Facebook filled me with bitterness and caused me to believe that my life wasn't enough.  That I wasn't enough.

I was reading through my previous post after six months, and while I still believe that there is truth to those words, they were also really telling of where I was in my life at the time.  I hadn't been to church in I don't know how long, I wasn't spending time in God's Word, I wasn't serving in any way, I wasn't worshipping with anyone or spending time in devoted prayer.  No wonder I had become a cynic! I still believed in Jesus, but there was such a void in my spirit that I couldn't make out any light in the world or in myself.  I wrote and spoke words that made me sound like God and I were BFFs, but those were things I thought I should be writing and saying.  But it wasn't real life.  So, after a lot of mom - talks, and anxious hours trying to sleep, it occurred to me that I had trained my heart to doubt that God really had a plan to give me hope and a future. I had a deep fear for what my future looked like. I didn't trust Him.

I read Ann Voskamp's One Thousand Gifts last year.  I read it, admired her lyrical writing and her ability to empathize with the reader, and when I finished it, I set it on my bedside table, where it collected dust until January 1st, 2014.  There was something different this time. All at once, I knew that the reason my year felt like a complete waste was because I had been filling it thinking about all that my life wasn't, rather than looking up and seeing God's constant love and grace at work.  I wasn't letting myself see the good.

My whole life, I've struggled with not feeling like I was enough.  The things I accomplished weren't enough, my broken body wasn't enough, my personality and all my quirks weren't enough.  I couldn't love myself because all of these things added up to a person who had been measured and found wanting.  Despite the love of my parents, my family, my friends and my husband, I continued to tell myself that I was unloveable.  And after growing up in youth group, being on the CRU drama team at JMU, and being a youth leader, I am just now realizing that people like me are God's specialty.  This is what He lives for...and ultimately, what Jesus died for. I finally get it.  I am enough because Jesus and his grace is enough.  Every day, He fills in my holes with his holiness.  With his wholeness.  

In doing a some research, I came across Judah Smith, who is a Pastor at City Church in Seattle (although he sounds like he came straight from the Bible-Belt south).  If you're looking for a guy who gets grace, I recommend you give this sermon a listen.  Trust me on this one...

I have a lot of soul work to do this year, rebuilding this heart of mine.  I know it takes time for the snow and ice to melt.  I know I tend to impulsively jump into things and then give up after a while.  I don't want to give up on this. He never gives up on me.  I want that light to come back. I know it will. And when the dark comes, I'm gonna break out my handy dandy headlamp until the sun comes up.

Ok...This crappily insulated window is turning my feet blue and I'm getting the "When will you insomniac-hipsters just go home" eye from the barista. Hubby got me some mountain man socks for Christmas and they are calling my name!


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