I sit in my car in the parking lot in front of the sanctuary, there is something so serene and sacred about seeing the sunrise in this spot. Illuminating the snow white cross that reaches higher than the trees. So I wait for the moment-camera ready to capture the beauty. Careful not to forget this moment. The now. Moments of the childlike anticipation before the break of dawn over the sanctuary I grew up in. Craving to be sparked by this moment of wonder for Jesus to take my breath away with His glory once again.
“And is this the art of life–to keep awake to the wonders in His Word and this world? Isn’t it wonder that sparks love?” -Ann Voskamp
I reach for my phone first thing in the morning-check my email for any luck to jobs I’ve applied for, scroll through Instagram and Facebook to see who all is living lives more exciting than mine. I eventually get tired of each application on my phone so I finally get out of bed, get dressed, fix my coffee and sit down and repeat everything on my phone that I did when I first woke up. Mindlessly scrolling through social media. There are many reasons I turn to my phone so often-putting my hope in it to satisfy my boredom, wanting to find something inspirational to start my day, be in the “know” about the latest news, but the biggest reason I know I get sucked into my phone is because I’m avoiding something else. I’m in the valley, the dark place. Accepting it has been hard for two reasons; one is because I know the valley all too well, and it knows me all too well too and it’s no fun. Second: the majority of the circumstances that have brought me here are completely out of my control.
- My sister is moving to Maine in two weeks. Jennifer and her husband are moving there to help build a community of believers and eventually start a church. Leaving their comfort zone to make disciples- exactly what Jesus calls us to do, but not exactly what our family wants. Ever since she got married I haven’t been able to see her often but I still get the daily phone calls that are filled with stories of her life as a nurse. I’m afraid her and her husband will fall in love with Maine and never move back to Georgia. Our family has always lived within twenty minutes of each other so this is new to us. It scares me to know she’s so far away and that the norm would become not seeing her for every holiday. And how am I supposed to be the best aunt ever if they’re still in Maine when baby fever hits?
- I graduated college exactly a month ago and I’m still aimlessly searching for a full time job. I don’t even know what I want to do so i’m having a bit of an identity crisis. Every time someone asks me what I’m doing now that I’m graduated I cringe and try to end the conversation as soon as possible because I hate having to say that I’m clueless and lost on this whole “adulting” thing.
- My friend. My friend that I’ve grown with and seen her survive dark and scary places. I’ve watched her heal from deep wounds and come out brighter and stronger than ever. She’s walked back into the dark. All because of a boy. Any boy that brings a girl back to being a slave to sin does not deserve her. He says he loves her and blows out her candles one by one-taking her light away. Taking away the power of the victories I watched her conquer. But I know that no matter how much I remind her of who she is in Christ and how much God has done in her life-the decision is hers and that scares me to death. I don’t want to lose my best friend to the dark.
So this weight on my shoulders has made me avoid the quiet moments where I start to think too much and accept that I’m hurting. I’m used to numbing out the pain and just moving on. We numb out pain because we’re afraid to admit that something is wrong, that we’re not ok. Admitting that something is wrong is truly the first step to healing.
I just recently caught my annual winter cold and God planned the timing perfectly. Yesterday when I was in the bathroom blowing my nose I threw the tissue in the trash and looked at my sick self close in the mirror and I heard Jesus say to me “Let me take care of you.” As my eyes welled up I knew he was talking about more than just my physical sickness, I wanted control and to be able to fix everything on my own. I didn’t want to hand over my burdens. I didn’t want to admit that I was trying to win battles that were in God’s hands, not mine. I wanted to get out of this valley in my timing which means asap. But instead I caught a cold and in the physical weakness God wanted me to recognize my spiritual weakness too. I can’t get out of the valley on my own but I still try every time. I am reminded of God’s healing hands that want to take care of me. In my powerlessness God wants to gently take away the burdens one by one, and even though it’s hard to hand over the control, the weight lifted off of me makes the light on the other side of this valley shine a little brighter. I’m learning to let go and let God take care of the burdens. Learning to not be numb and letting in all the feelings so that the healing will be that much sweeter. There’s always hope. Even in the valley.