“Courage is fear that has said its prayers.” ~ Karle Wilson Baker
Trying to figure out what’s happening now, because of what’s happened back then.
It’s confusing — picking up pieces of memories I’ve already put a full stop to. I had wrapped them up with Bible verses and sealed them with a heart to forgive and move on. They sat neat and tidied with bows.
Or so I thought.
Because here I am — even having written to you a couple weeks ago — I want you to know.
I still have a lump in my throat. It hasn’t gone away.
You’d think that things would get easier having written.
You’d think that words would then flow, like a dam that has been breached with the sledge hammer of truth.
But, that isn’t what happened.
Sometimes, we think that once we surrender to faith, peace would wash over us and the battle would be over.
Somehow, we think that peace is like a flood, that wipes away all that once was devastation. We imagine a new land resurfacing — where the past disappears and we no longer have to contend with what we’ve lost.
We figure once we decide to face what’s most difficult, we would be filled with God’s power — the kind that enables us to erase the pain.
But, God’s power in my life today isn’t like the flood that brought Noah to a new world, pristine and void of everything past.
God’s power in my life today is very different than I’ve ever seen it.
His power isn’t changing the landscape of problems I’m having to confront.
His power isn’t lifting me out of the sadness or the sorrow.
His power is something so deep and new, it’s feels completely foreign.
HIs power is His whisper within me.
He’s tenderly calling me to stay long enough here, so I can face fully —
the wounds He allowed me to sustain,
who I’ve been,
who I’ve become,
and who I am today.
His power is His gaze into moments I want Him to look away.
When I dare to look into His eyes, as I’m swept over by confusion, I see —
He is stabbed heartsick, torn apart.
His power is His knowing. My pain.
Don’t run away, Bonnie.
Let me love you.
The crick in my neck pulls me tight when I jolt awake in the morning. My shoulders and back once strong from swinging my cherry-faced toddler CJ and racing across the grass with TJ now twist in tension and pain. My body just four months ago roamed free and happy, hiking quiet spring mornings and crispy fall air.
Now, it betrays me. Taut. Unresolved.
But, could the opposite be true?
One of the few confidantes who has helped me walk this path of healing — Carol from Montana — encourages me to ask questions. “What is your body trying to say to you? See it as a gift. Ask God: what does this mean?”
I open my eyes each day with hope. Is this the day my body will no longer deny me rest?
My pounding heart, loud in my chest, answers. No, Bonnie. It’s not time yet.
My journey to discovering the truth about the wounds I’ve carried — and what I believe about them — is not over. All this exploring seems endless, so unproductive. Can’t we just process this stuff with steps 1, 2, 3 — and just be done already? I am an engineer by training. Every problem has a solution. If only I could find the bug in the software and apply the fix. A patch.
No, I cannot circumvent this part of my journey. The truth finding isn’t going to be a workbook I plow through. This journey is ripping out all the old courage I once drew from to build this life.
I wish I could go back to the way I once was —
In need of nothing.
Content with the way things were.
Living without the inconvenience of grief and healing.
Now I Know
Every night, I crawl into the safety of my covers to brave the dark again. With a sliver of courage folded between my praying hands, I surrender whispers to Jesus — I will trust you.
I think that’s what Jesus wants. Maybe the white flag will end all this.
The lump in my throat pushes up harder. It won’t allow me to be so strong.
And a cry begins to gather, the way a wave grows from a gentle crawl miles out — into a foaming crest that crashes onto the shore — sprawling wet across the sand.
I fight to push it down. But, it’s no good.
It’s too much. My eyes squeeze and my lips tremble.
I don’t want this anymore. I begin to cry. And I can’t stop the tears anymore.
Please… I don’t understand why it has to be this way.
I tell you, before all this happened, I believed I was courageous. I never knew fear. It never touched me.
But, now I know I am not so courageous. I don’t want the cup that Jesus took.
Loss. Weakness. Brokenness.
No. Not this. Please. I want to give my after-testimony.
There’s already been enough locusts who have eaten the years away. Too many years.
I want to live the after-years. After the pain. After the ugly words. After the messy.
I want your now-years.
I want you. Now.
Fully facing –what no one else could see —
all that you’ve carried,
all your doubts about yourself,
all you’ve never dared to lose,
and all you’ve never wanted to desire.
Because you’ve had to be strong.
Because you’ve always lived invisible.
Because you’ve never allowed yourself to admit…
You have been wounded.
Why am I writing all this — here to you today?
It’s the blog’s 3rd anniversary.
As I thought and thought — what could I say to commemorate this faith community God’s brought into my life — I struggled.
Aren’t anniversaries a time for balloons, parties and colorful streamers? Yes, we’ve shared plenty of those together throughout the years, haven’t we.
But, this year, FaithBarista’s anniversary is extraordinarily special.
My blog birthday wish is for courage. New courage. Fresh courage.
My prayer for this place of faith we’ve built together is this: courage to live out our Now-Stories.
Courage to walk through them.
Courage now to tell them.
Maybe you’ve reached a place in your life where you’re like me — sensing a growing desire for now courage.
Courage to see things as they really are.
Courage to stay in a place of confusion for a season — in order to receive comfort in ways we’ve never allowed ourselves to pursue.
Courage to break your silence — by reaching out to others, to say —
“This is me now. This was me then.
I’m not sure where God is leading me next.
But God is calling me to be faithful to my now-story.”
I’m trusting God will not leave us orphaned.
Jesus will stun us with compassion that He’s waited a lifetime to pour over us. It’s the kind we’ve never believed was possible for us to taste.
His voice will come to us, in those intimate moments we are most barren and willingly unmade.
His touch will steady us, a cool hand on the heat of our backs as we double down in prayer.
His friendship will meet us, in the eyes of friends — new and old — as we risk what we fear, to confide and reach out to ask for help. So we don’t have to be alone any longer.
There will be people who misunderstand and even judge us. They don’t understand pain. They are afraid weakness will drive God away.
But, there are others who know differently. They will take us in and love us. Because they have met Jesus in the place of pain. They know that frailty will only unleash God’s ferocious love for us.
You and I.
Let’s help each other live Now-Stories.
“Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the LORD your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.” Deut. 31:6
Are you sensing a growing desire for courage?
How is Jesus calling you to enter deeper into your Now-Story with Him?
I love the aroma of your thoughts here. Pull up a chair.
Click to share a comment. You make this place real.
And psst… it’s a special day today. Read further below. It’s Faith Barista’s 3rd blog anniversary. And I have a special giveaway lined up. Just for you.
To celebrate Faith Barista’s 3rd Blog Anniversary, join me next Thursday 8/16/12 for a Faith Jam.
A Faith Jam is community blogging here at Faith Barista. I’ve always said it throughout the years: writing with you gives me courage. Hearing your stories give me courage.
HTML Code For the Faith Jam Faith Fresh Badge
Here’s how it works:
1. I serve up a topic of faith to explore: a writing prompt.
2. Write your post and publish it next Thursday 8/16/12. You can also comment directly if you don’t have a blog.
3. Please place the Faith Jam Badge in your post so we can find each other. Grab the HTML code above.
4. Share your post by linking up on Thursday.
5. Visit at least one friend in the jam (read the post before yours & comment). We blog together to encourage each other.
Next Thursday’s 8/16/12 Writing Prompt:
“What I I Know Now”
Write a letter to yourself at an earlier time in your life. Share what you know now about the faith journey with your younger self. Your younger self can be any age you feel prompted to address. e.g. “Dear Jane, ….”.
Approach it any way you feel inspired! Only required ingredient: keep it real.
Like a jam session in jazz, it’s all improv. So, don’t sweat dotting the i’s and crossing t’s. The only requirement? Keep it real.
** GIVEAWAY ** God’s Plans For You | Jeanne Winter’s Gallery Art Print
First giveaway gift is inspired by Jeremiah 29:11.
Next week, I’ll be giving away Jeanne Winter’s Gallery Art Print “God’s Plans For You” to ONE RANDOMLY SELECTED WINNER. Just submit a post/comment in the Faith Jam next week to enter.