Friday, January 8, 2016

Collecting the Buts and Keeping the Faith

When the twinkle lights of Christmas fade, the world seems infinitely darker doesn't it? Tonight I write to you while sitting on the oversized chair in our front room and our neighborhood seems so dark. I miss the lights that trimmed the rooflines and made each house magical.

I thoroughly enjoy taking down the tree and cleaning all the surfaces of their sparkly decor, but I miss the lights. I desperately miss the sparkly, white lights in all of their stringy, hopeful goodness Right now, some of you are in that season of life; the one just beyond the twinkle lights where it's dark and scary and you just need some sparkle. You're there and you wonder if you can weather another moment beyond the reach of those beautiful bulbs.

You're there and faith seems the furthest point. 

You're right. You're right that it's terrifying and hurtful and dark. You're right that it's challenging and the walk is long and there's no good, solid timeline for your journey. You're right to miss those lights with their promise of guidance and beauty. You're right to wonder and doubt and wish. You're right.

But hope.

Hope is here in my own story. It's here and available to you because light sneaks into even the darkest, grimmest of moments. It's the cracks and bumps that broke through seven years of impossibly bleak memories. The spots where darkness prepared to overwhelm me, the light creeped in. Seek the cracks and the bumped edges because there the light will pour through in fragile, wondrous beams.

Hope is weaved throughout the braid of this tale. The end will come and the braid will be undone and the waves that result promise to rock your soul in their beauty. Seven years of the untwinkling season ended in the most glorious firework show a heart could fathom.

You're right to question the timing and to wonder why not now. You're right to wish the learning was done, the trials wrapped up, and the finish line in sight. You're right to lash out and beg and sob and hate and love. You're right to ache and break and hurt and wish. You're right.

But mercy. 

You need. You need help and friends and safety nets and back-up plans and Kleenex. You need a lot of Kleenex because you're going to dehydrate from all these messy, crumple-face tears. Emotions are blended so far they're a chilled smoothie inside your soul and where does one even start when attempting to sort such a concoction?

Mercy arrives in those messy moments. Mercy is the Mama part of your soul that pats your heart on the back and says, be strong and keep on. Mercy serves you steaming soup and a glass of white wine before you even knew you were hungry. She'll come and she'll wrap her arms around you through friends and food and let it be. Don't fight Mercy, she's kind and comforting.

You're right to wish He'd written some part of this down on a tablet for you. You're right to scream at the top of your lungs while you drive down the freeway to yet another appointment that holds bad news. You're right when you scribble terminal into paper so hard it starts to dent the desktop. You're right.

But faith. 

Let those emotions be, live them out and write them all over every last thing. But let them be. Because -while they're important to name and understand- they're nothing. They're nothing that'll scare off the King who cares for you deeper than those seas He made. They're nothing that'll cast you out or toss you aside because you, sweet soul, are the prize He seeks.

Faith is what felt to be constantly alluding me. Faith kept the hairs on the back of my neck standing and chilly. Faith played the role of sticking point from the early days. And yet, faith kept close, tight, and sure despite all my feelings. It pursued me, provided me, held me, when it seemed there was nothing left.

So, you're right in all the ways you feel and hurt and wish and dream. You're right to mourn and love and live and die. You're right to keep. Keep the hope. Keep the mercy. Keep the faith. 

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