Lately I’ve found that I can’t really string two coherent thoughts together when I talk about my life. For example, instead of a neat articulation about God’s provision and the joy of trusting Him in uncertain times, I chose to cry into my chicken cobb salad while snotting into my friends shoulder during Girls Night Out last week. This was closely followed by a phone conversation with a sweet friend in which I broke down right after saying, “Hi!”
Lots of snot and tears in my life right now.
Then the next day (just for fun) our heat broke in the middle of an ice storm and our power flickered on and off just enough to spoil the food in our fridge. Then we lost hot water and (as of yesterday) the electric company has officially washed their hands of us while our landlord is scratching his head in bewilderment. And if tomorrow brings the apocalypse, I’m just gonna walk right into the burning buildings, high-fiving the zombies without blinking an eye because OF COURSE this is happening.
When my mom asked me what I wanted for Christmas a few weeks ago I snarkily replied with, “A great, big gift-wrapped box of NORMAL, would be nice.”
There is so much bless-ed numbing power in normalness.
I liked living a normal life because I could just exist in the blur of humanity, warm and comfortable and happily settled in the nitty-gritty of life. Life hasn’t been normal since October 18 and it’s basically just gotten less and less so. My prayer of choice is currently, “Lord, there is a fine line between persevering and surviving and I’m pretty sure I crossed it 2 weeks ago. Can we please move on?” I’ve learned that it’s hard to swallow humble pie when you’re choking on bitter tears. I’ve learned that I am selfish, petty, prideful, lazy, and sometimes even flat-out mean. That’s not new news to me but, in the current circumstances of my life, those qualities have surfaced with an uncanny stubbornness. This isn’t a call to mollycoddle and pity my poor, unfortunate self. It’s an honest “no filter” look into a spirit that is running on fumes. Because probably the most valuable lesson I’ve learned through this is if you can’t be honest with God, you’re just wasting your time.
God has been hard at work in the dark and ugly parts of my heart and I’ve felt every internal “adjustment” with acute discomfort. He has unapologetically crippled my ego so that the Spirit can move more freely. He’s called out all of my facades to make room for sincerity. He’s let me sit in failure so that He could show off His amazing grace. At the end of each day I really have nothing to show for it all except wavering, flickering invisible Hope in an invisible God. And for all the feel-good, fuzzy-wuzzy, happy thoughts that surround Hope, it really sucks that you can’t actually touch it or see it. Frankly, my experience lately has shown me that it’s next to impossible to hope in things you can’t see when there are so many physical needs staring you in the face every morning. I’m genuinely struggling to hope in God when I have no paycheck and some days I don’t even try. That’s the truth, y’all.
When you’re walking through a valley don’t try and pretend like it’s a mountain. Respect the valleys in your life. Tell God how much it hurts, yell a bit if it helps. God has shown me that I can fly off the handle as many times as I want but He will never stop promising me that I matter more than sparrows. Every day He dresses the lilies, He walks with His children, He hangs the stars.
He is God. I am not.
I don’t know when this will be over, but from what I can tell, there seems to be enough hope for at least one more day. If you’re walking through a valley right now too, I wish I could just hug you and yell with you and buy you a drink. Hang in there, friend. This can’t last forever. But maybe Hope can?