Hey Sweet Friends…I’m sorry this is so late. The last several weeks the heaviness of the world has had my words all clogged in my throat and I haven’t known what to say or where to go. Yesterday my counselor suggested I sit down in front of my computer and just see what comes so that is what I am going to do. Let’s pray whatever comes is worth posting about, shall we.
As I sit down to write this post I’ve been putting off, I’m sitting at my kitchen table. Worship music is playing from my EchoShow that my fancy friends at work pulled together to get me as a house warming present. Freshly purified and re-mineralized water is in a cool mason jar glass next to me whenever I need a sip. My dog, Willa, is outside enjoying her very own back yard, barking at all the squirrels who dare to enter it, and over to my right, is a big, bay window that looks out onto my front yard. From the chair I am sitting in, I can’t see my diagonally across the street, neighbor’s house. All I can see is my yard, two dogwood trees, my mailbox, and the sunrise, with it’s oranges, pinks, and purples.
The land across the street belongs to the city and is a part of one of our city’s many watershed lakes. In other words, they won’t ever build anything to impede my view of the sun rise and as I typed out that last sentence the tears I’ve been meaning to cry for over a month are flowing. My God didn’t just give me a house but a monument of his faithfulness.
It was the winter of 2016 when I found Hosea 6:3 through a She Reads Truth devotional. The verse says,
“Let us strive to know the Lord. His appearance is as sure as the dawn. He will come to us like the rain, like the spring showers that water the land.”
The devotional was talking about God showing up in our messes “as sure as the dawn”, and my life was certainly a mess. The devotional linked to an Ellie Holcomb song aptly named, “As sure as the sun” and of all the songs I’ve gone back to over the last five plus years, I’ve gone back to that one the most.
On December 23, 2015 I lost my job, the lease of my apartment was up in March 2016. Having moved to Franklin, Tennessee over four years earlier, for a man I hadn’t talked to in over three years, I wanted to move home to be closer to my family. I had no idea what kind of job I wanted but I knew I couldn’t do anything I didn’t believe in anymore. My soul was dying inside of me and I needed God to remind me He put purpose inside me. I needed to know that the long held dreams and beliefs that one day He would give me words many people would want to hear and read, weren’t silly day dreams of a 13 year-old girl, but that He really had been developing in me a thesis that would bring healing to many.
So with lyrics like, “In the dark, in the doubting, when you can’t feel anything, O His love remains the same. As sure as the sun will rise, and chase away the night, His mercy will not end.” I clung to them and I expected my God to come like the rising sun.
And He did. I got a job full of purpose with Teen Advisors. I got to move home to Columbus, Georgia. And even better than both of those things, more than ever before, I feel as though I recovered more of myself in the healing and grief and work of the last 5 ½ years than I could have ever hoped for.
The sun is now high enough to be covered by the branches of the dogwood trees but that is ok. It will rise again tomorrow, and God willing I’ll be sitting again in this chair to watch, with wonder, the sunrise, because somehow, in this moment with the Lord and with you, Sweet Friends, He communicated to my heart, that the moment I had with him in that dog park on that wintry day in Franklin, Tennessee when I dared to believe that He would appear to me in my darkness as sure as the sun would rise, was as important to His heart as it was to mine. And in that moment of my desperation, He knew He would, one day, give me this slice of sunrise in this tent of the Promise Keeper, every day I get to call it my home.
About three weeks ago I stood in my kitchen emptying a dishwasher that feels like a miracle. As someone who loves to bake and cook and entertain and host, not having a dishwasher for four and a half years was no small thing but also I know now that it is possible to do all of those things with a tiny sink and no dishwasher. So there I was, emptying that miracle of a dishwasher and I was overcome to the point of tears with the inequity of it all. I was in my beautiful, new, miracle of a home and on the other side of the world, there were Afghan Christ Followers hiding in caves with nothing but the clothes on their backs because the Taliban was hunting them.
How? How could both be true? How do we serve the same God? Three weeks later, my rational brain still cannot make sense of this. When I was younger, not understanding and needing to know why would drive me crazy. As I’ve gotten older the more at peace I am with not understanding things I was never meant to understand. If I could make sense of how and why God moves when He does, I wouldn’t need Him. He wouldn’t be worthy of my praise and trust and complete faith…and then where would I be.
Most of the time, I’m comfortable with the tension of not understanding why He does what He does and allows what He allows, but this? This felt unbearable. I started to wonder and ask God if He had given me my house so I could open it up to refugees, because that is how little it made sense to me that I would have this beautiful, peaceful home and they were running for their lives.
Add to this, Covid numbers going up in my area of the world and facing another school year of doing ministry with my students in a less than ideal way, and deaths in my family, and talks of vaccine mandates, and I was just spent.
My heart has had enough, y’all. Is it just me, or can you relate?
And when our hearts have had enough, what do we do? In the past, mine has shut down, almost like when a wrestler taps out after an injury, my heart says, “Okay, I’m done. I can’t do this anymore.” But I can’t actually do that anymore. I’ve seen what my life has looked like when I’ve done that in the past and that is not a Kathryn I want to be again.
So what do I do? I tell my counselor. I tell some trusted friends. I tell Jesus. It was in the telling Jesus bit where I journaled,
“What do I do when it all feels like too much to carry? You go to the One who has never stopped carrying you. You allow yourself and all the things you are carrying to be carried by Jesus.”
And after I journaled I asked Alexa to play “It’s Always Been You” by Phil Wickham on Spotify on high volume.
If I had to describe what I think Heaven sounds like, it would be Phil Wickham’s voice and so I let his voice wash over me for a bit and then I joined in and sang “Who stood with me in the fire? It was You, it was always You. Who pulled me out of the water? It was You, it was always You. And who carried me on their shoulders? It was You, I know it’s You”. And as I sang those words at the top of my lungs I was able to breathe a little deeper and believe a little more that God is going to use all of the mess to bring glory to His name and beauty to my life.
Because what is realer than the house I live in and the cave of the Christ Following Afghan family, is the fact that Jesus is preparing a place for us. The realest thing is not the tragedy or the joy in our lives now. The realest thing is that there is an eternity waiting for us. That is what the faith of my Afghan Brothers and Sisters reminded me of. In their persecution, they know a part of God I do not and so I let their faith and conviction and sacrifice teach me to hold everything I can see with an open hand because the veil to eternity is thin, Sweet Friends. We can let that weigh us down, or we can proverbially throw off everything that hinders us and run into the hills where the Deliverer will preserve our eternal lives. I’m not perfect at this but every time I breathe deep the inability to ever understand Him fully, I practice peace and in this world, in this day, I don’t know about you, but peace is something I’m in desperate need of.
Until next time,
Thank you for being here,
Remember to take deep breaths,
And God has got us!