In the darkness of the road…

This time of year seems to make everyone reflective and nostalgic.  With Thanksgiving, everyone wants to list things they are thankful for. Christmas is always seemingly about family. And New Years is about new chapters in our lives. I find myself here tonight, on Black Friday, reflecting on a whole lot more than the turkey I ate or the family I spent time with. I didn’t go shopping- never have on Black Friday. Instead, holidays for me sort of create a different internal response. I don’t typically share this with most people, but I want to be vulnerable with you tonight.  For me, as much as I love Thanksgiving and Christmas, I find them to be increasingly harder with each year passing.

I struggle with my desires and wants and yet try to be content with what have. I am nearing 30 years old at this point and spending holidays with family and friends also just reminds me of the family I don’t have. There are usually people at some point who I don’t know at holiday events who will ask the inevitable question of who my husband is or what he does.  In finding out about my single-hood, people are quick to either remind me of the “you’ll meet him at the right time” encouragement or they’ll try to do a setup.  Neither of which are helpful or wanted.  I don’t get to share the holiday moments with a husband or kids. I don’t get to make memories and create traditions.  I love my family, don’t get me wrong, but I want more. I always have. I want to be married and have the inconvenience of choosing who to spend holidays with. I want the hassle of preparing my own house for the holidays. Holidays for me at some point remind me of my lack.

And yet, it doesn’t quite end there. While everyone talks of careers and time off, retirement and tenured, I struggle with debt that is suffocating and sucking the life out of me. I get frustrated with the holidays, especially Christmas, because in my heart I want to bless others and make people feel special, buy them what they need or want, yet wrestle with what I can actually do.  Between parties, gift exchanges, Christmas presents, meals to prepare, and even traveling, I fight with myself with what I can or should do, and yet wish I could do more. And of course, along with the question regarding my relationship status, I am also asked what I do for a living.  Well, I pretty much work my butt off for just above minimum wage so I can pay off debt that I got for two degrees yet am not getting hired by anyone to actually use. Its a frustrating, sometimes infuriating, place to be in when I don’t have an answer to that question. What I do have is the knowledge that I’ve been rejected by hundreds of jobs while working multiple/overlapping part-time jobs, not using my degrees, and yet still struggling to make ends meet. Struggling with needing and desperately wanting a job that is utterly fulfilling doing what I was born to do.

What I realized, and have been processing, over the past 24 hours, is that life is just really really hard sometimes and there isn’t always a solution or formula.  Sometimes, we just get knocked down over and again. For the past year especially I have felt like I can’t catch my breath. I looked up previous posts and saw that I wrote 3 other posts regarding car and financial issues in the past year, with this being part of the 4th. (Previous posts: Shattered Lights and Black Ice, Cracked Windshield, The Life I want)  You see, last night while driving home from dinner at my sister’s, my car decided to die rather rapidly in the middle of the unlit road as I was going 45mph. As my car died in the “suicide” lane, I sat in my car fighting tears and the desire to just yell as loud as possible. I sat, with my hazard lights flashing, in the darkness of the road just angry and lost. The moments before my car died, I was praying for breakthrough in areas of my life…those frustrations written just earlier in this post. I was praying specifically for God to grant favor financially for me. I feel like I’m busting my butt but not getting anywhere. I also was praying to God and telling him (rather honestly) how I am sick of being single (let’s be clear: I’m not desperate, I desire marriage- there is a BIG difference). I was telling God how lonely the holidays can be and how it’d be nice for that area of my life to change. I know that may sound stupid, but sometimes, we need to be honest with ourselves and with God about our wants and our needs.

Last night, I had wants, but definitely had needs.

I sat in my car stuck…and angry. I was angry even though my sister, brother-in-law, neighbor’s father, and my dad, showed up and towed my dead Jeep out of the darkness of the middle of the road. I sat angry at yet another financial thing that I knew I couldn’t pay. I sat angry that I just can’t seem to win. For a moment, I almost wished someone hit my car enough just so insurance could take of it. You see…desperation can make us crazy, but that desperation should still be towards Jesus. In all of my anger and frustration, my tears and my yelling (yes I was yelling at God rather angrily last night too), God was not offended nor was he absent. He created us with emotions- to feel things. But regardless of what we face in life, we need to turn to Jesus. He is not offended by our anger or our sadness, our bitterness or burdens, our brokenness or our weakness. He loves us tremendously and wants us to come to him as we are.

When I got home and into the silence of my bedroom, I broke down. Weeping. Angry. Upset. Broken. Frustrated. Lost. Everything all in one. I was mad at God for everything- my job situation, my finances, my job rejections, my singleness, and more.  I went into work this morning still frustrated and mad. Still broken and lost. But as I continued to silently pray, my attitude started to slowly shift.  My situation hasn’t really changed too much from last night. Yes, I got my car fixed and the finances of it were worked out. But I still have the same other things- the things I was praying about in the moments before my car died. And yet…I still serve the same God who has provided for me before, who has kept me from things not out of anger or overprotection, but because he understands the things I cannot see. I still serve the same God who has proven his love over and over again. I may be struggling and dealing with my own needs and wants, but my God is with me. I am human and these emotions and wants and needs won’t just disappear. But God is unwaveringly faithful. For that, I can and will thankful.  I serve a God who wants me to bring him my desires and wants, and trust him with them, even if my timing or outcome isn’t as I see fit. If I believe he is who he says he is, than my weariness can be lifted and my head held high on that simple fact.

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A simple prayer.

This is a prayer written that I just find to be truth in my relationship with God. Thought I’d share with you:

God, Jesus, my all…

There is so much to say, but where to begin? Where do I start to bring thanks for all you have done? Love unconditionally poured out. Yet often I have betrayed your love so pure. You offered me Eden; I chose my way. But you brought me back. Clothed in righteousness, you gave me your entire heart. So many times I have been like Gomer, prostituting my heart to other things.  You have always been faithful. You never gave up. You bought me out of my sin- freedom and liberty were my ransom.  For this I could never thank you enough. Until the day I die, I will not cease to return to you in my mistakes, failures, sin. You loved me in spite of my sin. How can I not love you back? How can I not be forever grateful for my life redeemed of sin and shame. Like the woman at your feet, I weep. Much I have been forgiven. I am yours. Now and forever, you are my all. You are my life. My healer. Redeemer. Deliverer. In my sin and weakness, your love is perfected and I am made strong. So much regard to all you have done, here is the beginning of my life of thanks and gratitude. I love you.                                                                 

Your Bride, Beloved…
…Me 

Flame.

CONSUME. OUR HEARTS. FOR YOU, LET US BURN. AT THE ALTAR, LET US SACRIFICE ALL WE ARE FOR ALL WE CAN BE. LET US BURN FOR YOU. SET OUR HEARTS AFLAME IN PASSIONATE LOVE FOR YOU. COME BAPTIZE US. BAPTIZE US WITH A FIRE THAT CANNOT BE SHUT INSIDE. INSTEAD RELEASE THIS CONFLAGRATION OF GLORY.  CONSUMING FIRE, BE OUR HEARTS’ DESIRE. REFINE US. AS GOLD IS TO FIRE, REFINE US. REMOVE THE IMPURITY. REFINE US. CONSUME US. LET NOTHING QUENCH THIS FLAME WITHIN OUR HEARTS. LET US BURN FOR YOU, O GOD CONSUME US WITH YOUR LOVE. LIVING FLAME OF LOVE. CONSUME US.

heart cry.

take this girl. lost and empty. confused. shattered. waiting. but more than anything, ready. ready for change. ready to move on. ready to be fully alive. awake. all that she is, there is a yearning for more. beyond the normal. beyond the common. beyond. like a nazarite, she is moved by conviction and purpose. it rests within her. it separates her. she is different. even outcasted. looking through the window at the rest, she sits waiting. there is purpose. but in all, there can be no compromise. compromise would be failure. there can be nothing holding her back. her life is not her own. instead it is full of destiny- purpose beyond herself. to bring rescue. to bring beauty. to bring life. more than anything to be pure. compromise is not an option. it can’t be. too much rests on being faithful and true. living like the nazarite fully devoted to the calling at hand. up ahead there is so much. a job. a career. a family. a husband. a child. a country. a destiny. a promise. a calling. conviction is what holds her together and keeps her to her word. conviction is what drives her to actually see through true eyes and lead her to what is ahead. conviction is what leads her to purpose and keeps her moving forward. the heart cry of this girl waits for the beautiful collision of brokenness with beauty, humanity with glory, sacrifice with conviction, and calling with destiny.

not of me.

the nations tremble. let me shake. your glory falls down. now. all over me. i feel it. shaking. lets us be moved for you. let us be shaken by your glory. let us fall before you. humble and broken. broken. broken. break me. God desperately i ask that you shatter my world. shake up my world. let it come. let it come. let it come. Yahweh meet us. even if we only see your back, let us see. let us have but a glimpse of your glory. of your beauty. let love and mercy rain on us. let your justice move us. awaken our hearts. move us to you. in a whisper. in a storm. in pain. sorrow. move us to you. holy. you are holy. touch the coal to our hearts, our minds. bring us in. bring us in. break us Abba. take our selfishness and kill it. on the altar, let us die and rise again in power. we consecrate our lives. we circumcise our hearts, our minds before you. we cannot move forward and remain the same. we have met Yahweh and we are no more. we are in Christ. we are no longer bound to our past. no longer held captive by our sin. we are free. let us move to the nations in the glorious liberty we have. let us never stop but by death. nothing less. let us live our every breath for you. relentlessly.