Tuesday, September 11, 2012

in the boat.

"For people swear by something greater than themselves, and in all their disputes an oath is final for confirmation. So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever"
Hebrews 6:16-20

Somedays....you just need to stay in the boat. Stay inside. Stay in bed. Just stay and be. candles are usually necessary in this situation. possibly pride and prejudice (simply because Jane Austen helps spur the processing parts of life on). There are simply seasons where you need to re-group. reflect. renew. 

I had someone ask me the other day what I had been doing all summer. At the time I couldn't really put into words what I had been doing all summer. You see...I have been in the boat all summer. Sometimes a literal boat, and other times a metaphorical one. 

This summer marked the beginning of another new season. I moved to a different neighborhood, and was coming of out of being tossed about by a rather difficult semester. The spring semester of grad school shook me, and left me feeling raw and open to the elements. I felt lost at sea. So many things changed and happened that semester. Jobs changed, community groups disbanded, friends were having babies, I went to Uganda and back, and my work load at school was so immense that many times I felt lost at sea. The hours alone reading books and writing papers and having my faith challenged to its core caused me to find myself in coffee shops alone for a large portion of my time. Then the task of finding a niche in a new community of people who didn't know me or my story all while trying to maintain sanity became exhausting. 

Then summer blew in with its longer days and stifling temperatures. I knew the longer days were giving me time to rest more and love more and fit more into my days. At the beginning of the summer I had this nagging feeling that the Lord was beckoning me to revisit old wounds I had not yet let him fully heal. So with much trepidation and gnashing of teeth I allowed a dear friend to walk me through old pains that were still weighing me down. The refining process....is never easy..but is typically filled with hurt and scrubbing and longing for the simple days where you were blissfully unaware of the pain that existed in the world. I am learning more and more that there is beauty in the process. There is beauty in finding comfort in your own skin and your own life. 

So I cooked delicious meals and devoured them almost giddily--all the while doing it alone and reveling in watching favorite movies. I said no to things that genuinely scared me and said yes to things that might stretch me. I had fun photographing my food and sharing it with others. I figured out the reason I love sharing pictures of my food---good food is meant to be shared---and in this season where there is not always someone to share it with--well I share it in a different way with anyone who is kind enough to look at my picture and take the time to encourage me in something I love. I held, and rocked, and cuddled, and giggled with others babies so their marriages stayed strong. All the while silently praying and wishing that one day it would be my turn, but knowing that right now I lacked no good thing. 

So when asked what I had been doing all summer....what I really wanted to say was that I had been spending a lot of time with me and the One who knows me best. While hours alone, turing down dinner invitations, and staying in may not be the swiftest way to make new acquaintances or meet someone to share all of my fabulous cooking with it is sometimes incredibly needed and incredibly sweet. 

Little did I know that the Lord was reviving and refreshing me for a whole new set of challenges this semester. He knew that this summer I needed to know beyond a shadow of a doubt that He is the good one, the perfect one, and the true lover and restorer of my soul. If you are coming out of a season of stress and pain and hurt and insane busyness....I beg you. Stay in the boat. If you are terrified on the inter-tube---well then get the heck off and stay in the boat! If you want to make a fabulous meal for your self---then take yourself to Whole Foods and spend $9 on tomatoes and good cheese and enjoy. I learned this summer that this life is already filled with enough darkness and heartbreak and loss to sink a boat. But He is our anchor. He is our ever present help. Cling to Him. Bend low and share this with others. So whenever we can let's choose joy and beauty and laughter and share that with those around you. 

Here is a quick view of my summer with the One who will always call me by name and whisper beloved. 

My Goodness. Life is beautiful.