Sometimes you just have to shake the words free. Sit down and crack your knuckles, stretch out your back like a lynx and get to pounding the keys. I did that. A few weeks ago.
I came home with fire in my bones and a story to tell. A lot of stories.
It took 2 days. I wrote upwards of 14,000 words. That’s not a typo. Granted they’re not all great, or usable, or blog worthy, but they’re mine and they’re not tethered to me anymore. They’re set free on a page to do what they will.
Only after I wrote them, #Ferguson happened. And I wondered whether I should still tell them.
I sit on posts I’m not sure of. Sometimes I change my mind and shuffle them off as a cathartic journal entry. Other times I hit publish and go with my gut. I always pray for wisdom. But sometimes wisdom to hold your tongue and fear to say the wrong thing can look an awful lot alike. I don’t want to withhold words because of fear but I wondered if I’d be adding to noise or talking over voices that needed to be heard.
I wondered if the church gets so very loud sometimes when really we need to slow and listen and hear God’s heartbeat in things. Hear the thrum of the Holy Spirit whispering new life and Kingdom dreams and Gospel into our souls. So I prayed a lot, and cried, and wrote, and talked with close friends but mostly I went quiet with my ear tuned to heaven’s scripture.
So I’ve been seeking in my own way. Stumbling about in my small life and looking for the ways I need gospel to redirect my wandering path, my hell-bent heart that’s been rerouted but still stumbles so easily into the things of this world, the concerns and anxiety and fears and forgets that the first-sought things are always the best things. The Kingdom things.
I’ve been off social media for a bit after twitter streams and ranting comment boxes and news feeds ransacked my soul. I want to face this world’s injustices head on the way the gospel demands. New life, freedom for captives, reconciliation, forgiveness, grace-doused and delirious with God’s mercy but sometimes first we just need to weep with those who weep.
Sometimes lament is the only option we have. Sometimes we just need to repent for the myriad of ways we get it wrong.
Hope rises from the ashes but the mourning can’t be skipped.
The news keeps coming. Death and so much dying. Disease and pain and trauma and horror and the regular living of life and sometimes I want to tuck it all away and pretend it doesn’t exist.
Sometimes I rise up in faith as my legs slip from my covers and the sun greets me only to find myself tucked in with despair and anxiety as the day drifts on.
We’re having car trouble. We’re having there’s not enough money to fix this or that trouble. We’re having health problems. We’re having small faith syndrome. Sometimes I’m so tired.
I felt awhile back that God was telling me to seek beauty and foster community. I can’t tell you exactly how I hear from God but it’s usually one of two ways. I start noticing things and they start to show up everywhere. They look like woven things, words and pictures and confirmation, scraps of conversation that keep returning to a theme, scripture that keeps rebounding in my mind. It’s not unlike shopping for a car and then noticing that make and model everywhere.
Other times, it looks like a shot out of nowhere. An otherworldly, non-Alia kind of thought, fresh out of character from my normal thinking. The kind where I open my mouth to share what’s on my heart and those closest to me cock their heads to the side and say, “YOU want to do what?” Those times usually unsettle me a bit and I often fight them. I’m never enough to get them done. I always end up on my knees asking God to please for his sake (and mine) make this work out.
And maybe that’s just how it should be. Maybe I need to live in that space more. Maybe cars breaking down and health issues and weakness are just one more chance to say I get it, I need you, God.
So this beauty-seeking and fostering community was a non-Alia kind of thought. Especially as it relates to my introverted-stick-to-myself sort of ways. I’m a bit of a flibbertigibbet. Not flighty exactly but certainly not prone to follow through or initiate things on a big scale. But this wouldn’t shake free and I opened my mouth before I had a chance to take it all back. Went ahead and got myself committed to hosting an event for the women at my church. To foster community. To bring beauty and connect. There are a lot of needs there. I feel them on Sunday mornings, in the women around me, inside of me. I think God wants to meet them.
I think he wants to remind us that we belong to each other. We are Kingdom come.
I felt God close that night, in the middle of it all. I don’t know what will come of it but I know the stories told and the lives touched matter. I know God uses the least likely people to get things done and I often feel like he picks me for things way above my pay grade. Things that will make it very clear it’s all Him and not me.
It stretched me and wore me out and filled me up. I long for the kind of exhaustion that comes on nights when my body aches and my mind is exhausted but my soul is fulfilled because rest comes easy after obedience. It doesn’t take away the hard but it brings peace into the mess. And I need peace in my soul these days.