Out of the Shire

I sat. Waiting for revelation. My journal laid open to the first page – crisp and eager. New journals are hopeful things. They are the promise of the life to come. They are the anticipation of what  stories will fill their pages; what twists will occur in the plot. They are the confidence of learning more, discovering more, fulfilling more.

My old journal has enough blank pages left to last at least a few more days, but they will remain blank. I gave my Momma a new journal for Mother’s Day. I had bought it because it had Audrey Hepburn on the front and quotes from Breakfast at Tiffany’s plastered all over the inside – very iconically Momma. It turns out her old one was nearly empty, which worked out nicely and made me appear to be more thoughtful and attentive than I actually was. I came into the kitchen the next morning to find her doing a Bible study and writing in the new journal. I asked her if she’d filled the old one already.

“No,” she looked at me, “sometimes you just know it’s time to start a new journal.”

I opened my old journal this morning – used it even, I wrote two half-hearted sentences of hungry reflection on Psalm 52 – then I closed it, still hungry, and went through my morning. The hunger gnawed, and I ignored it as I muddled through my algebra.I ignored it as I made meticulous plans for the rest of the week. I ignored it as I gave up on looking presentable. I ignored it until my parents called. We had a good conversation – a loving conversation – a godly conversation – a guiding conversation – but a conversation that left me to make decisions.

I finished highschoool (mostly) a few weeks ago. My diploma acted as a forced ticket to being adult. I suddenly have to budget time and money and other resources. I suddenly have to make daily decisions that have implications beyond myself. I still live at home and my parents still feed me and whatnot. It’s not like I’ve been thrown into the world with nothing, but the clothes on my back. This really isn’t such a dramatic change. But, it is. Life is not what it was. It’s not worse. It’s just different. So very different.

And my phone conversation with my parents finalized in my being what I had known in some distant part of me for weeks – this is not the same and will never again be the same.

That is life though – “not the same.” Today and yesterday are completely different situations, different relationships, different processing, different knowledge. That’s a good thing. “Not the same” is a concept worthy of praise. It is a manifestation of being continually formed – continually brought closer to who I was created to be, continually becoming more free. This is merely a new season – a good thing.

The hungry me, however, was fearful. New things require me to trust in God, who knows. New things mean I can no longer depend on my own strength because it is insufficient. New things mean I can no longer depend on my old maps because this land is uncharted. I hung up the phone, wiped a single tear from my eye, and said out loud, “I do not want to trust you.”

My conversation with Momma and Daddy was that step- the farthest I’ve ever been. And yet, each step is just that – the farthest I’ve ever been. It scraped the bottom of my empty self and echoed through all of me and I had to trust and I was afraid. And in my fear, I ran.

I took a nap. I wasted as much time as I could. And when I couldn’t stand that still resounding echo any longer, I searched to be filled. I tried coffee and chocolate first because they don’t require trust. And when they didn’t fix the echo, and, in fact, magnified its cry, I simply slumped down and plugged my ears. And when plugging my ears merely muffled the sound, I accepted the sound and became Eeyore, joining the echo with a refrain of “woe is me.”

I got on Facebook, because Facebook is splendid for wasting time and splendid fodder for self-pity. And God laughed that I thought I could escape from his love by becoming Eeyore and drowning myself in Facebook. My friend Brittany had posted a note about being still and knowing God is God. About listening and reveling in the bittersweet that flows out of you as the silence sets in. Author, Ann Voskamp posted a link to her blog post for the day, which said this

“Standing out there in the garden,
all the spinach leaves offered up like bunches of bouquets
there at her feet, she listened for the quiet.
The corn grew in straight rows.
The apple blossoms made promises.
The irises unfolded bold hope.
Roots would wait for rain.
Seeds would be faithful to soil.
The weary would wait on God.
The waiting would be unwaveringly faithful to the Word.”

And the words of that post found their way inside of me and woke up the life-filled person that I am. And I became excited. The new became apple-blossom promises. I saw the need for trust as deepening relationship. I saw the need for trust as God’s love calling out for me to join him. I scoffed at my depressed self and scrambled out of the pit I had dug for myself. I ran as fast as I could into the arms of my Father and smiled at him and said, “I trust you. I trust your unfailing love.” And he smiled back. And the clanging echo turned to melody and the ravenous hunger turned to passionate longing and I was captivated and I was captivating and I was myself again.

I picked up my old journal and opened it – then closed it.
“No,” I thought, “sometimes you just know it’s time to start a new journal.” And new journals are hopeful things.

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One thought on “Out of the Shire

  1. Dear daughter, you bless my heart
    I was able to read your post aloud in the truck on our way to kbm. God used your words to minister to both of us as we continue to seek God’s face here, and wherever. I was asked to share a devotional before sessions this morning, and God had been teaching me about (again and again) abiding in His love. So I shared about that, and I used a portion of your writing because it so vividly displayed running to the home of the love of Christ. I love you so. Thank you for laying your life open so that God can have His way. Don’t ever stop doing that.

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