for change.

I don’t want to give it away, but…

north:south

Maybe that was too obvious. This is also true:

regret

Okay, okay…fine.
I’m not very good at the whole “keep them in suspense” thing.
I’ll just tell you what’s going on.

But for me to tell you, you need to click here.
{After all, this is the place where it all began…}

for promise keeping.

it’d been a strangely difficult day.

strangely in the sense that i can’t fully explain it, but for those of you who have followed my recent posts, you know it’s been a trying season at home.

so it was raining. like a melancholy drizzle of FREEZING that makes you so appreciate a hooded coat. i had planned to do laundry, read books, & journal, a true salute to a dreary Sunday.

but my plans are often thwarted, and then my sense of entitlement can creep up like a bad hair day and make me feel that i was robbed of all i had been promised. {but the truth is, these are only the things i’d hoped for.}

even still…burglarized. that’s the only way to describe how it felt.

so i’m driving down the familiar street i grew up on. not my own neighborhood, but a few streets north of my own, named Avalon. it’s the street my mom grew up on, mostly, running barefoot from house to house, chasing fireflies, building mud-pies, & getting accidentally drug behind an ice-cream truck. oh, the simpler days.

the naked tree limbs, beat-up from the harsh winter, arched over the street as i neared my grandma’s old house, where my dad currently lives, and the rain splattered across my windshield. i listened as the wind-shield wipers squeaked back and forth.

Image

then, almost out of nowhere, the song playing loudly through the speakers permeated my heart. and i broke.

just…sobs.

i clung to the tupperware full of lemon cake i was on a mission to deliver, and i felt God’s nearness and goodness as these words rang true:

Whisper my name, so only I can hear
Call to my heart, chase away my fears
Stand up in this place, fight for the one you love
Won’t you come surround me, so I can rise above

Explode my soul, let these walls come down
All these prison thoughts crumble with the sound
Of my deliverance from my enemies
I stand up beside you, let’s watch these giants flee

Let the silence be broken, and the winter be done
Will you come out of your hiding, kiss me sweet warm sun
Let the wind of your spirit blow the dust off my feet
I ran to you broken but now I am complete

Hello Promise Land, we’ve waited for so long
To see what we’ve believed in, to sing this Promise Land song
Explode my soul, explode with praise
What He promised is what He gave

sometimes it feels as though there is no greater fraud than a promise not kept. but the things i think i’ve been promised i actually have not. i have entitlement issues, and they are figments of my imagination. but the True promises have been kept, because the Lord of my life is a radical promise-keeper & He’s nearer to us than we ever could’ve hoped for.

for lifelong struggles. {part two}

i just awoke from a dream {nightmare?}-filled nap that made me bitter & angry, only to find out i’d over-slept my alarm for church, which i’d already halfway decided i wasn’t going to, because my parasite-killing medicine is kickin’ my butt.

this can only mean one thing: soup, a shower, some reading/journaling, a new song, & back to bed. {okay, that’s five things, but you get the idea.}

i’m realizing how very real “seasonal depression” is, but for me, it happens less often in the darker, gloomier season of winter, and more often in the trivial times, where odds are that odds aren’t in my favor. what i’m realizing, though, as i journal about my depression and really delve into the roots of it, acting like my own psychologist, is how depression results in the most frigid, real forms of narcicism as i think about myself and my profound “problems” all of the damn time. satan has a way of reversing what God told us to do, which is to leave our heart’s in an outward-focused posture. instead, while i try to pray for others and help meet their needs, i fall short, because the agenda is really fixed on self.

does that make any sense?

part of me doesn’t think it’s a half-bad thing, to learn how to love ourselves well, tend to ourselves, our hopes, dreams, fears, etc., and really exfoliate our hearts, in order to leave them really soft and new.

but that’s not what’s happened here, no.

i’ve always been a firm believer in taking time for yourself daily. whether by exercising, taking a walk, reading a book, baking some cookies and eating one {or three}, or whatever…know that you’re worth at least 30 minutes of your own time.

but is time really ours?
yes and no.

God stands outside of time, and yet He gives us 24 hours in a day, for a fixed number of unbeknownst years, and tells us to live life to the full, mostly, while seeing and thinking of others as ourselves.

someone wise who i completely trust once asked me if she had permission to be 100% real.
i said yes.
“you’ve not only taken yourself off of the map…but there is no longer a map in your life, suzy.”
that is what she told me.
and i was stunned with how much it stung & resonated in truth.

see, i’ve ceased to love others as myself because i’ve ceased to love myself. instead, i’ve forgotten the profound importance of “being my own, before i can be another’s”. i’ve violently shifted my focus inward, which has inevitably only made me more bitter and angry and judgmental and wasteful of my time and  casting blame.

“this isn’t my problem, so i’m not going to do anything about it.”
“what on earth is WRONG with that person?”
“i can’t believe that girl is crying in public…”
“doctors are out to get me, i swear.”
“would everyone just shut up!”

these are the honest thoughts in my mind. on a daily basis.
and they suck.

last night, i bawled my eyes out for a good hour before calming down and reminding myself to breathe. i miss Kenya and so many of the beautiful souls i met out in the world this past year. i miss traveling, living simply, not knowing what i was going to eat from day to day. i miss the laughter and smiles of children who know pure joy. we were served and loved so well, and i took that for granted. gosh, i wouldn’t trade those moments of freedom on the back of a motorbike, wind in my hair as i gaze up at the bluest sky, sailing down the red-dirt roads of the greenest country i know, for anything in the world.

kenya.

still, God is asking me to be content even now, even here.
He’s asking me to “learn to love the skies i’m under”, regardless of what they look like.
the best blue with cotton-ball clouds. OR grey and bleak and chilling. He created both.

skies

i don’t fully understand what this could look like, as i’m still learning. perhaps it means being content, in feast or fallow. in plenty or in little. rich in spirit or poor in spirit. it reminds me of the song that goes like this:

“when the fields are dry, and the winter is long
blessed are the meek, the hungry, the poor
when my soul is downcast, and my voice has no song
for mercy, for comfort, i wait on the Lord

in the harvest feast of the fallow ground
my certain hope is in Jesus found
my lot, my cup, my portion sure
whatever comes, we shall endure
whatever comes, we shall endure”

& with that, i declare Monday shall greet me with open arms. & I’ll greet it with a kiss on the cheek. & I’ll say to God, “hey, thanks for trusting me with another day, & mostly for making all things new. i’m going to make it joyful & triumphant.”

{to be continued…}