After so many difficult things in our lives we seem to stand in one place and stare at the earth spinning faster and faster away from us and all we can ask is “where do we go from here?”
“what’s the next step?”
“can there be a Future?”
I suppose I’ve been asking those questions with a higher frequency lately. I’ve spent a profound amount of time letting my eyes wander over my own skin at night when I should be sleeping, memorizing the scars I’ve earned as of late, wandering if the scars on my soul will ever heal as well as the ones on my skin have. Those questions are the types of questions that keep me up at night, pacing and pacing, wishing that the number on the thermometer were higher so I could actually cover some ground in my contemplative prowl. I’ve always been a fan of walking fast enough so that my body can keep up with my brain.
Where do I go from here?
These questions plague me and I sit at the altar of God (also known as the drivers seat of my car) and I ask what could have been avoided and how much worse things could have been. Full people tell me that I am free and that I am still beautiful, and I wonder if they knew the details, the details I don’t even tell myself, if they would still be able to say that. I wonder how conditional their forgiveness is. I wonder when or if they will someday hold it over my head.
I remember the first time I ever heard the words “You are absolved of your sins. Your record has been made clean. You are free.” I was at a youth conference up in the Rockies and after a led time of confession and repentance, the speaker verbalized the change that we were supposed to have felt.
And I was floored.
I was left crying and in awe, because for the first time in my life, I actually felt forgiven. They say that forgiveness is something given to you freely by God if you only put your faith in Him, but He had been a concrete wall I stopped trying to scale years ago but this verbal absolving showed me the door that had been in that wall all along. It was unlocked, too, with a sign that said ‘All Are Welcome’. I felt welcome.
Ever since then, I hadn’t been afraid to face God with my sins laid out clear on my forearms. He has never been late to removing that weight from my shoulders. But what I have yet to learn or understand is how any human can give that kind of love like He can.
I remember walking at night when I was younger and thinking that even the fireflies were avoiding me, thinking that I was far better suited to wear nothing on my head than that shimmering crown of flowers all the princesses wore in the books my parents read to me at night. I would ask God why the earth shook under my feet in a way that made people run from me instead of want to shake the earth with me. I saw so many women who were always one predictable shape and who fit neatly into the puzzle but no matter what I did, I could not stop from morphing between ‘uncomfortably too big’ and ‘far too small’.
But now that I am older I have realized and believed in a world that doesn’t need me one size, but that world is lonely and since coming back from South America I have felt like I once more don’t belong in the puzzle box I was placed in. I have felt like I was haphazardly picked up from behind the couch and thrown in with an image that I do not belong to.
God has been Good and Faithful and He has been speaking to me about the future in ways I don’t deserve to know, but I am still too afraid to ask Him questions. I am still too afraid that if I try to engage in conversation with Him versus just listening to Him speak, He will turn into that concrete wall that towered over me for years. He is not that wall. I know that. I have known that. I will continue to know that. But the human spirit is not impermeable to doubt and I have been known to find great success in the ways of being a lost cause.
When I read His Word and see words like “all” and “my people” I still have that little voice inside that says “except you”. I am grown enough to know to challenge it, to tell it to speak only when spoken to, to realize that voice is not someone led by truth but rather by lies, but I can’t help but wonder if anybody else hears it, or just me.
Do you hear it?
Do you hear me?
Why do I still desire to be heard?
There is a new smell on the winds of the days to come, and I greatly look forward to falling headfirst into that storm. I have no doubt it will be positively electrifying. I just know that I am probably more at risk than ever to believing the lies of my past. But perhaps in being aware of my susceptibility, my resistance is fortified. I am still taking things one day at a time, but it’s been month since I even considered giving myself an expiration date and for that I am thankful. Forgiveness will come and I will not run from goodness in this next season of my life and Jesus will continue to be inside of me versus just barely at arms reach. I believe that the voice of Doubt will get softer and I will more and more be opening my own mouth to speak and God will be there listening.