This post is not an easy, clean-cut one. But in the last few weeks, I have been able to see that life is not that way either. In the words of one of my mentors, “It’s okay, Em. Life is messy, and sometimes things don’t go the way we plan. Now it’s on to the next thing.”
My time in Colorado has been cut short. I don’t want to get into all the details of why I’m no longer there. I honestly haven’t been able to process all of it. It’s hard and blurry, and I’m just not there yet. My hope is that typing out this post will help me process some.
I have gone home to Iberia, Missouri to heal, recover, and rest before the school year begins in August. I’m excited for this season. I hope to be renewed in these next couple of months. I think this time will be a blessing, and will help me in the long run.
It took me a while to obtain this mindset. Honestly, I’ve went through a number of emotions in the last few weeks. This post was originally entitled, “Get Angry.” Most of my feelings have been anger. There have also been lots of tears, guilt, sadness, gratefulness, some laughter at weird moments, and tons and tons of prayer through it all. Angry prayers, joyful prayers, sad prayers, all of it. I have been wrecked.
I want to emphasize that I believe all of these emotions are okay for a time. God is big. He can handle our mere human emotions. But I can’t dwell on them any longer. God is also so big that he has the power to free me from these things.
My time in Colorado was not ideal. It was honestly pretty crappy. (Sorry, that was the best way I could describe it). On the other hand, another word I’ve used to describe it is valuable. As hard as it has been, I don’t think I would change a single part of it.
God taught me a lot on that mountain. I experienced some valleys of darkness, but I was still on a mountain. God was there through it all, and I knew it because sometimes it felt as if he was all I had. He gave me everything I ever needed. (Even when it wasn’t what I wanted). He was faithful, and he spoke to me and delivered me in my distress.
Ironically, I began my time in Colorado reading through the book of Esther. I read how God delivered his people, and stayed faithful and present in all that Esther faced. It was so encouraging, and I don’t think I realized how I would soon experience this for myself.
The majority of my time there I read through the book of Job. God is funny that way. It was both the worst book to read while I was there, and the best. I felt similar to Job in that God was refining me, stripping me of everything but him. I clung to him so closely in that time because he was all I had, and all I needed.
There’s a great song that I believe sums up the book of Job pretty well. It’s entitled Where Were You by Ghost Ship. I encourage you to give it a listen if you’d like. The song describes God’s response to Job. This is how it ends,
“I spoke of things I did not understand,
things too wonderful for me.
Although I had no right to ask,
my God knelt and answered me.”
I listened to this song a whole lot through my time in Colorado. It calmed me down. It reminded me that God never asked me to bear those burdens. Rather, he answers me in spite of them. Those burdens are his because he cares for me. They are out of my hands, but they are still at his feet. I learned that God is always, always seated on His throne, reigning on our behalf.
I began reading The Good and Beautiful God by James Bryan Smith in Colorado as well. (You have tons of time to read with no cell phone service). It’s a good one, and I highly recommend it. This quote is one of my favorites from the book,
“Christ in me” means Christ bearing me along from within, Christ the motive power that carries me on, Christ giving my whole life a wonderful poise and lift, and turning every burden into wings . . . not as something you have to bear but as something by which you are borne.”
God definitely gave me what I needed. He carried me on, and turned my burden into wings. He delivers.
After finishing Job, I have begun reading and praying through the Psalms. God definitely equipped me to begin to pray these prayers he has given us. When I had no words to say, he gave me these songs of praise. He truly turns our mourning into singing.
So my heart is heavy after leaving Colorado, but it is also so full. I am so so grateful for those who have encouraged me, offered me wisdom, given me a listening ear, cried with me, prayed for me, and shown me Jesus through this.
He is the God who kneels, dries our tears, and answers us in our distress. For this, and so much more, I am grateful. When we are hurt by this world, weak and shaky, he teaches us to stand, and move on to the next thing.