I’ve written many unposted updates in my journal over the past few months. Silence has been what I’ve needed in recent months as I’ve begun to notice the gray all around me. What I thought was doubt in me a year ago, I believe was actually just humbling. It seems the older I get, the less I know! As Sarah Bessey says, I’m a recovering know-it-all. It’s good to listen more, proclaim less, be quick to love, slow to assume. I’m working on these things.
Last weekend I turned 25 and it was my first stateside birthday in a few years—due to having a summer birthday and also to having the inability to stay in the country for a full year. Two years ago I celebrated with my new Argentine friends at a surprise party my roommate threw for me. Last year I was sick from fasting and contemplating coming back home to America.
Time is funny with its ability to seem fat and thin from one day to the next. It has been a year since I turned in my resignation and slipped out of Argentina with rushed goodbyes and an aching chest.
Time feels its thinnest when I think about that. The memories and feelings are still so fresh that when my mind wanders back to that period it feels like embracing a gaunt, malnourished child, all brittle bones and sharp edges.
But the space in between then and now has been a rich and soft year, full of the gentle nursing I didn’t know I needed. The manna has been extra sweet to counteract the bitterness creeping upon me like sickness. I have feasted on the company of nearby family as well as new, nice, hysterical friends who have no idea how nice and hysterical they are.
Last month I went on a cruise with a group of friends from my church. While on the trip it occurred to me that I didn’t know any of these people this time last year. And here we were, vacationing together, investing money and days into life together. How could I have ever thought of coming back to America as punishment? How could I have ever doubted my purpose and place here?
These are fat times, friends.
I’m thankful for my fat times friends.
Lately I’ve been on a hunt to find my fit within the church. Both doctrinal issues as well as heartache over the actions of denominational leadership and personal acquaintances have prompted me to look outside of evangelicalism. But as I search my heart and meditate on the issues and my personal hangups, I realize an indelible truth: More important than a perfect theological or doctrinal alignment is an obedient heart. I don’t know where my personal convictions place me denominationally. But I do know that I want to be surrounded by folks who love God and love people. This is why Awaken will be my heart’s home in Charleston. It’s where I’m learning to love well and live freely. While I love the study of doctrine and theology, there’s freedom in keeping this healthy perspective: Our only beliefs that really matter are the ones that change how we live. The friends I’ve made there have been living reminders of this.
I guess if there’s a bottom line to this year, it’s that God’s medicine is grace in the form of people. I’ve been loved along the path to the high places. I’ll try to remember that next time I’m faced with big life change. Lean in to the fear as I venture into that desert. There’s overnight manna-grace raining down to fill my hungry soul. It’s on the way.
These are fat times, friends.