Saturday, March 23, 2013

In Which I Wrestle & Wait

A week ago life started singing outside my window so I slept with it open all night. I don't think I've slept quite like that in months. The sun kissed my face red after a day outside in the country with my adopted fam finishing my little [turned big] chicken house project from last year. It's almost done now and it was a project far to large for my own undertaking, joke's on me evidently!

Today rain and gloom linger and I feel a chill in the air. It's my dad's birthday and I don't quite know what to do with that. Oddly, all I can think about is wanting to hug him tight and for him to tell me it's all gunna be okay. I took a three hour nap and have no motivation to leave this bed. Nonetheless, the grass is gaining color and I am thankful for a resurrection glimpse.

Isn't it good news that the story doesn't end with the crucifixion?

We sang in church today and I wept like a baby. I tried to fight it, but by the time the offering song launched I was a goner. I think it was deep rooted in this weariness I've felt and the way I've depended on the idol too much in this trial. And then there is the trial itself. My applied for job count has topped out in the late twenties this week and my interviews thus far cap out at a whopping zero. It hasn't been the darkness of before, but it's lingered and weeks later I still haven't run the other way.

Why is that sometimes our wounds feel better oozing then they do all stitched up?

These days I look in the mirror and find disappointment in the faded blonde staring back at me. I haven't felt it in months and months but it feeds something of old. I find myself reaching into the back of the closet for the hoodies that cover up a few times too many and I wake up to the hum of relentless failure flowing ear to ear. There is something to be said for getting dressed up for work each day and with that gone--maybe I just need to pretend I have somewhere important to be?

I find myself making excuses to be places and moving my life to the week after next because I am just a little fragile right now and, well I don't even know why. Maybe something will click by then, though. I hope so. Surely I am not bound to a life of sweatpants just yet.

I hear the enemy loud. I open my Bible and the words just look a little blurry. I think it's a season we all know and the timing of it makes sense--tomorrow sums up my forty days of prayer and this last week I've felt the resistance.

But, God is speaking and I am dependent on hearing His voice.

Community around here really has sustained me. From random (rather large) checks taped to my windshield to people meeting me for the fist time only to discover I'm that one their whole family has been praying for these past weeks (which has happened more times then I can count on these fingers). All of my "adopted parents" both local and back home have been a constant flood of grace and wisdom in my life. My bible study friends have loved me well. Sweet ladies from church far more aged and faithful then I have come in close and looked me in the eyes while His words sunk deep. This is the testimony of His bride who have relentlessly pointed me back to He who is able.

And I think I forget it, when I don't see Him doing the abundantly more. I forget He is able. I forget faith is not seeing. I forget His ways are better too. Because let's face it, I have it all figured out stored away, just in case anyhow. 

"...the righteousness from God that depends on faith—that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, that by any means possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead." [Phil. 3:10-11]

I think He is letting some parts of me crumble off. Hammering away.

The fire is thick and blazing these days, and this whole dying thing is a dreadful process. But as I watch this tulip fan open into yellow budded bliss, I remember abundant life such as this requires a cost so great as death itself.

In this case, undeserved death on a cross which burst forth an impossible stone that He who is able might attain resurrection. And here He dwells in the fire with you and me, His spirit sustaining.

I'm not sure what this season is to result in, what He is trying to carve outa me.

So all I can say is such--by any means possible, Lord, by any means possible. 

Monday, March 11, 2013

On My Dad Coming Home & Learning to See Eternal

My dad is in the same town as me. It's been years since I've found myself here and I thought I was ready. I thought wrong. 

He came back from rehab about four months too soon but it sounds like my brother knew it would happen about now. My sister calls to tell me he is back just a day into my trip back home. My best friend birthed two boys and this kind of love always leaves me speechless. The week has been a blur of baby bliss and gazing starry eyed into these itty bitty faces, so perhaps that's why it's taken so long to get here--to begin wrestling with this odd reality. 

My hometown is big, a cluster of dots packed tight on the map. My whole life, he has lived an episode of my favorite sitcom away--at least. This time, he decides to live a stone's throw from my mom's house. With a buddy of his. Who also happens to be an alcoholic. In good company, why not have a sip--or two?

They tell me he's changed. That he is not the same man we grew up with. That it is for real this time. 

I feel my heart grow harder with each roll of these eyes as these words callouss my ears.

I've heard it all before. I really have. Even a couple years ago he "got saved" and sobered up for nearly a year. I remember he would call me almost daily that year. One night he listened to me rant about my roommates. And then he asked me how he could pray for them--and for me? I remember the silence that followed because I never thought I'd hear those words. I never thought he would care about much of anything beyond himself--especially me. Especially Jesus. 

He called every night that week just to tell me he had prayed. He told me to remember God was working and to be patient and trust Him. Trust is hard girl, I remember him explaining, you just have to remember it's more then what we see with our eyes. 

At twnety-two years old trust is the hardest. 

In life in general:  I have no idea where I will be living, what I will be doing, or where my provision will come from in the weeks and months to come. 

This man is minutes from my life here in this town. So I hold my breath walking into the local breakfast place with a friend because I just don't know what will happen if I see him. I don't know if I will run and hide or cuss him out and slap him across the cheek. And I sort of want to do both. 

A friend asks me why I'm stressed when I call her whining. Perhaps this job loss and financial burden with a side of no clue what is next, what city to live in, where to sign a lease for the fall, or what obedience even means at this point, I tell her. "Courtney, that shouldn't be stressful--it should be exciting!" she tells me, "Are you trusting the Lord?"

Well, no. No, I'm not. It's too hard. I can't. I already failed. 

I knew I would be a disappointment and sure enough both mom and granny have had a few things to say. And as these crazy women in my life make manipulative threats left and right, these wounds fester and inflame as my trust issues ooze to the cement surface.

I'm here seeping through these cracks and I blame you, dad. I still stinkin' blame you. 

I look at you and I see the sword that pierced deepest when you stripped off my covering of white. I see you giving up and not finishing something you started. I see you saying all of the right things to make up for the studpid ones that you have done. I see you living with an alcoholic because your son warned you he couldn't house you if you came home early. But you didn't think that through, did you? You just ran on back with the lust of your flesh a guide in the night. Maybe you're still sober. I hope you are. But as I listen to him telling me how you've changed--how you are not the man we grew up with, I just remember trust is hard. 

I want to shake you. I want to give you a piece of my mind. You think you can deceive him the way you have me? Those are my thoughts at the moment, dad.

It's more then what we see with our eyes, right? Trust is hard, man.

As I sit back in the shadow watching this new daddy gaze into his newborn sons' eyes, I just think you never looked at me like that. Not really. Your eyes never saw into eternity. You never offered your life for mine. You lived yours and let it suck up bits of mine along the way.

And it is hard. I still see you like that. And I don't trust you. 

See, the chasm you erected has made me hard and cracked. So when life thickens the cracks,  I want to crumble. And I don't trust you and it makes it so darn hard to trust the Lord. And I am blinded by these eyes of mine. These eyes that are so fixated on the seen and temporal ways of this world.

So dad, when the time comes and I see you around this town and I don't fall into your arms in rejoicing, well, you just have to know--

Trust is learning to see with eternal eyes and mine are focusing, but I might just need some time. 

So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. 
For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.    
                                                                   -2 Corinthians 4:18