If we were on a coffee date, I would more than likely show you what my next tattoo is going to be. I have been thinking about it for months and asked my artist friend to draw me up a little something. He is so gifted, like those people you see on TV or read about in magazines or go to concerts..he is talented in that crazy way that boggles your mind and makes you wonder how the entirety of the world is not lined up at his door asking him to create them something beautiful and unique and amazing. This ink so black will soon be etched into my skin until death do us part; but once death do us, this ink and me, part, I will then be able to greet the honorary soul face to face. What a beautiful day that shall be.
If we were on a coffee date, I would share that I am struggling with fear. Fear was absent from my heart for 3 straight years, it seemed, and I believed I had conquered it like you conquer a spider that you step on with a shoe that you aren't wearing, because you don't want to chance it getting on your foot. And I don't mean fear of a spider itself, because I will never be away from that fear; I mean fear of actual humans and their opinions that weigh so heavy on my value itself, as though my value depends on their thoughts of me - but that's simply not true. I thought that fear was to never again touch the face of my soul, like I was immune to it, much like I thought I was immune to shingles and chicken pox which came back to haunt me twice over already. But no, I did not conquer fear and I don't believe that is humanly possible while living on earth. If it is, I think that we should stop sipping coffee and you should tell me right this instant how the heck you stopped fear from invading you and taking over your life and your mind, stopping it from writing itself on your heart over and over again. I mean, I have a few tricks here and there that involve submitting my heart to Jesus and reminding myself who He is and who I am with Him. In those moments, when I am wrapped up tight in His pure and perfect love, like a blanket swaddling an actual baby, I am free of fear and released of the tension that it brings. I need to let Him do more swaddling.
If we were on a coffee date, I would tell you that I have not been back from Europe even a week and yet it feels like a lifetime ago. I kid you not, did I even go or was that a dream? My biggest goal for my return, my reentry into this life I live, was to not crowd out my heart and soul and calendar with things and meetings and to do's. That I was going to spend more time with friends, building and investing in friendships, and that I was going to read more and pray more and sit in silence more and take a nap every once in awhile. But of course, the women's retreat is this weekend and lots of life is being lived and it takes more than one single thought and desire to snap yourself out of a life long engrained habit of BUSYNESS. So, I am back at it again. At trying to slow down and not clog my schedule like hair in the drain, and breathe a little bit and smell the roses. I mean really smelling the roses that are in the vase in my living room. I know, because I have certainly experienced it, that if I slow down and unclog the drain of my calendar, that God will bloom into the quiet space of my home and the shattered pieces of my heart and He will spread Himself like yeast in bread, leavening and changing me completely. Into something beautiful, because when He is involved, beauty just happens. Beauty is inevitable when God is involved.
If we were on a coffee date, I would unfold this magical truth that I have the best group of girls ever. I mean dang. They are glittery and shiny and all the things real and beautiful. They are honest and true, they are in middle and high school and I feel that if anymore of them join this thing, my heart might explode all over the place. We talk about things like Jesus and tampons and boyfriends and non-boyfriends and Bible reading and grief and loss and sadness and anger and love and joy and self image and so many things that I could list them forever in a long string of 'ands'. I would tell you that I love these girls, so much that I forfeit sleep to meet them at 6:30 or 7 am before school just to chat and wipe the sleep from our crusty swollen eyes together and read the Bible and pray but mostly just let each other know how wonderfully loved they are. I would tell you that I make time in my life for them and watch them play sports or sing songs in choir or blow into musical instruments or dance or act in theater; that they sort of have been moving into my heart for the last four years and they take up so much space in my heart, I didn't realize my heart was so big. But it has to be, if they are all in there, because they are loud and noisy and excited and full of just as many feely-feels as I am.
Here are a few of them:
If we were on a coffee date, I would honestly share that I have come to grips that I kind of suck at being a friend. And I desperately want to be better at it. True friendship, I am learning, is sacred and necessary and important..it is necessary to be whole and healthy and human because humans are fickle and we forget to focus on Jesus first sometimes and true friends point you that way. Even if its blunt and painful. True friendship happens when we fall into, or rather we bend our knees, into that deeper level of ourselves and we cross over the brokenness of who we are. Like my friends Bethany and Emily who have crossed over the most broken parts of me at my worst and remained patient and gentle and thoughtful and generous and so many loving selfless things. We are so fragile if we are honest, and when we allow someone to cross over that, releasing our need to appear perfect and whole, because let's be honest, we aren't, then we allow people to prove that they won't leave us just because we are human. I've come to realize how little I believe in my friends ability to extend grace and understanding. Friendship is an opportunity to be Jesus to someone, acting out God's love in tangible ways. Like my friend Jesse - the other day I called to update her on my life because its been actual ages since I have been able to do so...and she just loved me so well and loved me with grace and patience that I don't deserve. She represented God to me and reminded me who He was and I now have a more profound sense of God's love for me. So much so that after I hung up the phone, I started crying so hard in thanksgiving for such a friend as her.
If we were on a coffee date, I would tell you that I have a key board safe guard on my new computer and it is annoying and hard to get used to.
I would then ask you: how are you doing with your fears? Are you fearing anything or anyone? What makes you fear them? Is there a lie that you are believing about yourself? What is that lie? Can I remind you that you are fearfully and wonderfully made? That He sees you right this moment and says, "You are mine and I delight in you."
I would share with you this piece that has been etching itself into my heart, writing itself so that it becomes more obvious than the fears that tend to scream themselves at me:
"See, God has come to save me. I will trust in Him and not be afraid. The LORD GOD is my strength and my song; He has become my salvation." Isaiah 12:2
Fire away, my coffee date, how are you?
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This post was adopted by me from Amber at Mr Thomas And Me.