Boxes

If you told me 375 days ago when my family ended their journey from California to Georgia, that God was going to slow our pace down to snails speed and everyday was going to be about identity finding, I wouldn’t have believed you. I would have kindly received your words, pushed them aside in my mind, stuffing them into that place where you put random things people tell you that you either don’t want to believe or you have no grid to understand.

Yet here we are. Here I am once again wrought with realization of the depths in which identity has eluded me all these years.

I am a fan of emotional boxes, or as most people say compartmentalizing, one could even call it rules. I love the emotional feeling of safe lines drawn into the ground of life. Those lines act like a guide of so many things, they reveal right and wrong, good and not good, safe and not safe. They tell me how to act, what to think, and how to know if I am doing a good job. Guess saying I am a fan could be an understatement, I am more of a devotee. Allowing these lines that make up the boxes to shape my ability to know whether or not I am succeeding in life, giving me the peace I need to know that I am doing a good job. And here, this morning, I am finding that, to actually be a predicament. I am realizing I am not the one whose hand has been using the marker to draw these lines that make up the boxes. As a collector of people, of friends, of environments, of community’s, it has been incredibly easy for me to let the environment be the hand which holds the marker which draws the boxes. They have been the artists who have drawn the line of the construct of my boxes, yet here, now I find that very uncomfortable.

This discomfort has left me in a tailspin. A healthy plunging at a high rate in which all the lines of my boxes are becoming blurry. I can see where I have have stood with simple acceptance, pleasurably relishing in the peace and safety of not being the artist holding the marker making the construct of the box. The pressure of discomfort is causing me to question the authority I have given the lines, to ponder why I so easily and pleasurably allow other artists to be the line makers of my boxes.

As my eyes and heart searched for answers this morning, I found myself again taken back to my identity. Have you ever met someone who just kind of knows who they are. Making decisions about what they like and don’t like comes easy to them. Having deep conversations about what they think, agree with, don’t agree seems uncomplicated and straightforward. I have always been envious of those people. It’s like they were born with the marker in their hands and they have always known it, and known how to draw with it. The only predicament they might get in is if someone comes along and raises enough reason for them to maybe change a line here or there, and then just as simply as they made the first line, they erase and re-draw. I have not ever been one of those people. I was born acutely aware of my surroundings and the people in them susceptible to the construct of their boxes made up by the markers in their hands. It is consistently easier for me to lean into my surroundings and use those lines instead of finding my own. You see using the marker placed in your hand, is discovering yourself. It is thinking and deep conversing with the one who dreamed of you about callings, beliefs, values, and temperament. The lines are conversation pieces of you, they are things to lean into when to make sure you are doing a good job. They are the boundaries that help define you. If I don’t know what those lines should be within my heart, if I am not the hand making the marks, then I am just a leaning into the lines of others, using their constructs to measure myself by.

This morning I was overcome with insecurity. Overwhelmed by the blurred lines I am finding in this tailspin so I threw myself at the Lord in worship, pouring out to Him all the insecurity like oil at his feet. He pulled me into his chest quickly, His arms wrapped around me, and his breaths began to breathe me in. That wasn’t what my humanity wanted though, I wanted a box checked, a you’re doing good, or doing bad, so I began whispering what I thought would be my transgressions, reminding Him of the boxes and how I am possibly failing, subconsciously begging him to rebuke me, to check a box, and remove me from His chest. In response I hear:

“You know I love how you live all out for me. How you lay bare all that you are for me. How you face every discomfort and hard thing just to be close to me. My heart can trust you to come to me open and vulnerable. Do you even know how much I love you?”

And I am done….there is nothing I can say…..not that I don’t protest because I really want him to check a box, to tell me good or bad but he doesn’t. He doesn’t even acknowledge my list in our conversation. He simply takes me back to where it all begins, to love, to identity. He neither said yes or no to my list of possible transgressions, instead He took me back to who I am, firm in His stance of love. A person who loves with all that she is. Who lives all out for the Lord. Who faces the hard things of life to be close to him. I stood taller when I leaned up from His chest, not because I had answers but because I a grabbed a piece of myself. I picked up a marker in my hand, and placed my hand in his and together we drew a line to form a box.

The invitation is made, the gesture of his words stating all that I will need in this journey. The promise that this uncomfortable tailspin is the promise that in this life, He wants to be the one who holds my hand as we make the marker lines of my box construct. Please don’t hear any devaluing of people, their constructs, or community. Please don’t hear any disrespect of authority, leadership or the voice of those with wisdom beyond me. That is not what I am preaching. Those people and community, those words, they hold value beyond compare. I believe in the body of Christ. I am coming to believe even more they should be used as a way to sharpen who you are, like a blade upon a sharpener. You have to know who you are, what YOUR construct is before you can be sharpened by another. If not I am afraid what I am seeing, is that you just replace one construct for another, easily tossed around by the beliefs and constructs of others.

I am a lover of boxes and although in the desperate pressing tailspin of blurred former lines, I am finding my love for markers.

Radio Silence

Whew!

It’s the best descriptive word I can use to describe what the last 3 months have been like.  My mom moved back down to Southern California, Charles and I sold our house, moved our stuff into storage and in with friends who become more like family then ever, and then moved again into the place we have now.

Just writing it out is exhausting.

We are here though.  We are slowly settling into our new home.  A home I believe God has given us for rest.  A place to heal, to recover, and to understand the past 5 years.

In 9 days, it will be 9 months since, we said our goodbye to KG.  This time last year, we knew death was upon us and we started to change our mindset.  We believed we had a year so we set out to make that time the best it could be.  What we didn’t know was that we only had 3 months.  We had Thanksgiving, Birthday Party, Christmas, and then Goodbye.  I am not sure what the next 3 months are going to hold.  I don’t know how hard the 9 month mark is going to hit my heart, or what 1 year will look like.

What I do know, is as life is slowing down and there are more days marked off the calendar then aren’t, my heart misses her more.  The tight grip I held onto to keep moving, is slowly loosening, and upon me will be a season of crumbling into this beautiful healthy mess of a soul.

And around me will be the most beautiful Father and the most gracious of community’s to lift me up and hold our family tight in this season.

Sunflowers

I used to love Sunflowers when I was in high school.  I couldn’t quite tell you back then what I loved about them, I just loved them. I loved how full of life they looked, how big they were, like bigger then life almost.  I  loved the way they made me feel.

You know what I learned yesterday, I learned that Sunflowers will turn towards the sun. They will physical turn their position so that they can have their face towards the sun. Okay so maybe not that extreme but they do exhibit a turning to track the sun.

I know you probably knew that.

It hit me though. Cause someone was telling me I reminded them of a sunflower and they actually had bought me a card with a sunflower on it because it reminded them of me.  And it made me think.

I thought about my life and some of the things I have gone through and I realized although I haven’t done it gracefully always, I have found a way to always turn myself to face the Son.  And somehow amazingly He has placed himself in a place where I can easily find him.

I thought about Katie Grace and this walk with her, and I could have.  I could have kept my face down and died. I could have shrunk and been swallowed up. But I didn’t. I don’t know why I didn’t to be honest. Why are there some of us who can just do it and some of us who are more tender in a way? There are some of us when tragedy hits, we just stop. We curl up and shrivel up and die in a way.

I don’t though. I don’t know why. I don’t know why this fight comes out in me. It’s like there is this drive inside of me that says “hell or high-water, I will live and I will live full of life.”  That drive somehow always turns me towards the Son.  If I really think about it, I think maybe I have always been this way. I have always been a fighter.

And maybe I am where my daughter gets in from. Maybe when I look into her precious eyes and see that sheer determination of life….maybe I am looking into my own eyes.  When I see her look at me, and she has this dead set look of my time has not yet come mom, so quit giving up. Maybe I am looking at a piece of myself that I forgot.  A piece that I forget on a daily basis.  A piece that maybe I should myself more credit for.

So maybe I should remember sunflowers more. Maybe I should remember I am not perfect by any means but I do always find a way to find the Son.  I find a way to make him be the light that helps me grow.

And maybe Katie Grace is the best that happened to me.  I would take her whole and new any day, however I am beyond grateful to have what I have with her.  I am beyond grateful to have a piece of heaven in my arms everyday. To be able to have a little being who reflects back to me how strong I really am.

Maybe it is nice to have another little sunflower tracking the Son with me.

 

 

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