Wait.

My friend and I decided that we wanted to see the glory of God more often. So we did what any red-blooded Christian does: we prayed. 

We saw nothing. We experienced nothing. We didn’t know what was wrong. 

Like I said earlier, I’ve been reading through the Psalms. Today, I stumbled across Psalm 19. 

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they reveal knowledge.They have no speech, they use no words; no sound is heard from them.Psalm 19:1-3

The reality is that God reveals His glory. Each day echoes His sovereignty. 

So we made a new plan. We bought jars and nice paper and decided that each day, we would write a different way we had seen God’s glory that day. Noticing the little things should lead us to bigger things. 

My first revelation of God’s glory was deeply personal. 

A few years ago, I made a bold statement to a guy I really cared about. He didn’t respond. I made the assumption that he was just mulling things over. I found out later he never cared. 

Nine months after I initiated the conversation, we finally spoke. He was cold and cruel but I got the answers I wanted. 

Up until today, I had looked back at that time as wasted space. It never made any sense why God had allowed that to happen. 

I broke down in tears this morning in church, overwhelmed with gratitude that God had made me wait. It taught me patience. It taught me how to respect a man’s space. It taught me what it means to be a woman who operates under grace. 

That displays God’s glory pretty vividly. 

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Psalm 8

I’ve been going through the Psalms, in no particular order, and today, I rested on Psalm 8.

O LORD, our Lord,how majestic is your name in all the earth!You have set your glory above the heavens.Out of the mouth of babies and infants,you have established strength because of your foes,to still the enemy and the avenger.When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,what is man that you are mindful of him,and the son of man that you care for him? Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor.You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet,all sheep and oxen,and also the beasts of the field,the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the seas.O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!

I used to be the type of person who went in guns-blazing. I was honest and bold to a fault. 

I told everyone what I thought. 

I was vulnerable with my time and energy.

I always told the guy how I felt. 

It wasn’t that I was brazen or cocky. I thought that God would always respond the way I thought He would. But nothing ever did work out the way I thought it would. 

I got chastised for being too honest.

The time and effort I put into things never produced fruit. 

The guy always said no.

It wasn’t until I got to this Psalm that I realized that I live paralyzed by fear. 

Because I forget God is mindful of me. 

The definition of mindful is “to be conscious or aware of something.”

God is conscious and aware of what I need, what I want. He answers prayers I don’t pray and blesses and takes away. 

He allowed people in my life who were hypercritical of me to teach me how to communicate with grace. 

He closed doors and stifed opportunities so that I would walk through the doors He willed.

Every guy who said no was a blessing in disguise. It saved me from committing to the wrong man, which for as loyal as I am, I definitely would have married the wrong man by now. 

The truth is I cannot say I serve God and accept only the good things as blessings. The bad things are meant to edify me too. I cannot live in fear of following the leading of the Holy Spirit because I am scared of what God will allow to happen in my life.  

What am I, that God should care of my comings and goings?

Enough. 

I called one of my best friends around 9:45 pm last night. Sobbing.

My heart hurt so bad that prayer wasn’t enough. I knew I needed a friend to speak truth into my life.

She listened to my laments quietly before responding.

“Jesus has got to be enough. He has to be.”

She was right.

***

A few years ago, I had a chance encounter with a woman with a background similar to mine. She was in her late 40’s, early 50’s, the wife of a church elder and a mother. She had been to counseling for the abuse she had endured and someone suggested I talked to her.

I was sharing my struggles with her when I said, “I just want to get to a place where I’m a whole person.”

She shook her head fiercely. “You won’t be whole this side of heaven. You’re just in the process of being made whole.”

She went on to say that even though it had been almost 3 decades since her abuse, she still struggled.  And she had found a man who loved her anyway. She had found someone who pointed her back to Jesus. She was a loving mother and had a successful career.

I saw what my life could be and I was relieved. Realizing that there was no pressure to be fully healed in order to have the life I wanted was the relief I needed.

***

My friend went on to tell me she reached a point where Jesus was enough. She had struggled with loneliness for such a long time when God finally asked her, Am I enough?

I sat there, listening, everything in me breaking. My heart was crushed. What if God made me wait longer? What if I just keep tripping over feelings and lost hope?

Will Jesus be enough?

***

I demanded an answer from God. I wasn’t interested in a sign or some prophetic message. I wanted Him to speak through His word. What was He doing in my life?

He showed me Genesis 32. In the story, Jacob makes his way back home when he gets word that Esau is headed his way. Jacob stole Esau’s inheritance so Jacob is sure Esau will kill him upon arrival.

 Save me, I pray, from the hand of my brother Esau, for I am afraid he will come and attack me, and also the mothers with their children. But you have said, ‘I will surely make you prosper and will make your descendants like the sand of the sea, which cannot be counted. – Genesis 32:11-12

Despite God’s promise, Jacob sends gifts to Esau to protect himself. Before he meets with Esau, Jacob wrestles with God and prevails. In Genesis 33, Esau greets Jacob with forgiveness and compassion. God honors the words He spoke in Jacob’s life.

Everything in me is terrified right now. I’m scared of giants I can’t see. But God is faithful.

***

I hung up the phone with my friend, her question ringing in my ears.

Is Jesus enough?

He is. He really is. He’s enough through every heartache, every disappointment, every lost dream. He is my greatest comforter. He knows me and loves me anyway. He’ll love me more than any husband or friend will.

He is enough.

Grace and other words

Sometimes, I wish I were different. I wish I were taller and thinner. I wish I had shinier hair and was more organized. I collect all the pieces I want to be and try to be them.

When I first got treatment for schizophrenia, I thought I could be whoever I wanted to be.

I could be self-composed. Organized. Proper. Unemotional.

I convinced myself for a year and a half that I was in fact the kind of girl that overflows with passion and cries over other people’s hurts. I pretended I wasn’t messy and I didn’t prefer to dress in oversized clothes because it’s just so dang comfortable.

I pretended that I didn’t hate the way God made me.

A friend told me recently that I’m one of the good ones. I’m one girl you can’t let get away. In the same day, I had someone tell me that I’m just some millennial who has to save the world. One person lifted me up and the other tore me down. I didn’t know what to do with that.

I think, for a lot of women, we’re told we’re not enough. I’m not even talking about the media. I’m talking daily life. We have friends that encourage us and others who do nothing but tell us what we’re doing wrong. And somehow, we’re stuck between self-love and self-deprecation.

It’s little wonder our Facebook statuses look like our words are shotguns and the Internet is our target.

Someone told me the other day I should  be orange, vibrant and bright. I scoffed at them. Maybe I’ll be blue, paint my words in green and laugh like pink. But most days, I’m red. I spray crimson paint and sign my name in scarlet. Red colors my tone and follows my walk. The other day, I saw I was slowly trailing yellow as I made my way around the room. I left yellow fingerprints on the door and cried yellow tears.  What do I do about red and yellow streaming liquid down my body?

I know several people who color their words with pity and shame. Well-meaning friends tell them why they’re wrong, why they’re causing problems.

They’re right. It’s just not very helpful. If it was, it would work. People would step away from the computer, dry their eyes and step forward into healing.

But it doesn’t work. They don’t stop.

They don’t need to hear they’re wrong. They need to hear how smart they are. They need to hear that you miss their laugh and their little quirks. That you miss the way they care so passionately about whatever it is they care so passionately about.

They need to know they’re loved. Wanted. Missed. They don’t need your advice or opinions.

We need your grace.