We’re 84 hours, three practices, two games, and one grocery trip in. Hello 2017, so far I’ve been pretty happy to meet you.
I’m a little surprised, but I haven’t had a moment yet.
You know the one I’m talking about right?
The one where a small person needs a highly specified version of a black t-shirt? This child then yanks every other black t-shirt from the clean holding pile on the top shelf to the dirty dump pile on the floor, but mom I’ve looked everywhere and I can’t find it, so you stick your head in the top loader and fillet a wad of wet black shirts, none of them with the right letters, only to stick your hand in the front loader, wishing you’d grabbed an oven mitt, coming up empty again make your way to a tall basket boasting a stench that would put a Continental Soldier on the first ship back to Great Britain and at that exact moment, you learn a miracle unlike any other has taken place in the bedroom of this very child.
What was lost has been found.
What was wrong has been made right.
What was dead now has life.
The child has found his crumpled-up, inside-out shirt on the floor right underneath yesterday’s Reese wrapper and it wasn’t even under there the first time I looked, I promise!
!!Listen!! I haven’t had this kind of a moment all year.
What I have had is a couple of slower days to try ’17 on for size and I think she’s gonna fit.
The last few years have felt a little like my pinky toe is roasting on a spit over an open flame.
I mean one can function with a burned pinky toe if one thinks about it.
You simply make sure the toe is not actively on fire, slap some gauze around the seared flesh, dig up some sort of a clunky boot to give it room to swell and keep moving. Honestly, you can get along quite well even if your toe is roasted daily, it is kind of a hassle though to lug around a big boot and changing the dressing several times a day can be exhausting. While I’ve broken my little piggy so often I experience occasional electrical jolts that make him go wee, wee, wee, he’s never been burned to my knowledge.
Imagine what it would feel like, though, to nurse a raw toe day and night. It’s similar to the kind of simmering that’s gone on in my soul. The last couple of days though, I’ve taken a personal inventory of sorts and have been surprised to find that my appendages are not on fire and not even a one is overly pink.
Now maybe this is because it’s only January 4, a Wednesday, and no one was early or late to school today. Maybe it’s because I chose to say no to a fast holiday season. Maybe it’s just because I’m not exhausted from lining a landfill with diapers like I was 8 years ago, or maybe it’s because I’ve spent the last few years working through some deep personal healing and I can finally see through to the other side.
The more I learn about myself, the way God shaped my heart and wired my brain, the way he made my hands to create and my soul to feel things so deeply I often feel paralyzed, I’m realizing that there is so much I haven’t understood about the human experience.
I believe that we can live out of our spirituality and faith to an extent that hijacks our humanity. What I mean is that when the answer to every hurt and every question is God, sometimes we can forget that he created us to take part in the story that he’s written on our hearts. Your experience may be different, but it’s not hard for me to believe that God is in control of everything, what’s hard for me is to believe is that he has given a good portion of control to me as well. Not so I can run my life off a cliff, hoping that a holy parachute catches me on the way down but so I can work in tandem with him as I live and move and have my being.
Those are the type of thoughts I’ve been sorting through for the last few years.
When I first began to share my writing, I joined some other writers in posting for an entire month and titled the series 31 Days of Growing Up. Three years later I’m beginning to feel as though I’ve fully transitioned to my big-girl panties. Last weekend in a group thread, I mentioned to a friend who’s working through some rough issues that at this rate, we’ll be ready for granny-panties soon.
I think what I’ve learned most over the last three years is that God has given me the ability to stand back and begin to validate some of the harder stories in my life in much the same way he’s been validating them all along. The result is that I’m more confident and resilient than ever because he’s allowed me to see my life truthfully, just as he sees it.
I’ve screwed some relationships up and I’ve been very successful in others. I’ve made some right choices and made some not-so-hot choices, right. Usually, when it’s all over but the shoutin’, I listen for the feel of his feathered voice fanning my soul but sometimes, I’ve looked him straight in the eye like a child catching the eye of her mama while she thump, thump, thumps the forbidden object under her fingertips. Every choices carries consequences that carry weight but the great thing about choosing to trust God is that he shoulders the heavy lifting even when we picked out the largest log in the forest.
It’s not that the hard things in my life have disappeared. They haven’t. In fact, 2017 could end up being harder than the last three combined, none of us know. But in my messy little life with a capital M, here’s what’s happened. Joy.
Joy has happened.
Specifically, because I’ve chosen Joy, Joy has chosen me.
You can choose it too if you want, right this minute. You don’t need special tools or a black bottom line. You might be sleeping on your mama’s sofa or dining in DC. You could be heading to prison next week (and plenty of us live in prisons of our own making) but you can choose Joy now. Next week, I’ll tell you more about how I made my decision. Join me next Thursday for a story of Joy.
You won’t want to miss the Joy Stories coming in the next few weeks. I’ll make sure they float right into your inbox if you…..
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