Friday, December 16, 2011

we are not alone in this.

Sometimes, the best way I know to cope is to take a few deep breaths and go someplace new.

That's not always possible, but when it is, it does the trick.

Week-long vacations, Saturdays spent in Thomasville, Sundays in a different pew. These are what sustain and help me press on when life starts to feel like just a bit too much.

The latter part of 2011 is, for lack of a better term, kicking my butt. It has been suffocating and gut-wrenching, and full of please-God-won't-you-do-something-to-make-this-better lamentations. 

He has answered, and doesn't He always do it in the oddest, most imaginative of ways?

We are still torn, a little bit broken, and a lot confused.

But today, oddly, I feel at peace. I feel hopeful for our future. I feel grateful for the calm before the storm, for the two days in which God gave us a glimpse of that sometimes so very far away kingdom.

Last weekend, we met up with some friends from college in Farmersville, Alabama, of all places.

Down a couple of dirt roads, and I could already feel my chest loosening.

We played board games, spent late nights laughing our heads off, mornings cuddled on couches in blankets, singing our hearts out in worship.

Sometimes God gives us what we need even when we do not ask.

In the middle of our stress and pain at home, I had not thought to ask God to bless our time with friends, to bring us all back together in peace, to give us a balm in the form of Southern accents and college memories.

He did anyway.

That weekend already seems like a lifetime ago in this holiday season that has showed up out of nowhere and bombarded me with gifts left to buy and a messy house to clean. 

But if I close my eyes for a moment, I can remember. I take a deep breath, and I realize that God is still present, that He is still working, and He still — still! — has my back.

Our friends helped us last weekend, more than they know.

And the letters and the calls and the texts and the casseroles I've received from people I love both near and far?

They serve as reminders that we are not alone in this.

This advent season has not at all gone like I had planned.

It has not been peaceful or calm or exceptionally bright.

My heart has been broken, and for a while there, I was at a loss.

But He has granted me perspective. He has opened my eyes.

Make no mistake: The mess is not cleaned up. The wrongs have not been corrected, and the beauty that is promised has yet to show itself.

Yet for some reason, today, I am grateful. I am reminded of good friends, of a calm retreat and a breathe-easy weekend. I am counting the twinkle lights placed around our home and the blessings they are reminders of.

I am, for the time being, choosing to look past what this month has held thus far, and I am placing my focus elsewhere.

On the child-king. On the redemption He offers to the messes and the outcasts and the broken. On the hope at the end of a long wait. On friends who love all of us, every part of us, even the parts we try to hide, even the parts that are insecure and vain and unsure. On a new year and a new beginning, but yes, on the past and the present too.

It all deserves our utmost attention.

I guess this is my long-winded way of saying: Thank you, friends. For loving us and breathing new life into us.

This weekend, may you, readers of this tiny blog of mine, surround yourselves with people whose love for you runs deep. They can be such powerful reminders of His love for us.


Sabrina said...

What beautiful writing Annie! Your words touched my heart this morning. Thank You:) Your gift of words is still alive and thriving:) Amen for your weekend. It sounded wonderful....a perfect blessing at the right moment. Have a great weekend. You are in my prayers always!

MichaelaRae said...

Beautifully said! I hope you continue to have moments of restoration and glimpses of the Kingdom, even amidst the hardships. I love how God surprises us.

waytenmom said...

Hi Annie, sending support and friendship your way ......

Luisa Rodríguez said...

beautiful post!

nice blog - loved the minimalist design.
hope you find the time to come visit me too.

it must be (so)... liberating

Kelly Sauer said...

You counted your lights? I need to know how many... :-)

He has not left you. You encourage me with your remembrance. What a beautiful time you had with your friends.

TefMarie said...

Sometimes there is nothing quite like a friend weekend. I love those moments. So glad you got to slow down and enjoy one yourself.