For the last few months, I've been doing the motions. Believing but not feeling.
I've written about my legalistic church upbringing before but mix a conservative, southern-baptist church background with some heavy theology and the girl you get is swept up and stumbling around in waters that are downing her. So much of my experience with church has been this tug of war between right and wrong with little grace. But I'm learning with adulthood that sometimes it's right, wrong and a whole heap of grace thrown in. And like with a lot of those stiff beliefs I was raised with, I'm starting to invite grace into this season.
I need grace. And so does every other human who walks through those church doors clinging to their faith through their motions. And if I let in a little grace, I'm finding that "doing the motions" isn't something we can circle and cross out in red marker with a big "F." Sometimes it's all we can bring to Jesus' feet. Sometimes we need to go to church a little numb, a little broken, a little depressed. Sometimes we need to sit through worship without feeling it touching our hearts.
Those motions have been carrying me here. Those motions have been my faith, my loyalty, and the fingerprint proof that I'm hanging on. Because I am hanging on. And I'm seeing joy finally start spilling over again. I've been sitting here with hands stretched open for so long and for the first time in a long time there's a faint little breath on my palms.
There's beauty in the mundane and sometimes in the motions. There's beauty in being carried into a promise, into fulfillment. I feel joy in the comforting weight of alive. Like a cozy sweater on a rainy day. I wouldn't trade this thing called growth.
Sometimes all it takes is a shift in the wind to start to feel again. Like when the unexpected comes and reminds you of God's deep, undying care. Reminds you to put on hope. To start breathing out, "I'm okay." Like an answered prayer in seamless timing. Or like the sweetness of spring in the air, following you, even in the dead of night.
It’s been a season of hurting, a season of raw. A season of shattering. But I’m finding myself in a place where his voice is calling me out from where I've sat back, holding my broken pieces. Waiting. He's calling me to seek and find. Calling me out into the open spaces where joy makes it's home. He’s calling me into the sun. Not in spite of my broken but with my broken. And I think my first fews steps will feel a little robotic, a little forced.
I guess that's all I'm really trying to say to you. Don't let go. Because he isn't going to let go of you.
And so here I am. Sitting on the curb, head on my knees with my face tilted to the sun while my husband grabs us coffee on our road trip north. There's an expectancy dancing in my heart. He's always moving, always beckoning. And I am picking up this hope, cupping it with my fingers, and carrying it into the next season.
I feel him breaking down walls. It's been so dark, I haven't been able to see. But he's turning on the lights. Revealing his purpose, his project. Me.
I was made to illuminate with my hands, my pen, and the words in the back of my throat. I think you were too. Hang on. Walls are coming down and light, light is going to pour in.