I took the last couple of days to enjoy some solitude. No work to be done at my three jobs. No people here and me nowhere BUT here. Yoga pants, leftovers from the fridge, a stack of reading, Netflix, my pup to walk, time for me to lift my heart to God and for my ears to be open to hearing His heart for me.
I’ve been spending quite a bit of time pondering and praying the “what’s next?” question. In my assessment, research, and pondering (of which I will save you the long wordy process of THAT journey), I reduced it down to one page of a diagram of the last two years and two months.
The Perfect Storm.
This stormy season consisted of the clashing together of several seasons of life that most women face… but not all at one time, clamoring all over each other like a pile of puppies fighting for the last bite of food.
A season of intense loss and grief.
A season of empty-nest and living alone for the first time in my life.
A season of pre-menopause where my body seems to be this foreign raging creature.
A season of mid-life identity crisis.
A season of scoring 375 on the Holmes-Reye stress inventory of loss and change that predicts the likelihood of depression. A score of 300 predicts an 80% chance. Gulp. 375 wasn’t even listed! Better that I not know!
All of this in two years and two months. Okay. Maybe I should cut myself some slack that I feel so… foreign. Unknown. A bit crazy at times. Teary for who knows why. Depression hanging like a background fog. Anxious of the future. Yet, excited at the freedom.
In a blog I read (which I can’t remember the name of), a woman referred to a similar season of her life as a time of unraveling.
That’s it. That word defines it. I feel as if my whole being has been unraveled and I am running around chasing the unraveling yarn, trying to wrap it all back up into the nice neat knitting ball that has a defined purpose.
Ain’t. Going. To. Happen.
In my time of quiet rest yesterday, I read a book. The entire book. A book I’ve had for several months that I was frustrated I didn’t have time to read. But now I know why I needed to read it yesterday. In one setting.
Nadia Bolz-Weber’s book “Pastrix: The cranky, beautiful faith of a sinner and a saint.”
Her book is my book. Well, not literally. But it is my story. Messy. Tragic. Full of her sins. Full of the sins of others. Full of God’s grace. Full of cussing and seeking and healing and wondering how in the world people like us become shepherd’s of others on the faith journey.
I cried. I laughed hysterically out loud. I paused to underline, write in my journal, and to pray.
The following is what I needed most to hear.
“’This is my beloved in whom I am well pleased.’ Identity. It is always God’s first move. Before we do anything wrong and before we do anything right, God has named and claimed us as God’s own. But almost immediately, other things try to tell us who we are and to whom we belong (parents, kids, media, voices of the past, etc)… they all have a go at telling us who we are. But only God can do that.” Pages 138-139
As I have struggled and sought and cried and given up and listened and tried again, I realize that through all of that, I am trying to identify who I am now. Without the titles of my past. Yet, with the scars and lessons of the past.
Who am I now?
I have a lot of other things and voices trying to tell me who I am now and what I should be doing next.
But I have go back to the beginning before I move to the next. I have to go to whom I have always been.
God has named me his beloved. He has claimed me as His own. He is pleased with me regardless of what I have done or will do and regardless of whether it is right or wrong or wrong with the right intentions.
God has already made His first move.
I have no idea how the rubble, destruction, new sprouts of growth, hormones, and remnants of this Perfect Storm will come together… what they will form… or how I will exist in that new dwelling place.
But I do know this. I want to love too much for the pious people. And I want to dream and do too much for the safe people.
I want every human child of God I get the honor of encountering in my day to either hear, feel, or experience the outrageous love of God as His child because the are His beloved, too. I want them to know this either by my words, my presence, my service, my faith, or my silence.
I know I won’t do this perfectly. I know I will screw it up.
But I also know that I am much less inclined to be tied down to rules, walls, behavior modification, sin management, and human traditions.
And I know that God is doing something very deep and very transformative in my inner-being. And He is doing it in a manner that only the Potter can do to the Cup He created.
May my cup only hold His love. And may that cup overflow with that Living Water turned to wine that begins the process of the world meeting Jesus as the Son of God.
I would love to hear your experiences of any of those seasons that have crashed together in this perfect storm. Hormones. Grief. Identity loss. Freedom. And fear.
A not-so-cranky but often teary, beautiful sinner and saint.