If I could find a way to put the last few months into paragraphs, I would, but right now I am faced with a washing machine full of words. If I open it now everything will spill out, tangled in soap and dirty water, and I will be swamped.
I’ve searched everywhere I can think of, and I can’t seem to find what the right thing is to do when faced with such a situation, or even one similar. I’m looking desperately for answers, but there doesn’t seem to be any.
My faith has perhaps been in the washing machine along with everything else. Still very much there, but sometimes hidden by a build-up of dirt and stains. I’ve spent my time with my hands pressed to the glass, head spinning, nausea rising—searching.
Sometimes it’s there
clearly— clearly— beautiful—bright
Other days I cannot sing What a Beautiful Name with suffocating. My head has twisted the words, lies whispering victim, I want to scream my lungs out from the back of the church.
Then, still, small, the words I helped place around the church auditorium, the scribbled copy Zephaniah 3:17 taped to my bedroom door speaks truth.
Grounding. Breathe in, out. Trust.
Sometimes I feel like I’m grasping at straws. Other times I have just given up. Wordless groans, I don’t know what to pray—
—which I think is okay, for a while. I have no doubt that God loved me in every moment of silence, closed heart and ears, stiff upper lip.
My heart ached —I could feel it bruising in my chest.
My Dad has been in hospital after an accident and my Mother has been away, waiting for him like she has so many times before. It’s been a long while since I’ve had to play mum, but these past few weeks I have done my best.
My youngest sister is six. I’ve put her to bed most nights the last few weeks, I’ve sat with her and prayed and I swear the first night I did I felt my heart break.
I missed talking to God with that kind of childish honesty. Fear and love and confusion.
I miss you I miss you I miss you.
Perhaps I needed another nudge in the ribs.
Hospital. Anger. Crying. Memories memories memories.
Come back come back come back.
Finally, I disappeared into the bushland near home, sat on a log, and prayed.
—definitely not a textbook prayer. (My religion teacher would have a fit.)
I did not have a lightning bolt moment. Instead, I cried my silly eyes out and spoke and listened until I felt like a whisper told me I needed to go home and rest.
I can’t exactly explain it.
The closest I can come to any sort of metaphor is some lame high school story.
(one day I will accept that I’m a proper adult now, my school days drift further back each moment).
Some weeks I wouldn’t do so well at balancing dance and specialist athletics training, and I would a c h e. That deep burning of overused muscles, can’t sit comfortably.
And then you have to leave at 6:30am for school.
Check your diary, and mercifully it’s a sports uniform day.
Swap heavy skirt and stiff blouse for track pants and a polo. The ache isn’t gone, but at least you are safe from waistbands and collars and skirts that flare up in the slightest breeze.
Sports uniform feels like at home clothes in a not home environment.
I think that maybe this is how I feel now. Everything still aches and maybe it will for while. I will still cry on Christmas days and Sundays and skip parties and ignore phone calls but I think it’s okay for some things to hurt and hurt and hurt. Somethings are deeply painful and for good reason.
Within all of this, I am trying to find where my faith sits, how to renew my mind and live like one redeemed.
But I think there is grace for that?
And I think there is grace for the days I scream and cry and hide like a child. And there is grace and forgiveness for the days I call out to any other idol. Grace upon grace upon grace.
I want to write like a finished product. Speak my ‘I was’, but instead I am 21 and trying to find God and love and myself in a rubble made of ‘could haves’ and ‘if only’s’.
I spent my teenage years begging for stories of people who loved Jesus but with hurts that were still healing. Maybe it is my turn to be that person.
I also do not want to seem as if I have any sort of answers, because I don’t, but I am
walking walking walking, collecting truth and words.
All my love,