A memoir of my December 30, 2017, when I moved from The Nest to Chicago, and a reflection on what Twenty-Eighteen has held. If you were part of my life in Winona Lake, this post was written from the overflow of my heart to you:
What can a year hold? Twenty-Eighteen held more than I ever thought possible. Had I known on this day last year what lay in front of me, I would have run for the hills, overwhelmed at how it could all take place.
A year ago I nailed this sign to the wall of The Nest and said many tearful goodbyes to my Indiana Family. I was a leaving a home and community that had weaseled its way into the deepest part of my heart.
A year ago today I spent time reflecting on the deep ache and the thrill of hope that sat alongside each other in my spirit. This journal entry was from that time of reflection on December 30, 2017:
“I have never felt so betrayed by the English language, as I sit here wishing I could somehow express how I have been forever changed by this little town and the people in it. I am convinced that the tapestry of the Beloved that we will see in the glory of divine understanding will somehow impress on your heart the ways I cannot express how much you mean to me. The strength in me that you see and admire and call to greater depths is only what it is because of your fierce, authentic, honest, beautiful, loving heart. You have been Jesus to me, and I know that one day we will see how intricately we’ve all been connected. The goodness of Jesus knows no bounds.
For now, know this: you are making an impact and you are saving lives every day. Don’t you dare underestimate the way Jesus is working and using you to show His kind heart. Learn to hear the voice of Love telling you of your Belovedness and learn to flow to the rhythm of His heart. It’s where you were made to be.”
Then I packed my whole life into my Honda Fit and Adam’s Toyota Rav4, had breakfast with my nearest, and drove to Chicago into Twenty-Eighteen.
Twenty-Eighteen held steps of courage I can scarcely believe were made by my two feet – a move from small town to big city, office job to nanny life, engagement and marriage to my truest love, running my first marathon, and juggling all the friend and family transitions that come in between. Twenty-Eighteen held more emotion than I can ever express and more transitional joy and ache than I knew what to do with. In that tension, I learned a few things:
The thing about life with Jesus is He doesn’t ask us to know the way. He asks us to trust Him. He asks us to evolve as He moves. He asks us to know we are loved and step out of the boat. He asks us to move to the rhythm of His heart.
We are Courageous beyond our wildest dreams because the God who planted the seed of courage in our heart so many years ago, has not for a moment tired of the work He started in us. This year I surrendered my heart to a Love I didn’t understand and opened my hands to the goodness He has stored up for us.
This Goodness comes not in vast wealth or an escape from the painful realities of life. His Goodness comes as a new awareness of Fullness. A Fullness that finds a joy so deep it takes our breath away. Fullness of peace that is unshakable. Fullness of hope which declares, as beyond my wildest dreams as this year was, it is only the beginning.
This is not to say I have stood courageous every moment of this year. On the contrary, this year I have cried every few days, had pity parties every other week, and just about every month a fear-filled panic attack tells me I am nothing. But I have seen the goodness of the Lord and I have seen it through you.
Fullness in Community
I have experienced the presence of Christ in Christian community. It has taken my discrediting, doubting, “I don’t deserve this” attitude, and time after time, chucked it back to hell where it came from. Because the Fullness isn’t in the circumstances, its in new eyes to see them. Our Father is filling every day of our lives with His presence, so brilliantly, through each other.
That is the most precious mystery of all. That in this culture where individualism is celebrated, and the independent person is idolized, we have found a space in Christ alone where being bound to each other is the most satisfying and transcendent experience of God.
The fullness showed up in our Monday game night and our Ugly Sunday movie marathon. It showed up in our Taco Tuesday and our Margarita Wednesday. It was there at our Sacred Space Thursday and our Lancer Day Friday. We are the body of Christ, after all. I can’t see Him without you, and you can’t see Him without me. Thank you Nesters, thank you Winona Lakers, thank you Grace Collegers, thank you Chicagoans, thank you Family. You have been Jesus to me.
As I enter Twenty-Nineteen, my heart aches with gratitude for the communities I have been given. I am also deeply grateful for times of reflection that allow the tension of longing to abide with the spirit of hope I hold within me, side by side, every day. I am so grateful for the reflection I did on this day last year because it created space for me to flourish in this next glorious season.
Do you feel frustrated, tense, impatient, like there’s never enough time? This may be your heart telling your mind and body to slow down and take notice. Is your heart struggling to keep up with the season that you’re in? Instead of continuing to strive, what if we took time to ask the Holy Spirit to show us what we need to make space for? To listen when Jesus calls us to stop is just as important as listening when He tells us to go.
Be Still, my Courageous friends, and know that He is God. It is He who has made us, and Who continues to make us. We are His people; all of us together are the sheep of His pasture, and I am so thankful.