The other day I sent this to both Tania and Sam:

Hi Tania... The women's retreat is this weekend. I am looking forward to it. I did most of my packing yesterday -packed lots of comfy clothes, flip flops, journal, poetry. I took a nap last night, listened to some music, cried a bit, and spoke to Ian, all of which helped.                        

I feel like i have just experienced a lot of loss - like, relatively sudden rug-pulled-from-underneath-me loss - in the past 2 years, between friends moving, my marriage ending, & Ian's relapse, plus the daily "loss" of being far from my family & the now reality of not being able to move back there anytime soon + the "loss" of the election / the America I thought I knew etc. and I guess it really feels like God must be saying "You have to rely on me. I'm the only thing that is constant and reliable no matter what."                        

But I don't know what that looks like... how do I lean into God more? And honestly I'm a little scared of what that might mean. And on top of that, I'm so scared (as I remember saying to you a few months ago re: Ian) of this happening again - the rug being pulled out again...

So, Sam told me that there is pain. She reminded me that the only way is through the pain, day by day, one right action at a time. She also admitted that she doesn’t always know what it looks like to rely on God either. That sometimes it’s elusive and confusing. But that all we really can do is take it one day – one action, one moment – at a time. Most of the time the best we can try for is to aim for one God-centered action at time. She also reminded me that I am not ever going to know the lesson or see the big picture in the moment. That my job is to “chop wood and carry water.” To take the actions. The next stitch. God is in charge of the design of the tapestry, and I only get to see what it looks like when a whole bunch of stitches are in place. Hindsight.

It’s helpful to remember that I am not the manager. I suppose that is what it looks like to RELY. To have FAITH. To count on God in these moments. To LEAN IN. I want to know the lesson, to hear the voice, to see the truth. I want white lights and ah ha moments. But it’s never been that way for me. The truth has always come slowly, and then maybe all at once. Like a steady rain shower that builds in the heavens. It will come. The rain always comes. 

There is also all this fear of what it would really mean to rely on God. What if God wants to take Ian away from me? What if God is punishing me for not staying alone after Andrew left? What if Ian’s relapse was my punishment too? “I told you so!” says God. I share these fears with Ncedisa and Alize. To my surprise, they don’t see if that way at all.  “But then why do I keep losing people? What is God trying to tell me?” I ask. “I think,” Ncedisa says, “That God is showing you that despite your many years of unhealthy dependency on human powers, with each of these losses you are continuing to grow stronger in your reliance on God. You are not being shaken to your core – bending and breaking yourself – for these people. You are not crumbling in the face of these losses. You are continuing on in faith and grace and strength with God at your side. I think that is the message – that you’re doing it. That you’re okay.” 

Wow. Faith. Trust. Okay. I am doing it. I am all right. I am walking the path the best I can with God by my side. Is that the message? I like that message a lot better. Thanks, God. 

A wake up call: Maybe I need to take another look at what I think my God is. I can never forget: I NEED God. It’s not optional. So I need a God that works in my life. Not a punishing God. God loves me no matter what. That is what makes God enough. God can turn even the crappiest of decisions – the crappiest of situations – into gold, so long as we do our best to stick close to Him (or Her). That sounds like love and faith and tolerance and trust and creativity and hope to me. Not judgment and punishment and “I told you so’s!” That sounds like a God I can rely on rather than run from, and that is what I need.

“…to the CARE of God as we understood Him.”

To the care of God as I understand him. I have to create (and question) my understanding of God so that I can REALY. LEAN. TRUST. TURN. So that I can soften and rest in the palm of His hand, trusting that the tapestry is going to be beautiful. 


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