An Open Letter to My Heart

Dear Little Heart,

I know it does not feel like this now, but the best is yet to come. In the middle of the loneliness and frustration, the best is coming. Within the loudest laughs and biggest celebrations, it can only get better from here. I know you ask “Will things ever get better?,” a lot, and they will. You just have to continually commit to following Jesus every step of the way.

You’ve been really tired, lately, little heart. Tired from the wear and tear of life. I’m sorry. I’m sorry for not taking care of you. For not making your health my upmost priority. I’m sorry for trying to fit you into expectations of others and silly structures that you have no place in trying to mold to. I’m sorry for not properly dealing with grief and disappointment. You are valuable, little heart.

You are strong. The last year and half you have beaten strong and steady through tears, depression, breakthrough, hope, and laughter. You have provided what I need to survive. Thank you for not giving up when the pressure, anxiety, and excitement set in.

Oh, little heart. If only you could grasp the depth of the love which you are gently held. Jesus, gave it all to love you. There is grace for you. Grace to feel the depth of pain and gladness, joy and sorrow. I know that sometimes emotions hit you hard, but there is beauty in the process of sorting through them all. Thank you, oh heart, for feeling deeply..for not being afraid of emotions, but for standing strong and allowing Jesus to work through them.

I’m thankful for you. Thankful for your consistency. Thankful for the butterflies that I feel because of you when I’m on a date with Dustin or the flutter of excitement before going home to see my family. You are fun, heart.

Today is a new day. A day to draw a line in the sand. I vow, little heart, to begin taking care of you. I will do whatever it takes to get you healthy. To sort through your pain and your joy. I want to know you. I want to know what makes you  come alive and what stretches you. I want to know what you like and what makes you laugh, or what makes you mad and what makes you scream. I’ve forgotten who you are. I vow to know you, again. To know you well.

So here’s to the beginning, take two, a new season, whatever you’d like to call it, little heart. I’m your owner, Caitlin, it’s really nice to meet you. 🙂

 

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Royal Risks

I have this tendency to play it safe.

My whole life I’ve gone to the sno-cone stand and ordered the orange flavored sno-cone; I always eat chocolate ice cream; I take the same route to and from home and in the case of traffic? I usually sit through the traffic so I don’t “risk” the possibility of getting lost. I very rarely break the rules and, in fact, I really enjoy following rules. I’ve lived a life comfortably within the confines of normalcy and mediocrity.

Comfortably.

Safe: (1) protected from or not exposed to danger or risk; not likely to be harmed or lost. (2) uninjured; with no harm done.


C.S. Lewis, in his book The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, best sums up Aslan, the lion, in this quote: “Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”

Aslan is the character that displays the character of God. Recently, I’ve been learning about risking and dreaming with God.

Risk: (1) a situation involving exposure to danger. (2) expose {someone or something valued} to danger, harm, or loss.

Safe is the antonym of risk.
Everything about the two words contradict each other.

To play it safe means not to risk.
To risk means you are not playing it safe.

God has never played things safe. He gave it all, in Jesus, to get us back. He bankrupt Heaven so that we, as tiny little humans, could have intimate interactions with a divine God.
In fact, when Jesus was on the earth, he called people to take radical risks to follow him. Matthew 8:18-21 says:

“When Jesus saw the crowd around him, he gave orders to cross to the
other side of the lake. Then a teacher of the law came to him and said,
‘Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.’ Jesus replied, ‘Foxes have
dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.’
Another disciple said to him, ‘Lord, first let me go and bury my father.’
But Jesus told him, ‘Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.’

Jesus demanded people’s lives. Lives fully given to him, no strings attached. No dead fathers buried, no comfort of home. Jesus demanded it all. People throughout history have given it all to follow Jesus. Risking safety, security, family, finances, comfort, and even their lives. God has had me in a process of doing the same; asking me over and over again, “Cait, am I worth the risk? Do you believe I am trust worthy? Do you believe that I am good?” It wasn’t until recently, however, that my answers went from “But God, I need to finish this. Risking isn’t logical for me right now. I’m scared but you’re still good, God.” to “Whatever You say goes. You are good. You are trustworthy.”


Whatever You say goes.

That small, 4 word phrase is the most risky phrase to ever cross my lips. I’m on the edge of a risk. Risking people’s approval, my financial security, my college degree, friends, and my comfort. But if there is one thing I’ve learned in the last 8 months is that God is good. He may not always call me to play it safe, but he will always call me to the risk that has my best in mind.

That’s what and who I am becoming. A woman of risk and bravery.
That’s who I want to be. One who will lay it all on the line to know Jesus more. Regardless of the cost.

The more I journey with God, the more I realize:

Of course He’s not safe. But He’s good. He’s the King, I tell ya.

The Thief Within.

The Bible says “Do not fear” 365 times. 
One for each day of the year.
The last two weeks I have very clearly missed that repetitive memo.

Vulnerability moment: 
For the last week and a half I have been consumed with sadness. Not just kind of sad, but like brink of depression sad. Don’t be dramatic, you say… my response, I’m not. A big part of my story with Jesus includes a two year time period where I was consumed with depression. I know depression. I hate depression. The lie that people are incapable of finding joy is probably the lie from the devil I hate the most. The Bible clearly talks about the fullness of joy found in the presence of God. Anyways, off my soap box, the last week I have cried more than I can count on my hands and I have felt absolutely drained and just blah. I didn’t want anything to do with asking God why I felt this way. Heck, I didn’t really even want to talk to God-period. But thank the Lord for community. Community that pushes me to the foot of the cross, community that challenges me to ask the tough questions, and community that loves me well despite my weariness and yuckiness.

It is that community that inspired me, and challenged me to sit and really ask God what was going on, because it was definitely a heart issue. So I asked God: What is going on? This sadness stemmed from years of anxiety that had deep roots within my soul. This anxiety had absolutely taken over my thought life and I had absolutely no idea. As I continued asking God questions, He revealed to me: I have been grieving. GRIEVING?! What in the world! I haven’t even lost anything or anyone. Why would I be grieving?

Insert a long pause. A long worship song. A bathroom break. A short conversation…..right about….HERE. 

After that long break I asked another really hard question, knowing that I needed answers and relief. So as I continued digging God showed me I had a deep seeded fear of losing my parents. You laugh. It’s a real fear of mine, losing my parents. Things started making sense, I was grieving the loss of two of the most important people in my life…and I hadn’t even lost them. It was my fear that was causing me to feel this way. The what ifs, the how would I respond, the crazy thoughts. All of those things lead back to this deep seeded fear that I didn’t even know existed until about a month and a half ago when I had a dream that my dad had died suddenly. Sad, huh? Yeah, my sadness was making sense. But something else happened in this processing session with my sweet King…

I realized I don’t know God as my protector. I’ve never really tried to discover that. God is my protector. He fights for me. He covers the paths I walk on. It wasn’t until the last two days that I have really started pressing into that truth. Regardless of my circumstances, God is with me like a mighty warrior. He protects me. He comforts me. He is my hiding place, my safety, my security. It wasn’t until I realized the joy found in allowing God to fight for me that I realized that I had a thief living within me…that thief’s name was fear….and as for him in this season…He isn’t welcome here. 

“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire; you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior..” -Isaiah 43: 1b-3