BitterSpring

God has invited me to believe in Springtime, again. He’s invited me into this terrifying place that flowers will spring out of barren land and that leaves will burst forth off of bare naked, trembling twigs of trees. Believing that out of the same ground that the most heart wrenching, life stealing, ill-fitting, nasty things occurred on–that new life will spring forth. Something new will follow.

3 days before 2016 ended, I scoured my room. I had the most beautiful globe sitting on my bookshelf. A giant Omani flag hanging on my wall (I love the country of Oman, ask me about it. I’ll brag on the country all day.) Pictures perfectly framed and hanging, untouched since I moved home from Waco. Untouched. Dust settled. These were a few of my most treasured possessions. My Bible held Omani money that, every time I came across it, reminded me to pray for the country. Treasures. Treasures that held bitter heart ties and painful memories. Treasures that, if I was really honest and vulnerable with myself and you, held the only bit of comfort I could find in this season. Wrapped up in “this is not how it was supposed to happen, Jesus” and “let’s dwell in memories, Lord, because my reality sucks.”

I read a book, this last year, called Bittersweet. It says, “a life of nothing but sweetness rots both your teeth and your soul.”

An invitation to “believe in Springtime”, again.
A call to daringly believe that if things come in pairs-that the sweet is coming to pair with the bitter. Bittersweet. “Bittersweet is courageous, gutsy, earthy.”

I ripped my flag down. Packed up a box of old pictures and letters, jewelry, my globe, clothes, anything that brought up a bitter sense of comfort, a sense of winter and not of spring and I got rid of it. I’d like to say I did it in some big bad girl way. I sobbed the whole way to give it to my friend. Because my friend had to be the one to do something with it.

**Sidenote: I don’t know what season of life you’re in, but find friends that aren’t afraid to get their hands messy with you. That link arms with you and do the things that you are absolutely incapable of doing and that will snatch a pretty globe out of your hands and not give it back to you no matter how many tears you shed, because they’re after your ultimate good, not your ultimate comfort.**

Afterwards, I realized that there was A LOT tied up in those things. Comfort. Hope. Emotions. When I got home I was face to face with blank space on my walls and in my book shelf and in my heart. Blank space.

Jesus always comes.
You see, 2016 was so bitter. The taste of it was so bitter that the mere taste of it causes immediate gagging. I mustered up the bravery to go through my journals to find Jesus’ faithfulness and write it down on paper hearts. 8 little paper hearts that reflect on ways of the faithfulness of a Father that never lets me down, that doesn’t let the little things go unnoticed.

I hung them up where my flag used to hang to take an instagram picture, when I heard the whisper of God say “leave them there, because I don’t leave you empty handed, beloved.”


Spring.
Flowers from barren land.
Paperhearts hanging on a wall that had been empty for a day.
Because that’s who Jesus is.

I believe 2017–no matter how hard or embarrassing or heartbreaking or good or joy filled or incredible or surprising or life changing–is a year of me believing in Spring again. In believing that Jesus is who he says he is.

“I believe that God is making all things new. I believe that Christ overcame death and that pattern is apparent all through life and history: life from death, water from a stone, redemption from failure, connection from alienation. I believe that suffering is part of the narrative, and that nothing really good gets built when everything’s easy. I believe that loss and emptiness and confusion often give way to new fullness and wisdom.”  -Bittersweet

Happy new year, y’all! 🙂

*Quotes throughout this blogpost came from Bittersweet by Shauna Niequist. Go read it.

C E L E B R A T E

To be honest, I’ve been trying to write this blog for a while, and can’t seem to find words to write it.

W R I T E R ‘ S B L O C K.

I don’t think it’s because I don’t have words, I think it’s because I’m in a process of learning to actually BELIEVE the words. But I felt like Jesus told me to write about it today, so I am. Sorry if it’s rambley or shambley (two words I don’t think are real), or if it doesn’t make much sense… I’m working on it, okay? Let’s just walk through this together.

I woke up this morning and Jesus, very clearly, told me to do what I wanted to do today. Which is actually pretty funny, because for the last 6-7 months, I haven’t been able to pinpoint a sliver of what I would prefer “to do.” So, I did what I used to enjoy doing..I sat at a quiet coffee shop in my hometown called “Fresh.”

Got to the counter. Had not a clue what I wanted to drink.
“Cait, what did you used to like?” I asked myself. My answer, chai tea latte with vanilla.

I sat in the coziest chair I could find and unpacked my books, Bible, journal, colored pens, and headphones. Then it hit me. Like a ton of bricks or an elephant on an air plane, the urge to just weep came over me. But I couldn’t weep, I was in public. So tears streamed down my face in the most graceful way I knew how. Again, I was at a loss. Although random tears in random places are more common to me than uncommon the last few months, these tears carried some weight. So I started chatting it up with my main man, Jesus.

It was there, in Fresh, sipping on my chai tea latte with  vanilla, cuddled up in the white rocking chair, that I unloaded what my heart has been holding onto for months. I’m not so sure why it happened today, but Jesus does. I think today was the first day that I was able to feel the pain and choose joy, choose celebration.

After about an hour and a half of spilling my guts to Jesus (discussing my future husband, my current diet, my upcoming trip to Greece, my discontentment, my disappointment, and my desire to be able to celebrate people fully, even in the midst of my pain), I did something that I’ve been terrified to do for a while: I let Jesus talk.

It was there, with my chai tea latte with vanilla, in the white rocking chair that I felt Jesus whisper:

“There’s room for you.”

I wasn’t so sure what it meant, so I sat and waited. Soaking in the truth that there’s room for me. Where? Not sure. Jesus, faithfully, continued.

“There’s room for you to be fully you, to laugh really loud, to cry deeply, to be where you are, how you are. I paid for your spot, I made it big enough. The boundary lines have fallen for you in pleasant places.”

It was in that moment that I realized I was carrying the weight of pain, disappointment, and discontentedness because I didn’t believe that there was room for me in Jesus’ heart. In my pride, I thought I was making room for others to be healed by not letting go of my garbage. How prideful. Jesus makes the room. He makes my friends hearts big enough to listen to me and to cry with me. He makes my family’s home big enough to house me for free. He makes my time long enough to get healed. He makes his love big enough to make me whole.

Jesus then said: “Go buy you some flowers. We are celebrating YOU, today.”

So just like that… my day of “do what you want” turned into “do what you want because I want you to feel seen and celebrated.”

He’s really good, y’all. He knows our hearts better than we do. And by golly, if Jesus tells you to buy yourself pink daisies, buy the daisies. There’s probably a part of your heart that needs it.

My heart needed to grieve and be seen, today. So obviously, I celebrated. 🙂