I have been trying to figure out how to share with you some of the pieces of my heart's journey over this past year. I want you to know where I am, given where I've been and where I'm going. Plus, writing is always the best way for me to process my deepest truths, so writing it out for you will also be like writing it out for me.
It's tricky, though, because some of the strands of this story overlap and circle back and sometimes even seem to contradict. (This is one reason why writing is so helpful to me . . . it helps me work out the kinks and apparent contradictions in my story.) Other strands of the story still feel too close and raw to share beyond the bounds of my closest inner circle.
So I guess one thing I'll say right now is this: I'm in the process of having my heart restored.
It's been such a painful thing, this getting to a place where my heart even needs restoring. Last summer, I emerged from a summer of solitude with my heart beating very, very strong. I felt more healthy, spiritually and emotionally speaking, than I had ever felt in my entire life. I had spent a lot of that time over the summer in worship, in quiet, and in deep introspection. I had made peace with some of my fiercest demons, one huge piece of which was walking through an intentional process of forgiveness in some of the deepest crevices of my heart. And I had reached a place that was utterly, utterly new and which I can only describe as beginning to care more for Jesus and for others than I needed to care for myself.
These were all very new places for me, and this growth was such a marvel to me. God was so good in bringing me to that place.
But this past year, I seemed to lose all of that growth. I couldn't find that still center anymore. I couldn't find my footing. I tossed and tumbled the whole way through. And in the process, I lost my connection to God, to myself, and to others. I also seemed to lose my ability to give of myself, which felt like a complete annihilation of the person I had slowly but gladly become over the long journey of many years of growth.
But God has still been so good to me. He somehow, through his grace, sustained me through a year of being unable to sustain myself. And he also used this difficult year to ultimately bring me back to myself. One day I woke up and just knew: it was time to return. And that moment felt just like the moment Mary Oliver writes about in her most famous and wonderful poem:
One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began . . .
[from "The Journey"]
And so, here I am.
Through this process of returning to my heart, I have found myself on a path that provides much intentional space for the revitalization of my heart and spirit. This is a work God must do, and so I am seeking him and asking him to do it. I just lean into the space, and I show up, knowing that all of this restoration of spirit is ultimately meant for others: as God strengthens me, I can love others more.
One place providing a space of rest and nurture for me right now is this Lilies blog. This, right now, is a place I am bringing my heart, no matter its state, to simply share what is. Bruised, battered, hopeful, enlivened . . . Jesus is taking all of it, and here I will share how I'm giving it to him and what I'm discovering about myself and him in the process. (And some days, this is just a place where I can be plain silly or talk about normal life.)
Basically, this is a place for my heart to rest right now, no matter what that happens to look like on any given day. So you will get my heart in this place while Jesus tends to it. I'll share with you (and with me) this heart that Jesus is mending . . . all for the joy of becoming strong in love once more.