What I Learned This Year (The Birthday Post)
|Graduation Dinner Family Photo (credit Mark Boerger)|
She made a feast of cuy and corn
She said, 'Who else knew my name
Before the day that I was born?'"
-Caedmon's Call, "All I Need (I Did Not Catch Her Name)"
My birthday was two days ago, and I try to annually sum up the lessons of each year on this blog, so here is that post. However, I am having trouble coming up with a clear idea of what to write.
My friend, David, sent me a song a couple of months ago by a band called My Brightest Diamond, a band I had never heard of before. But the chorus to their song "Be Brave" has been swirling around in the background of my life ever since that text (Shara Worden is the singer):
"Sh-Sh-Sh-Shara now get to work
Sh-Sh-Sh-Sh-Sh-Shara this is going to hurt
Be brave, dear one
Be ye changed or be ye undone
Be brave, dear one
Be ye changed or be ye undone
This year, like a good number of the ones that came before it, has led me to wrestle and reel and question and find new revelations and new relationships, and to wonder what in the world is the "good work" that I, specifically, was "created in Christ Jesus" to do (Ephesians 2:10).
It has been a year of great change, like a good number of the ones that came before it. In June, my husband Chris and I made the fifth major move of our eleven and a half year marriage. I had just finished my three-year MFA in Theatre (Acting) degree program at The University of Alabama and we made the big move back to my hometown of Austin, Texas.
Not only that, but I made the huge transition from being a full-time grad student, immersed in a community that talked about jobs in New York and theatre productions and the craft of acting, to being a full time stay-at-home mom. BIG transition. It is new, deeply purposeful, and love-filled work that also demands personal growth (read: hard), and is also oh-so-different from my life before.
I feel . . . weird. And unmoored. And yet, at the same time, if I had to sum up what I have learned in this year of my colorful life, I would say that it has brought me to a strikingly unoriginal and familiar conclusion: I need JESUS. I am in the process of learning to stop trying quite so hard to figure out my life, and to just LOOK TO JESUS.
This blog has filled a unique place in my life, serving as a place to say things that are sometimes hard to say, or hard to find a time to say, in person. And I try very hard to walk the fine line (led by the Holy Spirit) of not pushing Jesus on anyone, and yet inviting him to use every word that I type.
With that in mind, may I ask your permission to do something a little gutsy? May I take this chance to ask for a belated birthday present from all of you, my dear readers?
Here is my bold request: If you are reading this, and you want to give me the best birthday present I could ask for, then please look into this Jesus thing. There is no pressure, and you are still so welcome here even if you ignore this request.
But consider it like a free sample at the mall. Whether you decide to commit to the purchase or not, you still get a free sample! If you need a place to start your exploration, I have been told the book of John in the Bible is a good starting point.
If you want nothing to do with him because of pain from your past, please, give him another try, even just a toe dip. You can tell yourself you are doing it for me. If you want nothing to do with him because your life seems fine the way it is, then try anyway. Maybe just say a quick prayer, "God, if you are real, and if what you offer is better than what I have now, please make it clear in a way I can understand."
Being a Christian can mean being ridiculously counter-cultural. I have felt it and experienced it. I am not saying it is going to be easy. But here's what I can promise you: it is going to be real. It is going to be what your soul has been looking for. It is going to be the "life that is truly life" (1 Timothy 6:17-19).
I know I am being bold and I know that this is maybe a departure from my usual style, but it is my birthday (sort of) and I am claiming birthday girl privileges! Not because I want to control you. Not because I want to start a fight (in fact I am pretty non-confrontational). But because the more I know Jesus, the more I know he is the Truth, as he said he was.
And because of who he is, I am willing to be his broken record, his fool.
This year has taught me at a whole new level that I cannot handle it all, that I am not enough on my own, and that I am so much more messed up than I would like to be, but the truth is that
He is, and
He covered all my messes by letting himself be torn to shreds and then proving that even death could not keep him from the ones he loves.
I don't always believe all of this, but He covers that, too.
My fellow travelers:
May you be well, may you know the Life, and thank you for reading.