Feeds:
Posts
Comments

“You will lose someone you can’t live without,and your heart will be badly broken, and the bad news is that you never completely get over the loss of your beloved. But this is also the good news. They live forever in your broken heart that doesn’t seal back up. And you come through. It’s like having a broken leg that never heals perfectly—that still hurts when the weather gets cold, but you learn to dance with the limp.”
–Anne Lamott

Hope for the Worst Week

the winds of change and circumstance blow in, and all around us… so we find a foothold that’s familiar, and bless the moments that we feel You nearer.
-Nicole Nordeman

I remember a distinct moment at the beginning of the worst week.  I was lying in my bed at my grandparents house, face in a pillow to keep my eyes from seeing that the walls and windows were naked, their contents having been boxed up and carried out to various cars and dumpsters that littered their yard, tears and snot flowing, heart in my throat, stomach in knots, wondering if life could possibly get any worse.

A day before I had rested my forehead on the cool metal frame of the funeral home door while they closed the lid of my Grandma’s casket, an attempt to keep both feet on the ground as the room spun around me.

A few days later I assumed the same position.  Face down on a bed in the Holiday Inn of Roswell, GA.  The floor around me looked like a crime scene in a Hobby Lobby…. scrapbooking supplies that moments before had been meticulously placed on perfectly designed pages thrown to the floor to make room for all the pain that needed a place to rest.  Time and place escaping me for a brief moment as I sobbed and screamed into my cell phone begging my best friend to make sense of the latest blow to my incredibly fragile heart.

I spent 24 hours in that hotel room, tossing and turning and waiting, before I drove down a highway in total silence for eight hours.  I arrived home highly caffeinated, devastatingly brokenhearted, and completely wrecked by the truth that in the span of one week the two things I held most dear had been ripped away from me in the most unexpected, brutally tragic ways.

I knew it that night as I drifted into a restless sleep in my own bed:  my heart would never be the same.

Last night I opened box after box full of memories.  I spent hours reading every note, every letter, every card.  My middle school yearbook signatures.  High school notes passed in Biology class.  Senior memory books full of well wishes and reminiscing.  Christmas cards, birthday cards, encouraging notes from camps and retreats as a student and as a leader.

And every so often my fingers would run across words from them.  Sweet encouragement from my precious Grandparents who breathed Life over me from my first day on this earth.  Tracing their handwriting with my finger wishing me happy birthdays and merry Christmases, writing of their pride in their granddaughter, and the great love Jesus has for me.

I unsealed sandwich bags to uncover paper that once smelled like you. Tear stained from all the nights I held them close, words scrawled across the page, the perfect blend of encouragement, laughter, and true love…. just like you were.  Words that whispered in my ear, then and now, “no fear, B… no fear”.  And I can’t help but smile and weep remembering all the years we spent “learning how to love”… each other, other people, the Lord….

These days I’m a few years removed from the worst week.  As I held the weight of those memories in my hands, I did two important things.

I cried. I needed to grieve the loss because I still feel it.  There are unanswered questions that may never resolve.  There is regret that may forever accompany those memories.  And there is great sadness because great love is hard to lose.

I laughed.  I laughed at my Grandpa’s illegible handwriting.  I laughed at the inside jokes that fit so effortlessly in the midst of sweet love notes.  I laughed at remembering the silly placement of the switch for the living room ceiling fan in their house, at the plays we put on in your basement as kids, at the picture engrained in my mind of you bundled up frying fish outside in the dead of winter.  I laughed at late night phone call silliness, morning texts, curly hair, cheesy pop songs and 90s references.

And when I was finished?

I folded them up.  Placed them gently back in their boxes.  And closed the lid.

Because life goes on.  God is doing new things.  I cherish what has been, but my hands are open to what will be.  It’s a beautiful, delicate balance, and I refuse to hold so tightly to the beautiful things God once graced my life with and thereby forfeit all the beauty that is still to be.

This season that’s coming?  It’s gonna be a good one.  And how sweet and good is He that He allowed the last season to shape me into exactly who I need to be in this moment so that i can fully embrace the next one?

Praying that each of us look forward to what’s next with the faith that comes from looking back and seeing His hand sustaining us, whether it be through the gut wrenching loss of our worst week, or the wide open spaces of our future.  He is good, y’all.  He is so, so good.

3925cc58ced047714de92e2de69268c9

Begin again.

I started blogging in 2004.

A lot of life has happened since then, and much of it is documented on the internet.

It’s taken me awhile, but I think I’m finally beginning to realize the beauty in words that are left unsaid, and that led me here, to this place of starting over.  I’ve gone back through the past 9 years of blogs and made most of them private, cutting out a lot of noise and leaving only a few that might be of value in helping you get to know me a little better.

I hope to write here more often, and I hope you’ll visit more often, too.

If I have learned anything over the past couple years as I took a bit of an unintentional hiatus from writing it’s this:

Life is so much harder than I ever expected it to be,
and
I need people so much more than I ever thought I would. 

It’s my hope that we won’t run from what is hard here.  I’ll write honestly, because I need to give myself the freedom to do so.  In the meantime, if these words are an encouragement to any of you, that will be the icing on the cake.

Come back soon and let’s talk student ministry, singleness, heartbreak, death, and probably a little bit of pop culture because I just got cable and am unapologetically Keeping Up with the Kardashians now.

Thanks for sticking with me.

xoxo,

B

glitter & grief

This time last year I had no idea that in just a few short days my life was about to unravel.  The very best way I know how to sum up the past 358 days?

“what. the. hell.”

I didn’t know then how to deal with grief.  The kind of grief that leaves you sleepless and makes your bones ache and your jaw involuntarily clench.  I had no desire to learn how to grieve, but the Lord knows what we need and so I did.  I learned.  I failed.  I resisted.  I screamed and cried and have functioned with less sleep than I thought humanly possible for months.  I have begged and pleaded and worried and felt the ache of regret more deeply than I have ever known.

Although time moves on, grief remains.
It feels a lot like cleaning up glitter.

I love glitter.  Really, really love glitter.
But cleaning it up?  No thank you.

The funny thing about glitter is that you work so hard to confine it, yet somehow it ends up everywhere.  You find traces of it for days.  Maybe even weeks.  The slightest breeze has blown it all over your house and even when you’re doing something silly like dancing in your kitchen  you see it reflecting in the light on your stove and it hits you.  The glitter is still there.  In places you didn’t put it.  In places you didn’t want it.  In places you didn’t expect it.

So it is with grief.
In the unexpected moments of picking up your phone to text something funny then realizing you can’t.  In the drive through Georgia that all but rips your heart out while the tears sting your eyes at the sight of the Atlanta skyline.  In the quiet mornings with the Lord when the silence is deafening because everything is so, so different.  It’s there when you rearrange your bookshelves and come across that book that’s not supposed to be yours yet remains on your shelf.  In the phone numbers you pass by in your contact list that you can’t bring yourself to delete.  So many places and moments you don’t expect tears to show up.  Yet somehow the breeze has blown those people, those memories, those thoughts into these places and there it is.  Undeniable, breathtaking, heart racing grief.

Just like glitter, grief remains.
Also like glitter?
Grief shines.

It shines a light on “the idolatry of self reliance.” {Jesus Calling, May 10}
Each of these glittery reminders that sparkle grief in the most unlikely places remind me that I need Jesus. They remind me that there is a plan at work that is far greater than what I thought I deserved.  They remind me of His faithfulness.  They remind me of the fact that I feel deep grief because for a season of my life I had really great things that were hard to lose.  He is both the giver and the One who takes away.  And both are good.