There’s something about God that makes the frightening things fantastic, the difficult things delightful, and the impossible things, well, possible.
I think God imparted some of this ability to mothers, who seem to be able to show you where you’ve been, what you’ve said before, and remind you of where you are, all with a smile and no small amount of blunt tenderness.
This morning I’d planned on getting up early and doing some shopping. Apparently, when you find yourself fighting the urge to duct tape the giant hole in the side of your Converse, it’s time to buy new shoes. But when I woke up around eight, I decided this was NOT going to happen and proceeded to sleep in considering the long weekend and the extra time I’d have later on. It really was a wise decision, to sleep.
When I woke up, I spent time with God and talked to Him about everything on my heart, continually asking Him to help me see this change of events through His eyes. I asked Him to take the heaviness from my heart and mind and to take away the hurt that so thoroughly exploited my bones. I know it sounds dramatic, but I have never, in a million years, hurt this way.
The worst part about really loving someone is that you can’t give a reason as to why you love them, at least that’s what I’m figuring out. You can’t give a valid reason for why you hurt when they hurt, or understand why you love them, because no amount of shared moments, common interests, or clever manipulations of emotions and circumstances can bring about true love. It’s the person, who they are, what they do, their idiosyncrasies, and the very essence of their character that makes you love them, and there’s nothing you can do about it, and it lasts, and lasts, and never seems to go away. Man, this sounds so corny. What is wrong with me?
I got changed and walked to the farmer’s market, talking to God and allowing my soul to be refreshed by His word and His love, even though my heart remained heavy. Why wasn’t it going away?
It was rainy and cold, a truly fall day. I even wore my gloves and could almost see my breath. Since my birthday, I’ve had some extra money, which was a total blessing. So I decided to buy some fresh fruit. I bought apples and concord grapes. Concord grapes, I discovered, are incredibly sweet and taste pretty much nothing like regular grapes, but are still delicious 🙂
Back at my dorm, I continued to talk through things with God and continued to meditate in His word as I did laundry, worked on homework, and cleaned. Around four thirty I headed out to meet up with Jenny to go out for dinner. She had asked if I wouldn’t mind going to an Indian restaurant with her, and so we made plans for tonight 🙂
We met up on Fulton St. and Washington Ave., taking the C train to High St. While waiting for the train, I gave Jenny the concord grapes that I’d bought that morning, knowing she’d been looking for “good” concord grapes all over The City. How happy and excited I was when she began to eat them with a look of genuine satisfaction on her face! She then presented me with a small hot pink gift bag, filled with Lindor truffles and a pair of golden Celtic knot earrings and a matching necklace. I can’t tell you how grateful I was 🙂
Once the train arrived, we ended up going quite a few stops in the completely opposite direction, turning ourselves around, eventually stopping at the right stop. On the train ride to go back in the right direction, three young men came on the subway with a boombox and played hip hop music as they did all sorts of tricks and gymnastics and acrobatics around the poles of the subway car. It was very impressive and wonderful to watch 🙂
After getting off at the right stop, we went in the wrong direction and turned ourselves around again. We then, after getting on the correct street, walked past the restaurant several blocks and had to turn around yet again. I thought it was funny and quite an adventure, and I enjoyed being able to spend so much time talking to Jenny.
Eventually we came to the restaurant. As we walked up to the entrance, I realized this restaurant, named Asya’s, sat right next to Henry’s End, the restaurant Jimmy, my mom, and I had come to my very first night in The City.
Jenny ordered a platter of all sorts of meat, and I ordered chicken and vegetables in a tomato sauce seasoned with lots of curry, as seems to be customary for Indian food. We also enjoyed garlic Naan, which is basically just Indian bread, similar to pita bread but not quite the same. I had a great time 🙂
We left the restaurant and headed home. I really love the fact that God has blessed me with Jenny as a friend and as a sister in Him. It’s just so nice to have Christian girl friends to hang out with, not that I don’t like hanging out with people who aren’t Christians, but there’s a level of refreshment and encouragement and connection that comes with having genuine fellowship with other Christians. I liken it to the way the knights of the Round Table gathered round the Round Table (pun intended, always intended). Before they did anything, they met at that mighty table and planned. Well, having fellowship with other believers is kind of the same thing. Or maybe I’m not making any sense. Oh well.
When I got back to my dorm, I talked to Bree for a while and then tried on the earrings and the necklace with which Jenny gifted me. Well, the necklace broke in my fingers, and I suddenly wondered if I didn’t know my own strength. I quickly ruled that out of the equation and decided I’d just moved it the wrong way. I felt rather awful, but decided it was okay.
And then there were the earrings. I went to pull (as gently as I possibly could, fearing that they should be subject to the same fate as that of the necklace) one earring off of the cardboard keeping them together. Well, I must’ve pulled a bit too hard, because the other earring, still connected to the cardboard, went flying from my hands and landed—you guessed it—right in the toilet. I shrieked in surprise and Bree asked what was wrong.
“Please just don’t even ask what just happened. Please,” I said with a bit of nervous laughter in my voice. I really couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me. I was thinking about all of this love stuff, dropping things in the toilet, breaking things, unable to sleep, and my heart seemed to feel heavy all the time, even though I still remained secure in Christ’s love for me and His plan for my life. What in the world…?
I won’t tell you what I did, but I will say I retrieved the other earring, and after nearly scrubbing the skin off of my right hand and arm and sanitizing the earring until it sparkled like a diamond (even though it was golden), I finally tried on the earrings. They looked lovely 🙂
Mom skyped me then, and I sat in front of the bathroom door, talking to her. There was much crying, and much advice-giving. That’s when she revealed, through her mom-ness, what my problem was. God, over time, had softened my heart to the point that I had let myself become vulnerable with someone, a man, specifically, and now, suddenly, when there was a possibility of never seeing him again and whatnot, I was hurting so absolutely thoroughly that I didn’t know what to do with myself. I’d always been so afraid of hurting this way, and here, after God softened me, made me weak in order for me to be strong in Him, for Him to be strong through me, here I was hurting something fierce, and faced with a great difficulty.
We hung up. I laid on the floor in front of the bathroom, crying for a little while, thinking and talking to God.
Me: God, how in the world did I get here? What’s the plan? Why now?
God: You asked me to strengthen you, to not let anything prevent you from growing in Me, to help you be My daughter, a daughter of the most High King. You fear being hurt, and you fear rejection. You fear vulnerability before Me, and you fear loving others. You fear the future. Therefore, I am giving you what you need. I am answering your prayers.
Me: But like this?
God: Yes, like this. You are not the only one growing in this way, being strengthened through this hurt. I have a plan for you, and it is far more than what you ever imagined it to be. You must trust Me, though you hurt, and though you are afraid. You must trust Me, for I care for you, and love you.
I am so afraid. So scared. And yet I have to believe that God is going to work through the fear to destroy it. He’s given me a spirit not of fear, but of power and love and self-control (2 Timothy 1:7). I know that He loves me, and I know that He loves the ones I love, and I know that He has a plan. So what have I to fear?
What have I to fear?
“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love Him.” —1 Corinthians 2:9, ESV
“So here I am, what’s left of me, when glory meets the suffering.”
—The Hurt and the Healer, MercyMe