Ah, yes, there I was, yet again sitting in my car, crying. It’s in these moments I wonder what my emotions think they’re doing, just spilling out of my eyes like that.
So, there’s a song from Glee (I was pretty obsessed with this show during my BC time) that has been coming into my mind over the last few days. I’ve just generally felt like I kept giving and giving, and kept getting hurt, or worse, unintentionally hurting others. It climaxed in the parking lot of the Westwood Shopping Center, as Jake texted me and asked how I was doing.
Earlier in the morning, I’d sat down with God and poured my heart out to Him, unfiltered…I asked Him so many questions, trying to speak like Habakkuk in chapter two of his book, when he says, “I will stand my watch and set myself on the rampart, and watch to see what He will say to me, and what I will answer when I am corrected” (v. 1), and tried to avoid asking as Jonah asked things of God, to whom God responded, “What right do you have to be angry?” (Jonah 4:4). And found no respite, no rescue, and no healing. I was once again stuck on a spinning wheel of confusion.
The thought, “I just want to go home” came into my mind over and over again, but I couldn’t discern the meaning of it. It didn’t mean New York, because the world seemed like it was falling apart up there as well. It didn’t mean Jacob, because he’s human, and it didn’t mean our home together, because that too was temporary. It didn’t mean the house in which I was now living. It didn’t mean Florida, where I was originally born.
“These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them, embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland…now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.” (Hebrews 11:13-14, 16)
As I cried, I thought of missing God. But how could I miss God if He was always with me? Oh, right. The past week had consisted of very little quality time with Him, as I worked through pressing assignments, tried to be there for all of the girls God put in my life, tried to spend time with the family with which I lived, and also virtually catch up on my marriage to Jacob, since the majority of the deployment thus far has been our disconnection. My mind was worn down by the constant staring at a screen for online homework. Persisting indulgence in staying up late for homework or reading strained my body. And I had, to my own detriment and to God’s mistreatment, placed my relationship with the One who can heal, revive, and humble me, on the back burner.
“Turn my eyes away from looking at worthless things, and revive me in Your way.” (Psalm 119:37)
I had cut myself off from my source of oxygen and prioritized other things, so it was no wonder I felt like I was drowning in relational failure. Melodramatic? Oh yes. Irrational? Probably. Feeling real in the moment? Unfortunately, also yes.
“Why does this keep happening to me?” I asked. Every time I tried to love someone the way I naturally loved, it felt like it accomplished the exact opposite of what I desired and intended, and then, when I tried to figure out how to love them better, I would execute even that poorly, and would fail yet again. What was wrong with me? What was I not understanding? What truth was I missing? Why did I keep hurting people? What did I need to fix?
“Oh, God…” I said as the sun shone through the sunroof. I groaned as I realized I’d turned off the car without closing it. “I have no stinkin’ clue what I’m doing.”
My friend Christie pulled up behind me—we were meeting up for lunch at the Fayetteville Pie Company (it’s exactly what you think it is). I became angry with myself for being such a wreck, but my relationship with her had grown enough that it didn’t matter if I was a mess in front of her; she loved me anyway. We would spend the next hour or so talking through all of my hurt, confusion, and feelings, and she would lovingly speak the truth I needed and clear up thoughts that I couldn’t conquer and clarify on my own. I was reminded of how God uses the Church to check me, change me, challenge me, and cherish me.
On the way back home, I would cry more, thinking I was emotionally tapped out, but realizing I wasn’t each time I cried—I cry about everything, just in case you didn’t see that. And I just thought through everything with God as I drove into the sunset (no, there was no awesome Western music full of velvet strings playing in the background, and I drove a black Civic instead of a Stallion). I didn’t speak directly to Him, but I knew He was listening and working through the thoughts with me. I was spent, needed rest, and knew where to find it.
Things are not perfect, and I’m still struggling with a bit of exhaustion and confusion, and I still don’t think I know where to start. But God appointed this time…He appointed the time justly, anticipated the confusion, and has the clarity prepared for prescription. When it seems like, in my emotions, the foundation of the earth shakes, it is God who holds its pillars firm.
“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10)