18 November 2007

mon coeur & the blender

i have been facing my days lately with nearly equal parts hope and dread. oftentimes, the scales noticeably favor one over the other, but the net result keeps me teetering somewhere in the middle. to say "a lot is on my mind" doesn't pay due diligence to the heart that churns, the mind fatigued with the flexing of weighty thoughts.

i am not someone who finds life altogether horrid or beyond bearing when i don't get my way. this is not to say that i don't get frustrated or angry, but i very much recognize the active movement of God in the dark (perhaps now more than ever); i trust He knows exactly what He's doing, but feel that i need to give whatever this is the space to breathe instead of keeping it tightly bound within my skin; i need to bring it into the light & open air. i need to call it out, spread it out in front of me, step back & get a good look at its many facets. maybe it will help. so as much as i hate to write about being sad & confused, my dislike for artifice is just as profound.

and now i hardly know how to begin. i hardly know what i expect or hope for from putting this out there, except to put it outside of myself. maybe this is, as a friend said, one way i can run to Him, one way i can lean into Him, put my weight against Him, know that He understands.

it's startling what can happen when you invite God to have His way with you. i remember just a few short months ago praying for Him to show me where i was in error; i asked Him to enlighten my intellect & strengthen my will to follow it. He certainly took me up on the offer, and life now is hardly the same as it was before i prayed that prayer. just a few weeks ago, i wrote about how i am in entirely foreign territory; my understanding is insufficient to guide me & the comfort i once gleaned from my relationships cannot meet me in this place. i did not realize how much i relied upon those things until i came to be in this place, stripped of them. it's as if i am learning to walk again, only this time i am being guided by an Unseen Hand.

even the one God used to bring me to the trailhead of this new way of faith, while still a welcome presence in my life, is in it now in a different capacity. and so i find myself unattached once more. this is territory with which i am achingly familiar. i am learning to trust God even in this, trusting that His timing is good. sometimes the truth buoys me, sometimes i hold securely to Him. but when not on my guard, i lose my grip & become overwhelmed with a profound & poignant sense of aloneness, the kind that comes when you've trusted your heart fully & made yourself transparent to another, believing this to be home only to find that it's not; at least not now.

and so i find myself in this tenuous place, awkwardly learning friendship. i need this friendship, need someone to whom i might unburden my thoughts, need to know another who has made this path, this way of faith his life. all the while i want the timing of this to be different; i feel guarded & cautious of my heart, fumbling about as i learn what it needs, trying to shed the residue of the more i wanted & simultaneously trying to behave as if i don't want it. if you'll allow me to be so colloquial, it's just plain weird sometimes.

solomon said hope deferred makes the heart sick. the second half of that proverb about a longing fulfilled seems to taunt me like a dangling carrot yanked out of view when i get the least bit close. this is certainly not the first time i've faced disappointment where relationships are concerned, but it is the first time i permitted myself to believe that the hope might find satisfaction. in my least charitable moments, it feels cruel that such a hope should be permitted to persist. its fulfillment appeared to be within reach, but i was wrong again. and yet this longing is looming about, attaching itself to me as firmly as ever in spite of being denied its fill once more.

i've brought this one to the altar again & again, desiring contentment with my single status, but concurrently unable to make it stick. i'm at an age where all but a handful of friends have married good men, settled into their respective homes. and here i am, a nomad in search of someone with whom i may settle. it feels as though i've been denied a seat at the grown-ups table, or remedial as if i've been held back a grade or two in school. sometimes i wonder if i'm the woman who can't get it right, who just doesn't get it, missing the big hints sent my way in blaring neon: this is not for you. get a clue!! it makes me feel so pathetic sometimes, this pleading, this vain banging of my fists on the floor.

i admit i've indulged this sadness, held it close as i would something precious. it's as if i held it tight, turned it over in my hands again & again, reluctant to let it go. not even really knowing what letting it go would mean or even that i was clinging to it so unremittingly. i attached myself firmly to what i felt was lacking & then asked God why He permitted the sense of loss to persist & thrive.

and then He brought me gently to the knowledge that once again, i am at the end of myself & my understanding. i cannot know what the future holds for my relationships, my writing, or anything that lies on the road between here & heaven. so i offer Him this large & vacuous heartspace, unable to fill it & utterly powerless to make it go away. here Lord, is my hope; here is that which i long for most. i was offering myself to Him in the midst of manifold unknowns, having been stripped of former comforts & dependencies. so in offering Him this additional piece, i offer Him something utterly empty yet again. i wish i had something of substance to give Him; He certainly deserves more. but i know that He specializes in filling empty things, in taking the vacancies we bring to Him & offering His abundance in return.

so there is some pain in this offering (who does not ache when God is about the work of excavation?), but this small sacrifice is very much bathed in & prompted by His mercy. His presence is pervading my days, even when the emptiness pricks & scrapes against my insides. i cling to Him knowing that while i know not where He leads, i can trust that He knows where He's taking me, that He is good, & that He knows what i need so much better than i do.

i'm putting all this this-ness out there not knowing quite what it is or why, not understanding what (if anything) might come of it; i don't think it's comfort & i'm certain it's not advice i seek. i guess i'm just hoping He'll use it: make something of the confused mess i bring Him, take my pathetic offering & turn it into something good.

this is me not knowing, not having any answers. this is me running to Him.


  1. For some reason, this post reminded me of these lyrics to 'in the bleak midwinter':
    "What can I give him, poor as I am?
    If I were a shepherd, I would bring a lamb;
    if I were a Wise Man, I would do my part;
    yet what I can I give him: give my heart...."

    i feel for you, kirsten... i really do. i've been in that place before and all i know, and i know you do to, is that God is faithful. and we somehow come out on the other side, wiser and stronger. hope is what sustains... so never give it up.

  2. Your hope deferred... what is it? Or am I being a terribly dense reader?

  3. Thanks, Blue! That same song came to mind for me as well. I just need to be directing my hope in the correct direction.

    Hi Laura. I didn't call out my "hope deferred" too explicitly, so no, you are not a dense reader! :o) Hope is deferred where my relationship status is concerned; I really allowed myself to hope that this was it like I haven't before in other relationships; I'm not sure if it's simply a matter of timing or of rightness, or some combination of the two. In any case, my heart was exposed & now I'm recovering from that.

  4. Ohh, you gonna make me cry again! Keep it up and I am going to have to stop comming (yeah right!!)

    What I have learned is that the best thing to to is seek contentment. Contentment with God, contentment with circumstance, contentment with ourselves. When yo do that, truly do that, God will come along and start to give you the desires of your heart.

    that is just my nickels worth though. Hang in there and know you are loved and prayed for!

  5. Sorry, Carl!! :o)

    "Out of the overflow of the heart, the mouth speaks" ... or in this case, the fingers type.

    I know that this is a season that will pass, but for the time being, I have to allow myself to be led through it. At least Jesus is good about sticking close & leading us through these rocky periods. Otherwise, I'd be a REAL basketcase! :o)

    Thanks for visiting again, & thank you even more for the care and prayers. Truly.

  6. ouch... i'm sorry it hurts so much right now. thanks for letting your fingers type out your heart...

  7. You really put it all out there—and what keeps coming to my mind is how much you want to please and know the Lord in everything. His promise will hold true that He strongly supports those whose hearts are completely His."

    I want to encourage you, Kirsten, that you are rarity: Godly, creative, mysterious, beautiful, funny and uber-nice. Your writing is so full of life and love, even when you are struggling. You say that you feel like you have been left behind, but you haven't. God knows the desires of your heart, and like an masterful artist, the color will come in this area of your life at the perfect time for the best composition.

    And you will be in awe.

  8. It’s so exhausting sometimes, the not knowing. I understand that feeling well. I’m glad you’ve found a place to rest.

  9. Katie - Yes, it does hurt right now, but it's getting better. And at least I can let Christ do something with it. At least I know He didn't innoculate Himself from human experiences like these. That does help. Thanks for stopping by!

    23 Degrees - I could weep with gratitude for your words. Putting this out there was a very "heart on my sleeve" move, & while there was some trepidation on my part in letting this all hang out, I am so terribly grateful for the encouragement I have received as a result, especially from those who have never met me, yet seem to have keen insights into not only this, but so many things (whew, that was a LONG sentence). :o)

    So, thank you really. I just returned from the gym & as I lay in the sauna after my workout, I shed tears of gratitude for all this. My cup runneth over, truly. Thank you.

    Blessings to you & your family this Thanksgiving!!

  10. Blessings to you and your family as well, my friend. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

  11. Kirsten, I don't have many words to offer in response to this post. My e-mail to you communicated some of my heart to you in this place. But I love your words. I subsist on them sometimes. :) And you beat with such a beautiful intensity.