far away and hard

James is sleeping, Lukas is at work, Tabby is across the street at the babysitters house, I’m all alone in my bedroom, pen in hand, wrestling with more faith/religion stuff.

I held and went thorough my Bible in the first time since…well, I have no memory of the last time I did so. Up in my bedroom is where I typically sneak away for a moment to myself, but my Bible has been downstairs in my book bag from the last time I went to a coffee shop to do some writing. I took it, but didn’t open it, then, and it stayed down there. Anytime I’m upstairs, the Bible has felt far away. We have two sets of stairs in our three story home and we joked just yesterday about how TERRIBLE it is to be down in the garage, only to remember there’s something we need in the master bedroom, three stories, and two flights of stairs away.

My Bible wasn’t on the 1st floor, only one set of stairs away, and yet going to get it, still felt hard. I could run into a child who needed something, or a husband who needed something, or a post-it note from my to do list that needed something. There were logical reasons why the Bible felt far away and the task to retrieve it felt hard.

This morning, as I sat in my chair with journal open, I felt drawn to the book downstairs. The house was “empty” (a sleeping baby makes the house as good as empty!). There would be no interruptions on the trip down and I could use the down and back stair climbing exercise anyway. Today, there were no excuses. I jogged to the kitchen and back up in less than 45 seconds.

I opened the book, read some stuff, wrote some stuff, flipped some pages, and then decided I’d rather type what I was uncovering, instead.

When my Bible was downstairs if felt far away and it felt hard. That book is now sitting right next to me, I can touch it, I can hold it and open and — it still feels far away and it still feels hard.

There have been seasons of life, this little book was a source of certainty. When I opened it, the exact words jumped out of the page for my exact situation. I looked to it for guidance. Everything I found in there fit, it made sense, it brought clarity.

I encounter people who still experience this.

Just yesterday, two beautiful older women who have lived in my community 30+ years, came to sit on the porch with me and Tabs. We watched them as they came to our street, parked, and instantly I knew they were on a mission. Dressed in their finest, one holding a cane, I watched them get their bearings on the street, talk to others dressed like them finding places to park, and then wave to us as they walked by.

“Do you know who we are?”

It was a funny question shouted across the skinny two lane neighborhood road.

“No, m’am, I don’t know who you are.”

I hollered back, coffee cup in hand.

“Someone will be over to talk to you soon.”

Tabby and I watched (and discussed since her three year old mind had A LOT of “why” questions) them knock on our neighbors door. We knew our neighbors were there but they decided to not answer. My guess is these beautiful women get that a lot. A pamphlet was left and they made their way down the driveway back to the street. Looking left and right, and then straight ahead at me, the younger of the two, made the decision that we were next.

“Well, I guess we’ll come over to you!”

The two women did in fact have a mission. I’m still not quite sure what it was but man, they were clear on their purpose. The younger one especially, she had a plan, she had her program and her outline and her prepared message. She used her Bible at different points and shared words I was all too familiar with.

She was so certain. So convinced. So determined she knew the answers.

Answers about God, about eternity, about how we are supposed to be, here, before eternity begins.

I felt inferior, I felt defensive, I felt backed into a corner. Not because of anything she said or didn’t say but because she was was so certain and I am so not.

I don’t know the point of all this. I don’t know what God is doing. I think I do sometimes, I get glimpses, but it’s not always. Nothing is always.

I do feel God’s peace, and then I don’t.
I do feel confident God is here, and then I don’t.
I do trust He’s in control, and then I don’t.
I do believe He’s making all things new, and then I don’t.
I do believe He is for me, and then I don’t.
I do feel strong to suffer, and then I don’t.
I do feel Holy Spirit in me, and then I don’t.

My Bible feels far away and hard right now and I think that’s okay. I am okay. I haven’t lost myself or my card carrying Christian membership. I haven’t lost my influence or my impact or my connection to God, His people and His mission. I’ll keep asking Him if there’s something I need to change, I’ll keep asking Him for discipline and diligence and guidance. Sometimes that ask looks like a song lyric or a conversation with a friend or a journal entry or a blog post or a chapter in a book. Sometimes it’s scripture, sometimes it’s not.

In this moment, I am certain of two things — God exists and God is good. That’s about it. The rest? I’m learning how to sit in the discomfort of the uncertain. Letting go of certainty is scary, but it hasn’t killed me, it hasn’t crushed me, hell, there’s even JOY here. There’s joy and there’s life even when certainty feels far away and faith stuff feels hard.

xoxo, va

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