After I cried I called a friend back home. She is the mother of nine kids and it was 11pm on the east coast, so I sent a text first, to be considerate. We don't talk often, but there is never chatter about days and weather when we do. More likely we are either about to cry or finishing our crying and the hurried rush of words comes out sounding like "Ineedyoutoprayforme."
She listens and counsels and challenges and asks hard questions like "Well, you say that you're struggling here, but is there sin that you're not repenting of?" and "Where are you not obeying the Lord cheerfully?" I call her because I know she will pray for me, but more than that, she will send me to bed with questions ringing in my mind still.
She is a good mother. I know this because her children love her, but also because despite only four years difference in our ages, she understands that nurturing isn't a season of life, but a way of it.
"I'm afraid," I said to her. "I'm afraid that what life looks like right now will be life forever and that old patterns and old ways of thinking are creeping in again, and instead of fighting the me-monster, I want to curl into a ball, stay home, say no to everything, and pity me." And this is the truth, I'm telling you too.
What you read here, on this nicely package, pretty pastel, alliterated links page is the wrestled, true, but it's also the wrestling and I can't have you forget that. Okay?
But more than that, I can't have myself forget that.
It's a safety net for me, I know, to say that. I am warning you before things get too messy that things will get messy and that my heart isn't sure or certain, and that doubts and fears creep in, strangling hope. It's the cheater's way out, to say that. It's why I'll never write a book because, I said in an email last week:
"I am terrified that the story I will tell will be true only while I am telling it and I will carry the guilt of a half-truth for the rest of my life. It's the fraud that scares me. This is why I write tonight in my post, 'they feel that they know the real you.' They read what we write and it feels like a collective secret to them--things I wouldn't verbalize and barely process beyond sentence structure and pithy lines to draw them in. They feel they know the truth and by the time they've read it, it's untrue already. So you're more brave than most, binding your words in a book. Blogging is hard, thankless work, but it's the weak way out. I know this. I'm not okay with it, but I know it."
Here is what I know: deep, deep within me, I am a fraud.
I know this because when my friend is asking me hard questions about sin and gratefulness last night, my mouth is saying what does not reflect my heart. I think I'm telling her the truth, but later, this morning, I can list the litany of unconfessed sin and unrepentant acts. I live life glancing over my shoulder, trying to stare down the desperation of my heart. I am desperate for righteousness, but only because true righteousness means rest and I'm desperate for rest.
I want to end this on hope, but I need to come out of the closet and my closet feels dark and small today. A friend tells me this week that you keep wrestling with God until God wins and I like that picture. I like it because it is of no surprise to God that we are wrestling or that we want to win, or think we can. But it should be of no surprise to us that in the end (and all the meantimes in between) God will still win.
So I do find rest in this. I find rest in His righteousness, His final win.