You know those months or seasons rather, where life is coming at you so quickly all you can do is try and catch your breath? It’s not even about the details, simply that life has just been happening all together too fast with it’s changes, events, discoveries, pains, joys and everything in between.
Everyone I talked to from this past summer seems to have been living in sort of universal pressure cooker. Maybe you can relate. Life has been my best attempt at trying to stay in stride with the engagements, marriages, unexpected changes, new jobs, bad car accidents, loss of jobs, disappointment dreams, launches, learning of traumas experienced by others, new roommates and relationships of the community around me. Supporting where I can, sitting in silence with someone while they are hurting, letting them yell, cry, figuratively smash things against the wall, celebrate new chapters and dream of next ones.
I’ve spent the past six months scattered to the rhythm of life around me, while working to maintain the many roles I’ve been carrying. Sister, friend, follower of Christ, entrepreneur, consultant, church and community member. If we’re being honest, I’ve not done entirely great at any of those one things. I have been learning about how imperfectly wonderful our stories are when we open our hands and hearts to be led wherever is next. Extending both ourselves and others a whole lot of grace.
While my community of family and friends have been navigating intense transition or events – my summer was filled with my family in the NW, three important weeks with my baby sister, a bad car accident, new projects, heartache, learning, new dreams, weariness, wonder and total breaking.
After a trip to celebrate Gina’s graduation and visit family in the Pacific Northwest, I brought my favorite human back to Nashville with me. The three weeks we had together was so special – it always is. This time was different than ones before, it wasn’t entirely made of adventure and sweet days. Having so much one on one time I started to see how she had been progressively struggling harder and harder with connecting to the world around her. For the first time in her twenty-ones years I was having a hard time reaching her. At a loss, I prayed hard, and got simple with our days and trying to find ways to connect.
In the midst of her time in Nashville, we were in a serious car accident with my friend Tara. Quite miraculously protected, where we shouldn’t have walked away as easy we did. A young driver had fallen asleep at the wheel and propelled towards us at 45 mph as we sat still in a turning lane. Head on, only the slight turn of the wheels Tara made at the last minute prevented total impaling of both the car and all of us inside.
The image of post impact with little Gina sitting in the front seat, airbags deployed throughout the vehicle, smoke pouring out of her mouth, the look of shock mixed with fear on her face – was enough to undo me. As they transported us to the hospital, I sat behind her stretcher, and as my vitals were being taken, silently wept. Shock mixed with knowledge of what almost had just took place to both my sister and friend. The medics politely told me I had to stop crying or they were going to start for it was actually the saddest cry they’d seen. Got it, got it, got it.
Gina, as always was a total champ. Once the cute male doctors arrived in the ER, she happily proclaimed this our July Disaster and kept saying So happy we’re alive. We’re miracles!
Yes, my girl, yes we were.
We recovered at the attention of my sweet friends and the generosity of my mom for girl days. It’s incredible what happens when you’re people arrive immediately on the scene of crisis – advocating for you at the hospital, supplying gallons of OJ and mashed potatoes. It’s the simplest, and most present kind of love to experience. The kind that sets their alarm every 4 hours to wake you and ensure you’re not bleeding in your brain because of a bad concussion, making sure your pain meds are in supply. I have been silly blessed with good people, I’m telling you.
Mid July ended the Sister Nashville Summer trip, saying farewell to Gina, heartbroken putting her on the plane. Saying goodbye to her never gets easier. Her response to my tears before boarding the plane You’re going to be fine! I’ll call you! (she was fine, obviously)
After Gina headed home I felt as though I took a side step back into my life, which was simply humming with to-do’s, days filled to the hilt, and a powerful not so subtle prompting that I needed to start writing my story. Not great timing I kept repeating.
The weeks flew by and I found myself on a Wednesday morning amidst an insane week of work and event prep for an upcoming prayer gathering. The moment I woke up, I felt in my spirit God say, turn your phone off, sit down and start writing. Right now?! I threw back. Yes, right now. It’s not entirely something I can describe but rather a deep knowing that there was someone, somewhere who needed me to sit down and be willing to lay it out on paper. All of the pivotal memories of the abuse, breaking, hopelessness – but more importantly the healing, restoration and transformation of the heart that has taken place in my life through Jesus these last years.
So, I started. While pushing my way through work and commitments, writing 40,000 words in twelve days. A dam had burst open in my heart and as I weaved in and out of memories that have shaped, broken and healed me it took everything in me not to stop. On the thirteenth day, I finished my last sentence of the first draft and laid on my bed facing outside looking at the trees – silent. My heart was exhausted, it was body and soul kind of tired that felt mighty and a bit reckless.
Since writing those words, that pile of pages is now on a journey, one that I am excited to see where it leads. If those pages were for my sisters and I to discover greater healing – it would be worth it.
Something happened when I wrote those 40,000 words. The unseen heaviness of the memories and stories that had been right below the surface now had life outside of me – I slept deeper than I can ever remember.
There is so much happening these days. It would be so easy to become overwhelmed, but what I’ve been learning to deeper levels is – obedience. What beautiful things come when you unclench your fists, let your hands – your arms open wide, and say Whatever Your Will. It’s a daring thing to say, and trust me, God listens when you speak.
But among the pressurized summer months, and the life that’s being lived full throttle around me, I am being called quietly, firmly into daily of acts of obedience. Letting go of everything that has paralyzed me and preparing for new purpose and direction. I find myself crying at the strangest times, or needing more quiet than normal. Finding that in these seasons of so much change, learning and commitments you simply need to extend yourself more grace than usual. (and drink lots of good coffee)
I know that we’re giving life our best shot. Diligent in the commitments, and frustration of the present. Making bold moves to follow our hearts and dreams – others working at building structures and roots. Humbling ourselves in the waiting of dreams yet to be seen.
Tonight, I just wanted to encourage you to keep going. I needed to tell myself that today too – and thought you might need it as well. Among the changes, pressing deadlines, disappointment, excitement, stillness and digging – be obedient to the prompting in your heart. It’s unique to you. It’s important.
Keep going, keep daring.
Unclench your fists, open your hands, extend your arms and breathe in.
With as much joy as you muster, trust the step ahead of you, and then the next one