I am watching the sunrise on the first day of fall. Today is the start of fall. Did you know that? I keep trying to find ways to mark the time.
Because I need to know there are still fresh starts.
Yes, I know, His mercies are new every morning. New every season. New every year.
But sometimes it helps mark it. Sometimes it helps to write SEPTEMBER 23 in big, bold letters across the page. It helps to write WELCOME TO FALL in the same journal where you wrote about the suffocating heat of summer.
I am marking my way through this year. Months. Seasons. Half birthdays. It’s partly to remember that I'm not stuck here. It’s partly to remember what He’s done. It’s partly to remember that He isn’t done, that this (whatever this is) won’t be like this forever.
My twenty-eighth birthday happened last winter in the middle of one of the most chaotic weeks of my entire life. A young woman came into my life and my home for 4 days that rocked the core of my world. I watched the way darkness closed in thick and oppressive, and I mourned the fact that it was real. I mourned the fact that it was tangible. I fought the fact that it seemed to win. I fought to get my footing back on unfamiliar ground. I wrestled the Lord for joy and hope as shadows stretched across what had once seemed simple.
And He met me right there. In a way I would not have expected. In a way that I couldn’t see at the time.
I have never been more tempted to shut down and pull back.
I wanted my skin to thicken. He seemed to be rubbing it raw.
Change rubbed off callouses of comfort. Illness chaffed against stubborn independence, and I learned what it was to reach for help not because it was offered but because it was needed. Disappointment knocked hard against the barriers I had erected around uncertainty, and stones that I had stacked as protection crashed around me. All that had been clear blurred through tired eyes.
I lay weary, taking inventory. Stunned into silence not by some great tragedy but by a million little hits that I hadn’t seen coming. A million little wounds that I bandaged on my own and let fester.
We have to let those wounds see light again, even if hurts. Sometimes it’s awkward. Undressing usually is. And these wounds, these places we’ve denied the Healer access, we’ve got to undress them. We’ve got to expose them again before the One whose touch can make them well.
But sometimes He has to make us feel them again first.
Sometimes the healing begins with rebreaking, with the shaking loose of everything we’ve bound up, with the pouring out of what we’ve stuffed down.
We do fall. Hopefully at His feet. And we lay there. Emptied. Looking up at this great big God who has knelt down beside us. And we find beauty in the thing that we hated.
Because we find out that He was there. Because we find healing of wounds we thought were terminal. Because we find rest freed from burdens that we’d decided were ours to bear.
Because we find Him.
In exactly the place we were convinced He had left us.