Of course it happens that my most raw post so far, the one I didn’t plan on sharing publicly, quickly became the most read one, bringing more viewers to this blog in one day than the past 2 weeks combined. It’s funny how raw-ness does that. So I figured you dear readers might want to hear the rest of the story. Because Jesus never ends a story in the night or puts down the pen to leave us alone in darkness.

I woke up the next morning to proof of the blessing of having a good friend, who offered to do whatever I needed so that I could just go be. When I left my child with her and got in my car, I felt so free. I could go anywhere, do anything, and be anyone, with no time constraint. And I had it in my mind that I would go be that me that I long to be. That free, fearless, happy me. I drove off into the wilderness and loved every second of that. But once the initial anticipation wore off, my story didn’t go the way I wanted. 2 hours later, after traversing steep creek banks, fording streams multiple times, finding overhanging trees to sit on only to stand up moments later, driving across town, walking my prairie, talking with a turtle, and climbing back into my car, I felt defeated. Not only did I not find that me out there, I was so burdened by caution that I wasn’t even happy, let alone free. God sent me to Starbucks to gather my thoughts, and here are remnants of our conversation:

Oh beloved one, why can’t you see you are loved?

I don’t know, why can’t I? That wasn’t the best question to ask me. I don’t know why I can’t, isn’t that the problem?
I’m sorry, this isn’t going to work. I’m sorry You wasted Your time and Leslie’s on me
There is just such a huge callous around my heart that I’m just looking at You skeptically no matter what You’re saying, because Your words can’t find their way into my heart. And I’m sorry for that, I’m just powerless to fix it.

I’m with You in your distress, but I’m not shaken by it. There could never be something more important for Me to do than sit here with you. I’m not codependent, I don’t love you because I need to or I need you. I love you just because I do. I can’t help it and I don’t want to. You can’t talk me out of it. And you know what? If you never get to “that” you, I won’t be disappointed. I won’t love you less. I have no agenda with you. No, even today I had no agenda for our time together. Do this or that, I don’t care. Just let Me do it with you.

What would that mean? What would it look like? I don’t want to just “tack that” onto whatever I am doing. I want it to be real. If I’m doing it with You, I want to really be with You. Completely present mind, body and soul, and I don’t know how to do that.
I’m so cautious, so afraid of messing up.
I tread so lightly on the creekbed that I make no dent in it, and I’m not really there. I want something to change with my presence. I want something to say “the dear one was here” because I genuinely was. Today I passed like a ghost through many places, phasing through grasses and tress, leaving none of myself in any of those places and gaining no substance by them. Squandered. I feel like that time was squandered. Time spent much better elsewhere.
My bones are thirsty and I need water that can make me well. But I didn’t find it anywhere today.
When I left to go with You I felt so free. Anywhere, anytime. Free to find You. Then I got cut in on by caution, safety in the temporal, and I couldn’t overcome it. So I stayed this me when I could have been the other.

And I loved them both.

I just want to feel free in both.

I can fight for that. I can’t do it if you think it’s for Me, that I only love one of “you”. I love the real one, whichever one you are in this moment. 
But if it’s for you, if this transformation is because you want it, I can fight for that.
Do you want this? You aren’t under any expectation or compulsion to do this. It isn’t for anyone else. 
Do you want to be made new?

yes.

Alright. 
Then let’s begin.

And here I sit, 2 days later.
I can’t tell you something big has happened. No obvious transformation has occurred.

But something has definitely begun.

The evidence was first felt yesterday when, throughout the day, a little meek voice inside of me would look up to Him and ask for help: ask to be made new.

Then I danced and laughed. I kissed babies and cried when they kissed me back.

In a sense, I went back in time, among people that I love from a lifetime ago, who knew a very different me. But I loved them still, oh so much, and I was among them, really with them. Yet I didn’t feel lost in the history of it all. I was this me, this current me in this current time. And I smiled, and cherished the value of a smile sent my way. And I laughed and rested in hearing the laughs of ones I love. I hugged and was still, not even listening to the old sea of insecurity beckoning me back under its tide.

Then, moments later, I was ushered to the future; to be among a group of people that I don’t know well, although I likely soon will. And with the comfort of a friend I was able to really be there: dancing and goofing off, giggling with those giggling at us, singing horribly and then doubling over in laughter at the spectacle of it all. Seconds later I was resting; standing barefoot on a perfect bed of moss as the mist came down.

And I was me in both, in both times and dimensions:
where the old me intersected with this new one,
and there where no me had yet been.
I was safe,
and I was loved.
And it was beautiful.

After my post a couple days ago, I got more responses than I ever have to my blog, and many of them were dear hearts who found themselves in the same place: struggling and feeling alone in the struggle, hating the person they have been and feeling lost to become the person they want to be, wanting reprieve from the burden but glimpsing the necessity of it, and desperately longing for Jesus to come journey with them but not knowing how to ask. Dear brothers and sisters, thank you. Thank you for sharing your hearts with me and valuing mine as I shared it with you. Your hearts are so beautiful to me, and I have loved glimpsing just how beautiful they are to Him too.
So here’s my encouragement dear sister, here’s my pleading dear brother: don’t stop.
If you find yourself outside the door to His presence in the middle of your night, don’t go home. It’s okay to not go in too, because He surely will never push us if we aren’t ready. But He will come outside to keep you safe and warm and let you sleep, waiting for the morning dew to bring you back to life. You can stay there as long as you need to, but don’t tarry longer than the moment you are ready. Life is on the other side of that door. Raw, honest, heart-breaking and heart-healing life. Be real with Him. And if, like me, your heart has been too hurt and calloused to hear His reply, don’t walk away, but let His voice slowly soften it until you can feel your own heartbeat again; your own joy, your own laughter, your own tears, met melodiously by His. Your heart is not your enemy. He wouldn’t have paid such a high price for it if He thought so. You are dearly beloved, and He will leave no stone unturned when you let Him come in and be your salvation.
You are adored daughters and sons, whose Father welcomes you into His kingdom with open arms. He is not slow, but He’s patient, so you can take the time you need. But being back on the other side of that door again I’m urging you to come, because believe me, you won’t want to miss a moment.

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