“I want to go back to that first passionate flame where things first began.”
She had been waging silent wars over so many areas of her life that had been under attack, placing all of her effort into marching onward that she felt like somehow she started over there in this beautiful, victorious, fearless place & ended up half way across the map in a swamp, inching her way forward ready for whatever lie beneath the surface ready to attack at any moment. The fight had burnt her out & left her tired of the weight of her armor.
I don’t know why the Lord has continued to bring her prayer to mind over the past couple months, but its felt significant, filling my day with a million mental alarms, reminding me to do a placement check. Where are you? Where do you want to be?
What if God was using this circumstance in the petri dish to breed something that could only grow because of the painful souvenirs that have compiled in your luggage from the hard places you’ve been?
Maybe he asking you to get down on your hands & knees & unzip that suitcase you’ve left in the corner of the dining room, telling yourself when you have the energy you’ll put everything away. Maybe he’s sitting in front of it, waiting for you to join him, so you don’t have to sift & sort through it alone.
Maybe he’s not asking you to place all of your survival trophies on your mantle to display for the world, & if that’s you I want you to know that you are okay— you don’t have to spill the tea on where you’ve been & how you got each scar. You can be genuine & honest & vulnerable & not overshare. But I know he wants you to unzip the bag to let his healing breath in to air things out with him.
The aftermath of my first miscarriage was a pretty treacherous trail with no railings of truth to keep me on a solid path. I believed in Jesus, but wanted to believe his plans were different than they were. I wanted so badly to believe that that first plus sign was to the angels fault. In my mind, I left myself to believe that those weeks our girl took up in the womb were a mistake & her time wasn’t really then. God messed up, & he would give her back later when it was really time for me to carry her on earth. I told myself there was no way that God would create something so beautiful for seven weeks, give me incredible dreams of her, & not bring her back to change the world.
I remember when I first knew that I was pregnant again, a couple months later, & telling myself I never really lost her. It wasn’t a miscarriage. It was a false alarm. All is well. She’s back.
But she wasn’t… Luca was, & I’ve had to learn what it looks like to stop keeping this & the other hard moments in a separate box in the web-entangled attic. How to only give God permission to use the good things.
So many car rides in my life & quiet nights before sleep have been filled with my trying to wrestle my way back, wondering how I could get back to the person I was before ___________, or trying to think about how I could’ve done _____________ differently. I’ve overthought it all, trying to plan & piece together a collective best version of myself from each season, leaving the hard to rehash parts in the past, tucking them deeper into the suitcase. As long as the suitcase stays shut, I can keep moving forward into who God created me to be.
But the suitcase is a part of what He’s building me into.
What if that version of ourself we’re scrambling to rebuild wasn’t meant to be relived or revived but instead, a simple part of our story to look back on with new eyes to see in full what the Lord saw as good, & to sit in awe as we gaze back reflecting,
“Wow, that was more beautiful than I ever knew.”
The truth is this: no matter what place you’re in, something will grow. Every place is breeding grounds for something. The whole idea of moving forward in our faith or back sliding is a deceiving contrast in that way, because there is no real way to stand still or go backwards. We’re all moving forward into something, whether golden or muck. Every single choice, a deliberate step onto some path ahead. Whether we’re talking mold, other bacteria, new habits, the future, you name it— “_______ are breeding grounds for ______.” Friend: you’re growing something.
& I think deep down we know this, & its why we try to shove more through the tiny opening in the suitcase & put all of our weight on it in order to let nothing out. We’re just wrong in our tainted thinking that God won’t add our ugly to the recipe for His glory.
So what’s in your petri dish? What are you trying to create & multiply? Last week I finally made time to give myself to a writing intensive led by Hannah Brencher that I bought months ago, & in it she talks about knowing your inner motor. Every fictitious character & every God-breathed soul walking the earth has some gravitational pole hoisting them forward toward some motive or end goal. What is that inner motor & are our decisions & what we’re feeding into the petri dish things that will give life to that?
Praying for you, friend. I’m praying & believing this for you— that you can find victory, new life, & restoration by unzipping your luggage, taking a deep breath, & asking God what he’d like you to do with each thing. You can do hard things, & they can be part of His glory, too.