“What life have you, if you have not life together?”
T. S. Eliot (The Rock, 1934)
This weekend, Love drove out fear.
My fears. Of moving to another country. Of leaving everything I know behind.
Fear had begun to fester. Worry set in. Then disengagement, disconnection, isolation.
I don’t do well when I can’t name things, explain things, write it all out and flourish it with a pretty little bow.
I don’t do well with in-betweens. And right now I’m in between jobs, in between countries, in between lives.
To put it mildly, I’ve been shutting down. Not an earth shattering break down, just a slow dulling of emotions, tamping down of fear, tuning out of daily life to be lulled by the constant hum of doubt and second guessing.
My prayers of gratitude shifted to pleas for peace.
And on Saturday morning, God answered my plea.
My friends and roommates threw me an incredible “Brunch Voyage” going away party complete with every delicious brunch food imaginable and all of my favorite people in San Diego.
Not only did my gooey pancakes topped with Nutella, raspberries, and chocolate sprinkles fill my belly, the company was sustenance for my soul.
I don’t write about my friends very often because I haven’t really figured out a way to talk about them without sounding like every other social media user who writes “my hubbie is the BEST <3” or “FAB weekend with my girlz.”
Of course most people think their friends are the best ever. But I really do think I’ve got a unique thing going.
My friends from college have become my family. They have been the most shaping influence on my life. They daily challenge me and encourage me and draw out my hideous witch cackle laugh like nobody’s business.
And this weekend God used them. He used them to remind me of who I am.
A speaker at my church once said, “The people we love the most reveal our God-given identities,” and I’ve found that to be exactly right.
On Saturday my San Diego family joined together to remind me of who and whose I am.
When my own prayers had fallen flat, when I’d become caught in a cyclone of burnout and apathy, when I began to doubt my own ability to experience God, my friends showed up.
With their words and pancake toppings and hugs and prayers, they breathed life back into me.
They reminded me that I am not alone. That I don’t have to hear from God alone. That I was created for community.
The most meaningful and humbling part for me was when they spoke words of affirmation. They affirmed my character and my dreams, reminding me of who I am and who I want to be. They recounted the promises God has spoken to me. They told stories of the shifts and triumphs I’ve already experienced.
More than just offering reassuring words (everyone likes to hear good things about themselves), my friends’ words revealed the thread of God’s presence and purpose and love in my life.
And it was this Love that drove out my fears. My friends’ love for me. Their love for God. Their reminders that Love is with me and goes before me, even all the way to Guatemala.
When everyone finally cleared out of our living room and the final plates were scrubbed of maple and boysenberry syrup, I found myself stunned.
Overwhelmed by their words and overwhelmed by God’s grace. And in awe of the transformation that had taken place in my heart in just a few hours’ time.
Numbness had given way to a full array of emotions. Weeping had turned to laughing. Sadness to joy.
And, like most meaningful times in my life, all I can say is Thank You.
To my friends I say thank you for your prayers for safety and purpose and community and vision.
Thank you for your cards and quotes and books and letters. They are more meaningful than you know.
Thank you for your time given up on a Saturday morning.
Thank you for your tears and emotion shed for me.
Thank you for speaking to my God-given identity.
The day was life giving.
The day was hope bringing.
The day was from God.
And to God I say Thank You as well.
Thank you for speaking through my community to remind me of your goodness, to remind me of who I am, to point me to who you are calling me to be by reminding me of your promises and your work in my life.
Thank you for loving me and shaping me and speaking to my heart. Thank you for this life we have together.