I thought about you on my morning run:
You, in your twenties and full of life and zeal and expectation — who still goes home to yourself, at night, or rolls over, awake, next to your husband (who’s already conked) with a sprinkling of thoughts that plague the enthusiasm you carried for God during the day.
You, in your thirties — whose life experience has conspired to water down that once-passion for God. It’s not just when the lights are off that you battle. The carpool line, and pacing the aisle at the grocery store on a hunt for canned tomatoes, and while your children chatter away at the table, are all places where this once-passion is blanketed by thoughts of what you’re not and who He hasn’t been to you and the emptiness you feel.
Woman in your forties (or you in your fifties, your sixties) — your golden hour. You’ve reached “sage” status, with others coming to you for wisdom and input. Your gray hair is your crown, but many days you feel like you need a helmet. The battle in your mind has different dressing now, but some of the lies of your twenties are still right there. Fresh, as if they were new.
I huffed and puffed on my run — thinking of you — coercing tired-mama bones to keep moving.
But it was my own heart that felt arthritic.
And it was my own life that made me think of you.
It’s mornings like this that I wonder if I’ll carry this same struggle, this same fight, to the grave. Wasn’t it just yesterday that I was twenty and battling thoughts of fear or judgment or anger — all wrapped into something I might call “a personality”? Wasn’t it just yesterday I thought these might just go away, one day?
Age can weary a person in a way that has nothing to do with birthdays and everything to do with years of battling the same lies.
Weren’t we meant to be victorious in God?
She looks at me from underneath that tiny body with eyes of a twenty-five year old. She’s no longer hidden behind Gap jeans and neon headbands and bows. Deep questions about God have a way of breaking through even the costume change.
“Why did God turn His back on me, Mommy?”
What do you say to the former-orphan, who played in the dirt under no one’s physical watch — while the friends she has, now, took ballet classes and learned to read and had grandparents at their birthday celebrations?
She has me, now, but as she so readily pointed out, there were years where she had no one. And the one who incubated her nascent frame — who felt her first kick and heard her newborn scream and whose flesh first touched her — has no story to tell, now.
My little girl had years to amass thoughts about God and about herself that grew unfettered. She has a library of them. They teach her what to see and how to see it. Subtly.
Her life lens is shaped by her loss.
Where do you go from there?
I teach her what I need to learn myself — again. He has Words for this loss and all the lies that she associates with it. He has comfort that’s more than a hand on her back.
He can lift her out of this rut, but she will need to participate.
She has years of false understandings that He is waiting to re-write with Himself. With His Word.
(And so does her mama.)
Nothing about approaching His Word is meant to be passive. It feels like a history book to us — until we wrap our hands around it and let it course like blood through our insides.
His Word can’t be a way out for us unless we reach for it.
We have minutes being given over to a slow death that we passively accept as “just our thoughts”, when the Word on the page and the Word in the God-Man came so that we wouldn’t be thirty and still drowning and forty with those twenty year-old thoughts.
Your fear of the crew around you rejecting you if they really knew certain parts of you, the anger you have towards your son (when no one is looking), your secret schemes to escape and the biting thoughts you have towards that friend who hurt you — are stealing your life, one minute at a time.
There is a Word, from Him, for every one of these words flitting through your mind and thieving your perspective.
It’s days after our conversation and I peek over her shoulder as she writes in the moleskin that we’ve designated just for the “the best thoughts” — the words she wants to remember — and here’s what she wrote:
When my father and my mother forsake me,
Then the Lord will take care of me. Psalm 27:10
She replaced the lie.
She won one minute back.
She reached for the way out.
My little girl is one step closer to nights in her twenties and thirties and sixties, when she’s falling asleep, talking to Him, and waking up hungry for His Word as her food.
So, you — feeling like you’re sitting under a wet blanket of thoughts that just might keep you in a fog for another decade — how are you approaching His Word? Is it a textbook to you, or a lifeline? Are you approaching it as it is — your. only. hope?
Making It Practical: If this answer is “yes, it’s a textbook to me, these days” and “yes, I’m living under a weight of thoughts I’ve just begun to accept” — might I suggest changing it up? Sing His Word. Say it, loud, when you’re alone — not just under your breath — but up the stairs and down. In the shower. On the morning commute. Choose one phrase or passage, specific to the very area in which you struggle, and speak it like a cadence, this time under your breath, up and down the aisles of the grocery store.
Ask Him to breathe on it.
And expect your heart to shift.
One minute at a time.
And here’s a little sneak peek into some printables we’re going to be providing here in late fall for this very purpose. Print this one up and carry it with you. I might just pin it to my shirt ;).
[Just about ten days left to receive a free adoration prayer guide and free Instagram printables for those who pre-order Every Bitter Thing Is Sweet. Details here.]