letting be

We gather around the casket.

The priest is saying words, a prayer maybe, but I am not paying attention. My eyes are going from my brother, to the ground, to the way he holds my hand.

He is strength while I am weak. I know I’m leaning hard into his right shoulder, shaking with the heaviness of this grief. He doesn’t let go of me.

He doesn’t let go when we walk back to the car, away from the burial of our grandma. Who wore a blue babushka, squeaky white shoes, and always told me to “never get old.”


He never let go when he walked me to the casket to say final goodbyes. He stands at my left, telling me I can touch her hand. I cannot speak. I am stuck on how her hands look like a folded prayer.

He doesn’t let go as we sit and greet people for a three day viewing. I ask him to stay and he does. Only leaving to bring back cucumber water.

I tremble and he looks at me with concern, are you okay? I think I laugh nervously and say, yes, I just want her to get up. Wake up. I am afraid and heavy. I think he knows, offering his silence.

He doesn’t let go when we sit together for the funeral mass. He traces the bottoms of his brown shoes, making me laugh as everyone weeps. When I am supposed to be singing.

He doesn’t let go when we leave the church. He still is making me laugh, over the priest singing too fast to be understood. 

He doesn’t let go on the plane ride home. He asks if I want his blanket, drapes the red square, says, you can lean on me if you want. And I do.

Losing my grandmother before Christmas of 2014 took everything out of me. It took everything out of my family. One question has echoed from God to me throughout this healing, will you be content with how I show myself to you?

If I’m honest, I haven’t been content with the way God reveals himself to me. I always want it to be big, grand, and since my grandma has passed I’ve wanted him to part the clouds, come down and say, it’s all going to be alright. I’m taking you home with me.

I’ve just wanted the grief to go away.

But God knows I’m not ready to go to heaven yet. I need to see him here on earth. In a personal way. I need it more than I can understand.

I never expected God to come in such small tangible ways as he did through my brother.

From refusing to let me sit in the car the day we found out my grandma passed. Handing me the last Coke, his favorite soft drink. A slice of double fudge chocolate cake I don’t remember eating maybe one bite of from his job.

All these little, wonderful ways that hit the most in my need. 

And maybe that’s what God has been revealing about himself since those moments with my brother.

You will find your contentment when you are empty. In me.

I will pull you from your brokenness. I will say your name with love in my eyes. I will wipe your tears with a paper towel. I will give you nourishment. I will hold you up. I will make you laugh just to see you smile.

I will cover you always with my love. And you are  free to lean in and receive me. Forever.

Author’s Note: I’ve been holding onto this for 2 years. 2 years of complete fear, bad dreams, friends who’ve showed up time and time again with texts and calls and prayers and themselves. Family who manage to make me laugh and smile, regardless if they know the ache is still very much alive inside. Not just for me/family, but anyone who has lost someone.

2 months ago something prompted me to finally write this, finally let it out, breathe. I still don’t want to let this go. The tears are still randomly coming and I don’t know what will happen.

But today, I’m letting it go.

Whoever reads this, in whatever state you find yourself in today, know God is with you. He doesn’t leave in the high places and will hold you so near in the low, sometimes you won’t even be aware. You are never alone & his light never leaves you. He is the same yesterday, today, tomorrow. And father, I pray you make this known to us today, everyday, that your love, You never change. Your love, faithfulness chases us always. In the sorrow. In the happy. You turn our mourning into joy. Be with us wherever we may be. In Jesus name. Amen.

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world won’t topple me

Even as I cry holding the danimal yogurt close

To my lips – I hear you say

Be thankful for this, my child.

It will be okay. You will smile again- I promise. Come, rest.

And I stand, feeling weak. I need 

You, Abba. I need Your hand to

remind what is to spin and laugh 

As if the cares of this w

Fmf: rest.

I did a lot of crying yesterday. I felt like at any moment, i was going to burst into a million pieces over friends pain, my own pain. Everything made me just want to sit and cry. I don’t understand why even the smallest thing makes me want to cry, unless God is breaking me open to his love. So gently, too.

Sitting still to be loved is hard.

smile heals me

If I lose my mustard seedof faith, will you love me still-

Abba? I awoke with a voice

in my head that said I was 

Ugly & I sighed in belief because

I can’t change myself, these thoughts that cross examine

My every motive. Will you come

soon enough and put me on your 

shoulders and take me to a place

where your sm
fmf: lose

I had this image of Abba and I in a field while writing the end of this. He is looking at my blues and reaching for my hand, telling me again and again: it’s okay. It’s okay to feel sad, feel deeply.

And I just want to run into his arms and sob: none of this feels okay. Look at me. I feel like the more I share my heart, everyone goes or silence or shame and I don’t know how to explain all these feelings, the ones tha yearn for the people you’ve put in my path to see you. For me to see you. How do you stay in relationship with me? How do I stay in relationship with those that do know you and don’t.

Let me love you, he whispers in my ear. Then it will be an overflow of my love to those that need it and you, who needs never walk alone. And talk to me always, darling. Be open and honest. Know I hear you. And I am not walking away.

I love you. Receive me. And those I send your way. Rest in me.

hold tighter to You

I don’t want toadmit I’m afraid of

my heart–the longing 

is deep and wide for attention,

the kind of a lover, a friend. No

one quite understands the way I 

sit & try to push away the fear-

You can’t have a guy as just a friend. You always crave more &

You can’t talk to them normally. I say this to myself and try to justify 

that I’ll be fine with all the worship 

music, if I 

fmf: want

This week I’ve been met with my fear Jesus has left and my longing to be in love. And to have a guy as a friend. I try very hard to hide this second thing because I don’t like how my heart is terrified it could fall apart. Because I can’t seem to break the thought maybe this guy would understand me. Love me through my humanness. And if I I’m honest, I’d like a guy to complete me. But broken doesn’t heal broken, and I should never put that on someone. Especially since I struggle so hard with idolizing, so I’d rather be alone. Or to journal and read God’s word forever. He’s the only one who can complete, heal me because He is complete and I am complete in love with Him.

My head knows that last one, heart is slower and freaked out by all this. 

Sigh. Dear me, please stop analyzing. Pay attention to the longing. You are allowed to have it even if it scares you. Don’t be so cynical either. I know it’s because you are in denial and afraid, but it’s okay. It’s okay to be broken and don’t and wonder if God even sees how you can’t handle yourself and you need Him to fill you constantly. And if it’s okay to be in relationship – want it. It is. Let Him come to you. Let Him love you even as you can’t trust. Sit Him as you are, He hasn’t left you. Doesn’t plan to. He knows all your desires and He will fill them. They are His after all. Your desire for love is His desire for you. Think about that for awhile. I know you are bleeding out your heart, but as you are weak He is strong. His compassion will come again. You are sitting outside in heat and yet there is shade. And Sara Groves is in your ears. And your sister brought you brownies and you mom brought you coffee. The compassion is right here, maybe not in all the ways you want, but here all the same. You are loved, darling. Hope is holding your hand. Don’t let go. Joy is around, beside, ahead. Receive him. 

Love,

Julia

mess of a heart 

I used to think I had a haven

in books–stories

of a girl who found 

the boy, the one who

completed her. I hung

on every word, my heartbeat 

steady in expectation: maybe

Someone will love me that way.

Until I saw the break, the ache,

the happy ending on pages isn’t

what I see in the eyes of those around me, in the words spoken out, in ink. My chest, heart yearns

for a place I can speak without pretense: Abba, Father, come

into this 

Fmf: haven.

It’s been a week. A week of waiting, fear and honesty and some more fear. When I got into this whole launching book thing, I’d be reading books and learning to stretch my writing. 

I didn’t expect to go into my heart, into my past. I didn’t expect Jesus to keep telling me, you need to go back to go forward. Go back into your memories. I’ll be right here. You can be completely honest, mad and sad and laugh because I know you’re nervous. You can tell these people and your friends because they are still going to love you.

And you’re going to see Me. And know me. My faithfulness. So I tell him about the jealousy, about the anger, the bitterness. How I am terrified to trust and the desperation for love. The broken love of someone else, the way I look in their eyes or texts and see myself. The way I hurt people because I’m so hungry for this love because I know nothing else.

Except when I’m by myself writing, listening to music. I feel this gentleness in the ache, a whisper of it’s okay, you’re safe. And I say things like: I’m evil. You’re going to hate me. I can’t stop acting like this. What if You turn away, too? Hurt me? That’s what I deserve. So, come on let me have it. But wait…don’t.

And he goes:

Here’s a flower.


And a cat:

It’s going to be alright. This is a part of relationship. You’ll find joy again.

And my chest aches because I know He’s right.

In His right hand are pleasures evermore.

And together, we sit & wait.