I am tired.
I wanted to tell her this,
God. When she asked,
what’s wrong? I froze inside.
Not because I was worried
about how long the time would
last. No. I felt found. You’re so quiet, she
said. It wasn’t in a way that typically
makes me want to shut off, but in a way
that asked my heart to come
confide. I wanted to ask questions & not
be all me, me, me. Even though I was
tired. Even though I’m not good at asking
questions I feel. But she turned around
and asked me that and God, it’s like I’m
still learning it’s okay to trust. And I’m
not annoying when I text long things and
want to read the bible together. And to
walk out of Panera together and feel her
hold the weakest of my hands. Or maybe
it was my arm. It was like You were there,
watching as the verse became a real
thing: don’t be afraid. I will take you by
your right hand. I will help you. She
helped me up. And down the sidewalk. In
the freezing cold,
with 2 drinks. And a cookie my brother
wound up eating because I was so in the
moment until she left that early morning
& then forgot the next day. Because as
much as You know I love chocolate, I
in ways that night that felt like hope &
joy rising; a day at the bookstore just to
talk and look through, an offer of two
books to read later. A day to watch
movies and shows together. And a
willingness to want to make church less
of a place I view unsafe and
condemnation and anger. To go with me.
I can’t help but think she’ll hold my hand
(Or arm) through the fear. This soul
sister. I know it is You.
And today, I heard the enemy really try to get to me. No one will hold your hand. You don’t let yourself have other experiences to stop from past experiences with the church. Oh yay, magnolia by Ellie Holcomb. You trying to get the tears to flow? That last one was me, God. Not the enemy.
But the more you try, the more you’re failing.
No place to call your home except your heartache.
Yep, that’s me. I don’t hide that I’m okay being alone with you. There’s nothing else right now I want to do. I don’t have the capacity to talk to people, let alone take in what they are saying. Even if they are trying to help. I mean, I do want to talk, as you saw with Kelly, but it’s different than with family or the job people. I don’t feel as afraid. Or push to come up with something. Or shut down.
I feel I’m given time to speak. Or be silent. Or just be. Or sing. And Monday night made me feel different. Seen, once I let a bit of my guard down. I mean the singing felt way vulnerable. My cheeks were burning with shame because I was singing the truth. And I felt this calm and emptiness at the same time because you were there, but it takes me so long to believe it.
That maybe there’s hope for me. The fact that I said I want to give church a chance again is weird. And what I heard earlier just wants to press down on me, make me cry. I feel them come, Lord and then they fall a little then pass. But I feel there’s more. Why does being loved have to feel like a war? Why can’t I rest in it more? Why do all these lies want to pummel me to the floor?
I need you, God.
Your tender-haired girl
Ps. Thank you for singing to me. Thank you. Thank you.
Previous letter here.