Let the Light in.

There have been far fewer moments these days to just be still. Even in my writing, while I have so many thoughts to express, I haven’t had a clue where to begin. Perhaps there’s been a pressure to have the next “thing” to write about, but really I’m still in the mud of grief some days. In between the ‘there’ and ‘not yet,’ I’m still processing emotions and circumstances and not knowing what to do with all of it.

So while I don’t have much to say, I wanted to check in and say, I’m still here.

Still hanging on, still desiring to share my story with those willing to read.

Fall seemed to sneak up on me quicker than my dog sneaks up on food. One moment, I was outside sweating on my walk, and the next I was cozied up under a knit throw watching the sun fall over the leaves until finally it turned in early for the night. There’s something about this time of year when the darkness lingers just a bit longer than I would like, and the days feel long to endure. Personally, I’m not a fan and after the year we’ve had, I’m not ready for more darkness. I long for the warmth of the light.

It’s been three weeks since I’ve been back at work after being off for three months [since giving birth]. It’s been a little draining, honestly… but I can’t lie that it felt good to have a much needed paycheck come in after so long ha! It’s a huge adjustment to go from having free time to read, write, walk, cook, clean, rest, sleep, socialize, even go to therapy (basically having no one and nothing to answer to), to barely having time to throw on a clean pair of clothes… when I work at home. I know, sad, right? Time management and I aren’t exactly the best of friends.

I will say though, God has been so faithful… even in allowing me to have time off. There was a point when I was set to return back to my job six weeks postpartum. I had to go through the grueling process of filling out paperwork for FMLA just to be met with the following phone call: “Oh, so in the event of losing your baby… you won’t be able to use the remaining six weeks for bonding leave.” That was a blow… boy, what a great system we have.

However, I do thank God that my employers were kind enough to grant me an extended personal leave. Even after our loss, God was the one to provide a full twelve weeks of leave and even though it was largely unpaid, He sustained us every step of the way. He surrounded us with precious friends and family that took care of us in many ways, so thank you for those of you, too.

It’s been easy to get lost in the darkness of this season, to fumble around aimlessly or be weighed down by the burdens of life. But it’s also easy to appreciate the light when the sun is still shining. I think of the shorter days within this season: how much more do I appreciate the sun when the days grow colder and darker? I certainly try to anyways! This season feels like that… though I might be angry, confused or heavy laden at times, I know the sun is still shining down, leaving slivers of beaming light that warms the soul.

So… I am trying to grasp onto the Son as much as I can. For it is Jesus Christ that said, “I am the light of the world.” He also extended the invitation, “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened… and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28) Even when the days feel long and the darkness surrounds me, I am fighting to be honest. I am fighting to see the beauty in every season and to appreciate all that God has given me right where I’m at.

For those who may be struggling to do the same, I invite you to look up the lovely author Ann Voskamp. A woman well versed in gratitude, she writes books, blogs and social media posts, encouraging the weary to give thanks in all. Whether it’s the mundane, the celebratory, or even the darkness… it’s all grace. I read her book One Thousand Gifts this year and honestly hope to read it again soon. It really is like soup for the soul. For now though, she’s encouraged her readers to follow her on a November Joy Dare. Even if we are in the middle of the month, I invite you to join too. I’ll post it below.

It helps my heart to look for the glimmers of light even when it feels dark out. May we learn to still our hearts and minds in the winter season ahead and lean into even the darkest of days by letting the Son shine in our hearts.

Encouraging songs and Psalms below:
Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. Psalm 119:105

LORD, You light my lamp; my God illuminates my darkness. Psalm 18:28
I'll be your lighthouse
When you're lost at sea
And I will illuminate everything - Out of Hiding | Steffany Gretzinger
If you’re stumbling in the dark, run your hands against the walls
Find every window, every door, throw them open, throw them open
In will flood a blinding light, and it will chase away the night
Even if you shield your eyes, let it pour in, let it pour in - Gallows | Jess Ray

September Love Letter

It’s a new month and for some that might be exciting. Others might not have even noticed. If you’re anything like me, perhaps you too were met with grief in some way. The thing about grief is that it leaves you wondering, “how do I move forward from here?” when the rest of the world seems to be moving on.

I wish I was the type to look forward to things and have an optimistic perspective. My husband is great at that, but me… not so much. Instead of opportunities, I see mountains too high to climb. I’d much prefer to see what’s in front of me crisp and clear with definition and clarity rather than a vignette of distorted figures fading into darkness.

So here I am on the first of September, a month riddled with emotional landmines, face to face with my current reality. It is day three of waiting to hear back from a company that a friend connected me with, and by now I had hoped at least an interview would be set up.

And crazily enough, I took a pregnancy test this morning since I’m still waiting for my cycle to come back. I don’t know how this postpartum thing works entirely, but I admit the desire to try again after our loss is there and if it were up to me, I’d speed it right along. (Thank God that it’s not!) I don’t know which seems more crazy: the reality of conception occurring so quickly, or the slight hope in me that it would. (Note: it was negative people…)

Trust me, I’m scared to share that publicly, but the reason I will… is to share that I’m human. I am messy and full of mistakes, misplaced hope, stolen dreams and a broken heart, yearning to be hopeful and met with crushing reality. Life seems like a constant waiting game at this point, and I don’t know if there will ever be a time of “arriving.”

As a Christian, I know all the things… I am forgiven and free, hope-filled not hope-less, and Christ mends broken hearts. Because of Him, I can have lasting hope and peace now in the midst of my circumstances and there’s no “point of arrival” that I’ll reach here on earth, anyways.

I know all these things and believe most of them on a good day. But again, I am human and it’s much easier — much more natural — to see things from my limited viewpoint rather than one of eternal standing. It is easy to see things as they are right in front of you, and call them out for what they are, rather than believe for the things that you clearly aren’t seeing.

Belief in, or the hope for, the things that one cannot see… that is faith – it’s supernatural: to trust when nothing or no one seems trustworthy. Admittedly, my own tends to waiver. I don’t admit to being a perfect Christian, let alone person. But the little faith I have it is in the only one who can be trusted that he will show up one way or another.

The reason why? “Know therefore that the LORD your God is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him.” (Deuteronomy 7:9) It’s in the text: he is faithful. On a day like today, I can murmur the smallest of agreeance and say, “I trust you,” believing that all of this waiting is for some purpose. And if not, I’ll trust that God hears my cries and will comfort me in it.

Belief in, or the hope for, the things that one cannot see… that is faith: to trust when nothing or no one seems trustworthy.

That is why I write: I hope that my words will point me to the one who is faithful and I hope it points others, too. I write to believe when I cannot see what’s in front of me. I write to remind myself of who God is and that he can be trusted. I write to reflect on my problems and realign my perspective, my viewpoint, to one of eternal standing and security. I write to allow God’s heart to flow through my words.

In a sea of unknowns, I want to choose to trust and rest. I want to give thanks for all that is currently in front of me and all that is past. I want to have faith that wherever I see problems, God sees broken things to be mended. And thankfully, He is in the business of restoration. I am grateful for the time off of work that I have. Though I’m tempted to strive to be productive all my days, I am glad to simply just focus on being and getting by, allowing myself to feel all the emotions that inevitably will come up.

What gave me peace this morning was the fact that in this amazing, vast world… God cares for me. His word says,

"When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is mankind that you are mindful of them, human beings that you care for them?" Psalm 8:3-4

The next verse goes, “You crown me with glory and honor.” Glory is a hefty word that I won’t divulge into today, but let’s think of it like God’s manifested presence and wonder. Honor meaning “full of worth, dignity, esteem.” In this incredible world where it’s easy to feel lost or insignificant, rejected or looked over, the Creator of heaven and earth who holds the stars in place says:

I am invaluable. I am marked by his presence. I am created in His image and I am lovely because he says so. I carry the heart of God within me. I am worthy.

You crown me with glory and honor.

Psalm 8:5

So if you’re anywhere in my shoes today, or perhaps you can fill in your own circumstances, I want to remind you, too, of the following:

No matter who might overlook you, or what companies reject you, God has chosen you for himself before the beginning of time. No matter what hurtful words others may say about you, God says you are worthy. Despite how big the world seems, you are seen and you are held in the arms of Love. While you are waiting for that positive pregnancy test, or whichever dream it is to come to pass, find the joy in the in-between. Whatever uncertainties you face or situations you are fearing, may the fact that our Creator is with you be a comforting balm to your wounded soul.

It’s the first of September and I’m choosing to surrender all that I long to understand. Everything that I want to grasp onto, I let go and hold loosely knowing that anything can happen and I may not have control of that, but I know the one who does. And I know he loves me and has promised to be with me.

Here goes the start of something new. Welcome.