Let In The Light

This is part of an ongoing series that will share excerpts of my book-in-progress, tentatively titled Grappling for Good: Revealing grace to light the dark. It’s my journey through a year of unexpected circumstances and soul excavation to discover the goodness of God in surprising ways.

Everything here has the hint of January.

Including me. My insides feel chaffed, raw, cold and empty, and it’s no one’s doing but mine.

I really have a stubbornness problem.

This has been a hard day, and I only bring the struggle on myself.

Emotionally overstimulated. I fight against the tide, against being tamed, against Eric’s kindness and devotion, afraid to be tied down and stereotypically submissive.

This week is already out of control, and I’ve overbooked myself at work. Again. Story of my life.

My chest is starting to ache, my right arm feels like it’s falling asleep, lingering effects of my stroke when I’m emotionally overstimulated or don’t get enough sleep. I have both factors working against me.

Fear still trails along my mind, my spirit. I have come so far, though I am so afraid that my heart will stop, that I’ll have another stroke out of nowhere. This fear follows me, peeks its head around my soul and decides to step in and remind me that this life is temporal and that it could be taken from me in an instant.

And I have had so much transition these last eleven months, most of which I have had no control over.

Stroke—not my choice.

Holes in my heart—not my choice.

Moving—not my choice.

Chaotic job—not my choice.

Eric—he was placed in my life, and I chose to date him, but can I fully give over my heart?

How have I become such a control freak? Obsessing over order?

I cry on my couch, let the tears trickle down. It has been a while since I let myself cry, let myself break open.

God, I want healing. I clench my fists so tightly about what’s been forming, what I’ve been walking into, as if I’ve had no say in my own life. And I know my life is not my own, but I’d still like to believe I have choices, that I can decide. But I am paralyzed if choosing means figuring out what God believes is best for me, that He’s lighting the path He knows I should follow, but I don’t want to go meekly and without agreement.

I am only hurting myself, the tighter I squeeze my heart shut. Shouldn’t I concentrate on its recovery? Though I have the all-clear from my cardiologist, my heart is still healing in many ways. Re-growing itself, becoming whole.

Why do I fight and struggle, flail and fly?

I know God says He has good plans for me, but I get scared. And I wonder if those good plans are going to come with pain again.

Please, I do not want pain again. Enough struggle, enough of the rug pulling from beneath my feet, enough change after adjustment, after another layer peels away.

I pull out flour, granulated sugar, chocolate chips, and the rest of ingredients I need. There’s this desire in me to make my mom’s chocolate chip cookie recipe, and I find it on my phone. It’s traced back to 2015, when she sent it to me when I lived in Kansas City. Mixing the baking soda, vanilla extract, and eggs into my clear mixing bowl gives me a cathartic release, breathing in my mom, the history of the women in my family. As I stir, I pray. Release my own will, ask God for help from the core of my belly, my heart, my spirit.

Cease striving and be still. Still enough to learn why you run. Still enough to listen to what my LORD and Lover of my soul wants to say.

God, save me from myself. I am my own worst enemy.

I am looking for His goodness. That means I should knock off my expectations, my neat and tidy plans and ideals of how my life should look and LET HIM DO HIS THING.

He is God.

I am not. What He has is good. And I have been looking for that good, seeing it in unexpected places.  Good like brown sugar and chocolate chips, breath that beats along my lungs, hot dinner at Eric’s on a cold night. Late November wraps long, cool shadows over my living room. I welcome the shifting season, grateful for these moments. Even when the nights grow longer, I am full of light.

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