No Longer I – Galatians 2:20

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Cleansing

I need this, as I embark today into uncertainty. I take comfort in knowing that God has a plan, but I guess I still need to…let go.

Letting go is hard. I don’t like it. Because I want control. I need it. I crave it. My humanity seems to starve without it.

But He demands it.

All I want is a little piece. I can try to hide it from him, my little corner of my life that I refuse to give over to him. The area that I continue to hold onto with clenched fists and white knuckles for fear that my grip will slip. But that’s the thing–God doesn’t want just a part of me. God wants my all.

I guess that’s why it’s so hard.

And I mean, I’ve been down that road before. I know that a lot of times, it’s a struggle. It will be hard. I know that a lot of times, following God means the road might feel broken and twisted and thorny–but I also know what it feels like to bask in the light, what it feels like as he chisels away to be made new. And, well, that’s the one thing I want more than control.

It’s beautiful, really. For those of you still searching, take it from me: it is worth it. It is so worth it. And he will come through. That’s the glorious thing about God: God doesn’t depend on how I feel, but on who he is. And he is faithful, and he is in control.

But surrender, it does have to be intentional. These feelings of closedness, these walls around my heart–I have to lower them on purpose. Sometimes I hold onto my own pain just because I want to feel something, not wanting to risk letting him in even though I know that he brings something so much greater. Something holy. Something powerful. Something that will make me whole.

Sometimes I call it love.

But these are the same feelings I was having a month ago when I wrote this poem. It’s not much of a poem, really; it doesn’t rhyme or anything. But I need this, as I embark into my mission this summer, sharing God with kids all season–I need a cleansing. I need to know my heart is whole and wholly his. I need his refining fire to make me pure. So I let go, and call down the Name of God in this place today. Change me.

Take all of your guilt;
hold your shame in your hands–
and squeeze.
Draw out your fears,
and condense all your grief.
Take hold of despair
and crumple your worry,
hidden in your clenched fists,
like a ball of newspaper.
Throw your sin on the pile too.
Hold them.
Gather them and cup them in your open palms and shape them into a leaden ball.
Heavy.
Dense.
Compact.
But at least, at last outside of you.
Feel it’s weight–
and like a lantern, let it fly.
Release it all into the sky.
Relax your tight and desperate grip.
I know you’re afraid to lose it,
for it feels like all you have.
You thought it was a part of you,
and, yes, it was:
it’s made you stronger.
But now it’s started crippling you.
And it’s time
to let go.
Release.
Light it up and watch it disappear
like a blue balloon.
And now,
breathe.
Unfold, and let your colors loose upon the world.

Blessings,
Bre

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Letters to Me

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I found a letter I wrote to myself more than a year ago:

Dear Bre,

I know you’re scared and depressed and so desperately in love that your soul is screaming at the thought of losing it all. I want to tell you that there’s so much more than this out there. God has a plan, He’s in control, so no matter what you do, no step you take is irreparably wrong. You have a purpose, you’re meant to be, you have a wondrous destiny! All you have to do is let it go! “Cast all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you.” Offer Him your everything. Rid yourself, ask Him to take it all away. These idols, these lies, these voices that hide inside, they’re not from Him and you don’t have to obey.

Train yourself now in the way of the righteous–form a habit of holiness. Teach yourself by letting Him teach you. Pray constantly, pursue persistently, speak purely, love sincerely, live passionately: fearless and free. Let the truth wash you clean.

Throw your whole heart into His will. Rid yourself of the weight of these worries, these fears, these questions, lies, and tears, and trust in the one thing that remains when all else is stripped away. Clear the stage. Smile, and let your heart believe in joy, hope, light and peace, an infragile truth that will never be taken away. Dedicate yourself to the Lord, and train yourself in His ways with diligence. Don’t be deterred. Throw yourself wholeheartedly into it, and trust.

You want control, you want answers, you want surety of self. You seek pleasure and delight, a greater fate and yet want easy. Let it go. Give it up. And watch the magic happen in your very own heart. Let him chisel, even when it hurts.

When I say hurt, you put up your walls. Barriers return. Knock them down! You’re scared now and apprehensive and full of doubt and fear and frustration and worry. But you know you will find the light and rejoice. Only one thing remains. So be strong and courageous–fear not–do not be discouraged! For the Lord your God is with you, wherever you go!

If you tell yourself something often enough, you start to believe it. Don’t ever, ever believe you can’t.

Take in all the little things around you, and take joy in them: the way the rain patters on the roof, the ink flowing from your pen, the way things have their quirks and inconsistencies. Notice.

Don’t let things bother you that shouldn’t. Be patient with your siblings. See past the masks and respect people for who they are without deindividualization.

Set your values and strive toward them with all your beautiful heart. Know your standards and stick to them. Fill yourself with joy. Remember that what you put in is what will come out. Never forget the things God taught you–in Philly, at camp, through trials and hardships: these lessons are part of you. Keep learning them every day. Pray often until it becomes a habit. Knock down the walls and destroy the idols. Don’t forget to seize the day. Be a dreamer, a maker, a seer, a changer.

Love the heart of God.

Knowing God has a crazy amazing plan,
–Bre

Wow. This is amazing. I have been struggling a lot over the last few weeks, with a lot of different things. Well, really a lot of different life things that are really all one internal issue, I guess. I can’t yet share the most recent thing that happened, but it’s really weighing on my heart and I don’t know how to deal with what God might be asking me to do. It’s something I’ve done once before, and I really, really don’t want to go through it again. I’m really scared. I’ve been asking God for help trusting him, but–it’s hard. It’s really hard. Especially with what this means for me. And while this doesn’t make it any easier, it is a reminder that He’s still faithful. And I’m grateful.

Wishing all the mothers out there a happy day, and with a special gratitude for my own mom–I don’t know what I would do without you. If I can ever figure out this whole life thing half as well as you have, my kids will be pretty darn lucky.

Blessings,
–Bre