I wondered a few months ago who would be the first to post a sappy “one year” post. I decided that it would not be me, and yet here I am. I think I have had words to write for awhile and that the time to share them is now.
Remember how we kept using the words, “ We did it!” a year ago? I was so proud of us - proud of the way that we served and led, the way that we shared and loved, the way that we persevered through what many considered to be the most challenging (albeit wonderful) year of our lives. And that was real, and right.
But TBH, now is the time that I want to shout “WE DID IT.” This claim feels somehow deeper than the claim I made a year ago. This year we came home to homes that make the word “home” confusing. I am confident that I am not the only one who has, at times, experienced profound loneliness in the midst of a new place and community - even if for some the place and community was one that you had spent the majority of your life in. It’s easy for me to become obsessed with the hard aspects of this year. It’s easy for me to look at the ways that I have failed to love well from afar, or to decide altogether that processing the Race and what we all mean to each other now isn’t worth it. Because that would be easier. The pictures could be in some computer file or dusty on the wall. The stories could be shared as fiction-like renderings of a year that a different "us" lived.
As I began to let myself sift through some of these thoughts this week, I found myself serendipitously at a party with a racer and raised-up SQL who had gotten back to America less than 24 hours before. We had a few moments to chat and he asked if he and I could sit down someday soon and debrief squad leading some. I enthusiastically responded, “Yes! I would love that!” in an easy, light way - and then I saw something. There was a look in his eyes that so deeply resonated with a part of my heart that I had started to shut down. A part that sees the victory in the challenges, a part that sees the value in the processing, a part that knows without reason that the change is good, a part that allows it to see. I sat with these thoughts into the night last night, and this evening I started to talk to Jesus. I was childlike in my request for Him to help me let my heart see. And guys, the pain I expected and the longing for what was and all of the icky things that I was afraid to deal with are in there, but so much more powerful is the life and the victory that has been lived this year.
Sweet friends - there is so much to celebrate. We represent ministry roles stepped into, callings rediscovered, family reunited. Between us we have stepped into countless countries beyond our 11 (or 14), touched thousands more lives than we ever did when we were in the same place, and took the vulnerability that we learned together and helped others to begin that journey. We have come to places of deep brokenness and sought out help. We have adjusted to life amidst the whirlwind of everyday practicalities and fought to remain set apart as the Lord has asked. We have celebrated with our brothers and sisters as they have started adventures of marriage or seen the first fruits of a God-given dream. These things are true. I have seen them.
Does life look different than we expected? Yes. Are some things harder than we had imagined? Of course. Is America a little more uncertain than what we hoped for? Absolutely. When these realities hit and the questions become overwhelming - you are not alone. When you experience moments when it all feels imaginary - it wasn’t. When you feel like you are a failure because it is impossible to figure out how or who to be now - you are not. When you feel like the calling that the Lord was refining on the Race was a result of a spiritual high or too much curry - BREAK THAT OFF. Fear and doubt are not a part of our identities. You know how I know? I know because in the midst of a world where we have choices, the Lord never changes. He knits us together with deep purpose and with a love that never shifts. Celebrate and be thankful in the knowledge that God’s purpose for us, His intentionality in bringing us together for that crazy season, and His constant provision for the future are steadfast.
You are so deeply loved,