the pursuit of fist bumps
Last week, I briefly mentioned on social media that it has been a difficult few weeks emotionally, physically, and spiritually. And, it has. For various reasons.
I joked (and I use that word loosely) with my girlfriends that I feel like we are all at such deep levels of need right now. We are all drowning in personal afflictions, family emergencies, spiritual attacks, and emotional mind games that our only encouragement to each other is a solidarity fist bump and head nod acknowledging, “I see you, sister! You are not alone. I’m trying to make it, too!”
Strangely, that’s been enough for me. Usually, in my group of girlfriends, one of us is experiencing a season of strength and is the voice of encouragement, courage, and war-cries; but, this new year has knocked a little wind out of all our sails. Not to mention the weight of personal circumstances and responsibilities has us drowning a little.
Oh my word, you’re still reading this uplifting, encouraging, and humorous post? Bless you.
My word for the year is PURSUE. I don’t know why I put that in all caps. As if yelling it will actually bring about the implementation of it.
I have screen shots that I keep on my phone to remind me what it means to pursue. Chase. Follow. Hound. Seek. Persist.
I started praying about my word for the year in November. Stefan and I took a long weekend to Colorado to set goals for our family, as a couple, and personally. I originally thought my word was AWAKEN, but God had other (bigger) ideas for that word. There’s no doubt, my pursuit of Jesus will lead to awakening. Jesus cannot do anything but awaken my soul, my resolve, my love.
So, I don’t know why I’m surprised that the year has started off with numerous (and I mean abundant) opportunities for me to lean into Christ. Pursue Him. Chase after Him. But, instead, the opportunities have me wanting to retreat, run away, and shrink back (did you see the antonyms of pursue?).
But, in every circumstance that has presented itself over the past few weeks, I have never once felt alone. I have doubted. I have questioned. I have worried. I have eaten my emotions wrapped up in Milk Duds and Swedish Fish.
My faith has been shaken, but I’ve never felt alone.
In a very healthy conversation, I had a family member tell me that I use “this Jesus thing as a crutch.” I regret not replying with, “please don’t reduce it to a crutch. That makes it sounds like Jesus is an addition to my life and I only need Him every once in a while. He is everything to me. And, I need something WAY stronger than a crutch to lean on.”
I need to follow Him, camp out with Him, seek Him, hound Him, chase Him. Pursue.
I need to know He will carry me at times when I don’t have the strength.
God’s allowed several opportunities already for me to push into pursuit of Him rather than retreat in fear. That doesn’t mean I’ve been absent of fear. OH MY GOODNESS…I would be liar, liar pants on fire if I said that.
Several weeks ago, I finally called my OB/Gyn regarding a lump I found in my breast back in May. LISTEN, GIRLFRANDS, DO NOT HESITATE TO CALL ABOUT THESE MATTERS. AND, IF YOU AREN’T DOING SELF-EXAMS, START DOING THEM. I’m sorry to yell at you, but you are important to me and the other people who love you. Don’t do like I did, do like I say (which also seems to be the mantra for my parenting).
For 48 long hours, I went through ALL THE FEELS. The whole nasty spectrum of feelings. Despair, fear, hope, wonder, doubt, resolve, more fear, and peace.
I went to my doctor, she felt the lump (plus a second one) and sent me to radiology for a mammogram and an ultrasound/sonogram (I get these confused. But, to be fair, I get my kids’ names confused too, so…).
As I waited in the women’s only dressing room, I looked at the other 4 women sitting there. Again, like with my dear friends, I silently offered up a nod and fist bump as if to say, “I see you. I don’t know your fear or your hope, but we are in this together.”
(This is probably totally inappropriate. You would think that I would not say it if my initial reaction is, “don’t say that.” But, I don’t like being told what to do. And, y’all know I am SO bad at small talk and awkward situations. So I’ll tell you. The day I went in for my lump was a Wednesday. It took a spiritual act of God for me not to look at the other ladies and say, in my best camel voice, “Lump Ddaaayyy.”)!
Anyway, then I got a text from my dear friend that read, “You may be all alone in the waiting room, but I know He is with you. He is ever present in this.”
And, then I was whisked away to go to second base with several strangers.
But, I was never alone.
And, neither are you.
I received the best news possible (or, “breast news possible” as my friend said. I know. I’ll stop now).
Benign fibroid cyst.
I don’t know if you’re in a season of great need or brokenness, but I know this, and I believe it to my core:
You are not alone.
You are not forgotten.
You are seen.
You are known.
You are loved completely, wholly, without condition.
Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting,
God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along.
If we don’t know how or what to pray,
it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us,
making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans.
He knows us far better than we know ourselves,
knows our condition, and keeps us present before God.
That’s why we can be so sure that every detail
in our lives of love for God
is worked into something good.
I’m absolutely convinced that nothing…
can get between us and God’s love
because of the way that Jesus, our Master,
has embraced us.
Romans 8:26-28,39 the Message
While we are in the waiting room, trying to stay afloat, know that I see you. I love you. And, I am, in solidarity, fist bumping and head nodding you all the way home. We are in this together.