That evening has stuck with me and has come to mind several times since. And each time, I’ve felt thankful. I often pick up and absorb other people’s emotions, but it’s not always such a positive experience. As an empath (someone who detects and sometimes even takes on other people’s emotions more often and more intensely than others), I’ve at times found myself consumed by the negative emotions someone else is experiencing and unable to easily recalibrate my own feelings.
Nobody calls in the middle of the night with good news. My normally innocent ringtone turned ominous the moment it broke the silence and woke me from a sound sleep. After being startled awake in that manner, I wasn’t even surprised to hear sobbing when I finally...
You’re here, and you matter.
You’re here, and I am so glad you are.
You’re here, and I see you.
But more importantly, God sees you.
Whether you shout or whisper, win or lose, God sees you, and He calls you His beloved child.
time with my family in close quarters. I didn’t anticipate seeing Him and His Truth in the in-between and small moments. But like He so often does, that’s where He showed up for me most.
While my anger has come from a holy place, burning with indignation when God’s children are mistreated and harmed, I’m beginning to realize that anger was just the first layer and perhaps even a symptom of what was going on below the surface. As my rage has given way to grief, I’m starting to understand that sadness is really at the root of my reactions.
Sometimes the road to reaching our goals, to staying within God’s guidelines for what’s best, for “smooth sailing” seems obvious. It’s right in front of us, paved and pointed to by Scripture or a still, small voice, by mentors or past experience or even common sense. The best course is simple, straightforward, and if we squint our eyes just right, we can see the finish line from here. But most of the time it’s not that easy.
As some parts of the world begin to open up for more in-person interactions, I’ve also realized that physical spaces do, in fact, matter a whole lot. , a coffee shop, or a loved one’s kitchen table, our places matter.
Last month my husband and I celebrated our twenty-second anniversary by going on a movie date for the first time in more than a year. I was a little anxious about this plan, but as we sat in a large theater with six other moviegoers all spread out, I eventually relaxed and became immersed in the story of a small town and a horse.
I’m not the first person to experience, acknowledge, or share about the “pandemic wall.” So many of us are hitting it was we face the one-year anniversary of when our world changed forever. This isn’t unique to me or to you. But that doesn’t make it any less real than the glimpses Wanda gets in episode 7 of the very real ways her world—and her ability to handle it—are crumbling.
I’m telling you about my refrigerator because I’m learning that God doesn’t expect us to become so complacent that we ignore brokenness and pain or deny its existence or, possibly worse, find a bit of comfort in it. It’s just the way it is. Fixing it would be too hard, too costly. I’ll just make do . . . I’m telling you because I recently read a Bible story that I’ve read many times, even recently. But this time, I read it with friends and discussed the confusing part I’d skimmed over every other time. And it’s changing how I look at making do.
What do we need most this holiday season? Do what you need to do to say centered and safe and sane. Do whatever it is that brings you comfort and joy in this season, that pulls you closer to God who promises to be with us, that keeps you mindful of the One we celebrate this time of year — our Emmanuel.
All the personality, spiritual gifts, and strength-finding tests in the world have never revealed to me the most significant (and sometimes sneaky) ways God has used me to love His people. These unlikely callings have taken me by surprise over and over again, and I’m finally seeing the blessing in them.