I’m spending the summer in New Hampshire as an intern for a program for young adults struggling with life-controlling issues – from alcohol and drug abuse to depression and anxiety. And being here has stirred up a lot.
To just get right to the heart of it all, I’m once again coming face to face with the reality that inside every single person is a lifetime of personal heartaches and joys and disappointments and callouses that have been formed just to survive. Being here stirs up a lot of memories – And while I can celebrate that many struggles that used to consume me no longer do, it isn’t easy to be reminded of them.
Our first morning here I read my Bible for the first time in weeks and realized that I had been avoiding it, avoiding prayer, distracting myself because I didn’t want to face the messiness of my heart. But the truth is, is that I was starving for it – for scripture, for prayer, for being honest with God.
I deeply value harmony in relationships, of making sure that everyone is okay – that I’m okay, that we’re all okay. I don’t like messy because I can’t control messy. But the messiness doesn’t mean we are doing something wrong. In fact, I think it means we are doing something right.
When we forgive, our hearts get soft, and this softness hurts. When we choose to actually let people in, they have the power to hurt us and us them, and this risk hurts.
I know that God is good when I don’t know how to be, or want to be. He is good when my emotions are a mess, when I don’t understand what He is doing.
Despite all the heaviness I’ve been experiencing here, there are a lot of joys too. I’ve been keeping lists of victories, things I am thankful for and have reminded me that hope and recovery are real. Moments such as walking through the woods, asking God to speak to me and hearing His voice directly and specifically, of sitting in a circle of chairs in the basement of a church in Concord and sharing and receiving stories, and of eating freshly picked strawberries for breakfast.
The messiness of sin and unknowns is frustrating and exhausting and discouraging. But in standing on granite rocks and looking out at the mountains of New Hampshire in comfortable silence, or in having the privilege of hearing someone’s story and praying with them, all I can honestly say is allelujah. This hurts and allelujah. I don’t understand and allelujah.