Show Me What I Don’t See

Show Me What I Don’t See

“I just feel like my word for the year is rejection

I sat across the table from a friend at lunch. I wasn’t sad, or frustrated. I think I was just disoriented. Like I’ve lost connection to a GPS and no longer sure of the road I’m on. I received news that the grad program I applied to for the summer was full. But this didn’t sting. At this point, I was used to hearing “thanks, but no thanks”.

The last two months I’ve listened to people talk about their Word of the Year.

joy.
courage.
delight.

Those words sound so pretty, don’t they? Like they belong on a framed floral print or etched onto the cover of a notebook. While I’m sure the process isn’t as pretty as the words, it brings an abundant amount of hope to a year. So why does my word feel like rejection two months in? Can you imagine purchasing a brand new notebook with the word R E J E C T I O N etched across the front in pink, bubbly letters?

My friend, in her infinite wit and wisdom responded with “I don’t think your word is rejection, I think it’s redirection.” I felt it like a kick to the stomach. The word floated up to my throat. Redirection. She’s not wrong. My whole life has continued to be redirected since the start of this year.

We may only be two months in, but I can’t help but notice my answer to most things is “I don’t know”. That phrase has almost become a theme. Like a tagline to the word “redirection”. I’ve never walked into a season knowing so little. Yet there seems to be a settled peace and feeling of trust that I’ve never experienced before. Yet I just can’t seem to shake that feeling of a GPS that is consistently recalculating. Each time I get a mile in one direction, I feel myself taking a different route than I had planned. And asking the questions:

What does tomorrow hold?
Or next week?
Or next year?
I just don’t know.

But I think my call in this season is to be ok in the “I don’t know”. To settle in to the idea that I don’t have to know every little detail and how it will plan out. This is still so difficult for me to do. It’s probably difficult for any of us to do. Who doesn’t love certainty? Sure, many of us thrive in change, but I think if we love change, it’s because we know there is certainty within that change.

I spoke with a friend this morning who challenged me to write out the stories I’m creating in my mind to fill in for the “I don’t know” moments. She told me to pray:

God, here is how I am perceiving things.
Show me what I don’t see.

Because while the grad school redirection didn’t sting, there have been others that cut a little deeper. Things that perhaps I just can’t see the big picture. And maybe it’s important to see the big picture before I write the story of what is really going on.

It’s not the year of rejection. It’s the year of asking God to show me what I don’t see. To give me clear vision as I continue to recalculate and redirect. To teach me to trust when I want to embrace all skepticism telling myself that surely it won’t work out. And to know that “I don’t know” does not mean “no”, but that maybe we don’t get to see the full story quite yet. And in the meantime just ask that He continues to reveal what we don’t see.

Wherever Is Your Heart

Wherever Is Your Heart

We have all heard it said that home is where the heart is. Yes, it’s cliche and most of us don’t really put a lot of thought into the most basic phrases, but this phrase has been on my heart a lot this last month.

Today was the fourth week of me encountering a new, yet familiar home. Four Sundays of worshipping in a place I once called home and a place I am calling home today. I feel like God is teaching me a lot about home and hearts and Sundays where those two things collide.

Today, though. Ugh, you guys…I committed the very worst of sins. I went to church. But I went to church with a cold. Coughing and sniffling (in my elbow, I’m not a complete heathen). It’s not like I had to serve or work. I didn’t have a specific responsibility, I just didn’t want to miss. So I went to church. With a cold. I know, I am the very worst.

But I think there were some lessons for me to learn in that. Today I learned just how much the Lord gets me. And gosh, it feels so right when you realize someone really gets you.

I felt it in the scriptures that were read and the psalms we sang. I felt it when Bruce Springsteen was quoted from the pulpit. I felt it when we stood to declare what we believed and when we kneeled to confess the ways we hadn’t measured up this week. I felt the Lord show up to meet me there with each poorly contained cough.

Home is where we feel the most comfortable. Where we can come as we are and nestle into our true selves. Though it took some time, I allowed myself to truly do that today.

God is writing something new on my heart. He is getting his hands dirty working in the muck and mire of who I can be, but my heart is ever so open to it.

I coughed a lot in service today. You need to know that because I’m sure you would have cringed a little. With every cough that tried to leak out, I tried to plan my escape for the door. But I couldn’t bring myself to do it.

Until a defining moment of grace. I watched an usher walk over to her purse and pull something out and walk over to me and place it in my hand. I opened to find a cough drop. I could have cried at her grace and kindness.

Not 15 minutes later, another usher walked over and handed me a cup of water. I savored every sip with a new understanding of home.

Grace has landed on my sick and broken heart and is engraving something beautiful and new. I have felt infinite amounts of joy more and more each week.

I am finding it in cups of water and hearing Hungry Heart quoted on Sunday morning. I am finding it in familiar faces and the comfort of reading each scripture so carefully in the bulletin. And I am finding it as I let some words settle into my heart and push others out onto the pages.

If home is truly where my heart is, I am watching God pave the path of many different versions of home for me and it’s really been beautiful.

If I Had Known Then What I Know Now

If I Had Known Then What I Know Now

With tears streaming down my face, I sat down on my couch and began to dial the phone number of my new boss.

Six months prior, my first full time church took a chance on 22 year old Katie and decided to bring her on as Director of Middle School Ministries.

As ready (or as not ready) as I was, I skipped in through the doors of the church and welcomed myself into this exciting new ministry. An adventure filled with pudding wars and all nighters at camp. No one was more elated about this job than I was.

But now. How could it be over that fast? I dialed the number.

Ring.
Ring.
Ring.

Through tiny sobs I managed to get it out:
I just want *deep breath* to thank you for *deep breath* this opportunity and *deep breath* for taking a chance *deep breath* on me.

My sweet, kind supervisor, Meg responded:
What happened?

I broke the vase.
What vase?
THE vase.

It was not registering. She did not know what vase I was talking about. How could she not know the vase? The one in the Bridal Parlor. Probably the only item to survive the 1984 fire. At least this is the story I made up in my mind. And now it was in approximately 1000 broken floral pieces on the ground.

I explained that I had been foolish enough to turn off all of the lights in the building and allow 60 middle schoolers to run around in a game of Underground Church. I didn’t think to lock the door to the precious parlor. I didn’t think that maybe this was not the best idea for our Sunday night activity in our 160 year old church. I was young. I just didn’t think.

Meg responded in her oh so soothing voice, “Ok, well just shut the parlor door and we will take a look at it in the morning. Get some sleep.”

Get some sleep? I did anything but sleep that night. How could I sleep when I worked so hard to get this job and now I was going to lose it. Over a vase.

The next morning I was sitting outside Meg’s office at 7:15 am (that’s so early for me). I waited until I heard the doors of the Greenhouse open and met her at the entrance to her office. Did she forget? She seemed far too calm.

Not me. I was in a dress, my face all splotchy. But I figured if you’re going to get let go over a broken vase, you should probably be dressed up.

We walked over to the parlor and she took a look at the pieces on the floor.
More tears began to fall down my face and I sniffled quietly.

“We’ll buy another one. I think it’s from Home Goods.”

Ha. Haha. I’m sorry, wut? It’s from…Home Goods? Martha Mae didn’t hand make it during the Civil War? But…I could have sworn…

We walked back to our offices and went on with the rest of our day. I stayed at Isle of Hope for 5 more years and made way bigger mistakes than a broken Home Goods vase.

But I learned about grace in my time there. I learned about courage and failure and everything in between.

Fast forward 8 years and we laugh about that story over lunch in the backyard of our favorite cafe.

If I had only known then what I know now.

We talked about what if we could do it all over again. Without the fear of failure (as our dear friend, Brene Brown calls it).

Without constantly wondering if I would make it another day or week or month. Without the narrative of negativity. Gosh, wouldn’t that be so freeing?

Over the next five years, I began to relax a bit. I worried less and loved more. There were times I didn’t know what I was doing, but I wasn’t as paralyzed by those moments. I had been given permission to fail and knew it would be ok if I did. The only true critic I had to worry about was myself.

While that moment paved the way for a lesson for me, I have not always continued to live in that mindset. There have been times that I have allowed myself to live in fear. I have given in to my biggest critic. I have spent seasons living in that fear of failure.

But knowing what I know now. What a beautiful thing it is to fail. To abandon fear and shame and know that no matter what you do, you’re giving it your all.

My hope is that we all have people in the arena with us, cheering us on, even if we fail. And if we do fail, my hope there that there is grace for each of us in that. No matter how broken the vase is.