i was waiting, and i was asking - begging- God to save me . what do i do now? i felt like nothing could save me from the flood of grief and heartache i was drowning in... not a trip somewhere or shopping for clothes or a new guy or being awesome . there was no lift, no desire to strive anymore to prove myself, no energy left to pick myself up or go to the grocery store . i felt like i had nothing left inside that wanted to keep going .
those two months were the darkest time i've ever been in . i'm struggling with how to put the weight of it into words, but maybe between the lines you know that sense of heavy loss i'm describing, of hitting the ocean's floor just when you thought the bottom couldn't delve any deeper .
for me this wasn't just about losing a relationship i had invested myself wholly into, although that was a large part of it . this was also about already having lost so much . relationship after relationship down the drain and a part of my sense of worth along with them . taking all the intricate and arduous steps to move to the midwest in the first place a year earlier, then the emotional roller coasters i had put myself through that year, and the humiliation and stupidity i felt for moving back to oregon with red flags screaming at me, and the umbrella of shame i felt over me for making such poor choices that were ripping my guts out . it was a lot of things, but mostly - not having a clue how to get myself standing back up again .
being in that house those eight weeks felt like an eternity . i wanted to run so fast so far from there but i didn't know where to go . and after two cross country moves in a year and feeling foolish, i wanted to make the right decision for this next season of my life .
but more importantly than deciding where to move next was my heart being confronted by all this loss . where was God? 'do You even care about me?' and, really, how could He after all the ways i'd messed things up .
i started to realize i had believed God was caring enough, but underneath that perceived care He was really just judgmental and angry with me, ready to mock my efforts and laugh when i fell down .
it's a miracle that this skewed belief of mine started to shift and then change and then radically transform over the course of the two months, mostly thanks to Bob Goff's book: Love Gives and my friend ashley, who at this crisis point in my life cleared her calendar and flew herself out to where i was to be with me, cook meals with me, drink beers with me, watch downton abbey and crylaugh with me . i started to ask - what kind of God propels people to love like this?
i felt Him reaching out to me in a way i hadn't known before: a full-on embrace, without any weird pretense or enjoyment of watching me suffer . i started to recognize Him for who He is... Someone who loves me more than anything . and who pursues the heck out of me ( and you ) . i read in the Psalms how His love for me endures forever, and His faithfulness to me outlasts anything that can happen, and
i started to see this breaking apart of my life was for my own sake and saving .
the tearing-away of all i was holding on so tightly to was just Him ferociously loving me, and asking me point blank - 'do you believe i am who i say i am, and that i love you as much as i say i do?' the anger i'd felt so long and the 'how could You?' 's started to crack apart and dissolve . there was so much more going on in the larger Story than i could have anticipated, and i was discovering the Jesus who loved me more than i could've ever imagined .
it was all very slow and painful, with glimpses of hope and newness peaking through the dark .
and then nearly eight weeks into this i woke up one morning with the words 'KANSAS CITY' so present in my mind, as if they were scribbled on my eyelids when i closed my eyes . i sat there for some moments in bed and for a few seconds i thought 'kansas city? you've got to be kidding me' . but my heart was so ready at that point to do whatever God wanted me to because i knew two things: He was in the process of saving my life and the kicker : i knew He was good .
i was so excited to dive into this newfound relationship with Jesus that i didn't flinch . i immediately told my parents that morning 'this is what i'm doing . i'm moving BACK to kansas city' . i called my friends and told them, and to my surprise i wasn't met with them laughing at me or telling me how stupid i was for returning . but i don't know if anything could've deterred me because i knew once again, this time for certain, i was supposed to be in the midwest, Lord help me . so for the third time in just over a year, i sorted & got rid of & packed stuff & put most everything into a storage unit in oregon, crammed what i could fit into my subaru and headed eastward .
i had my car, my clothes, my bike and peace . peace... something i had not known, and i knew now: it surmounted anything i could ever own . and with that i began the trek back to missouri .
june 14, 2012 i left oregon, the columbia gorge and that little house i nearly didn't survive inside of . as i drove away and looked one last time at it i remember thinking 'how could that small little bungalow hold so much grief?' .
i was so glad to be leaving . and the gladness grew into overwhelming joy as i drove through the gorge, across the state of washington and over mountain passes in idaho where i witnessed one of the most remarkable, unforgettable sunsets of my life . You woo us, i thought, as i prayed and cried all over my steering wheel on interstate 90 .