Sunday I sat across the table from a friend while at lunch and I told her that August had sucked. It had. The end of July is when things really began to spiral and then just spilled over into all of August. It wasn’t fun. I don’t know that I’ve ever had quite a month like August was. She asked me what sparked it, what started the downwardness? I couldn’t tell her, because I’m honestly not sure.
July/August marks three months of counseling. Maybe it’s that I’m getting to those places where I desperately need to be, but don’t want to be. Those places where my emotions have been buried for so long, that I’ve never let anyone see them. They are starting to come out now. And that is scary.
See, I’m a peacemaker. A 9 on the enneagram and avoider of conflict. Something else that means? For me, I don’t do vulnerability. I can look at every single relationship I have — family, friends, guys — and see that there’s only a certain level that I go to. Eventually, we get to a wall and I don’t want to go over it. I’ve never had a thing for heights and apparently never a thing for depth when it comes to relationships.
I don’t let people see me cry, I stuff and bury emotions until they fester, and then I explode into anger.
Does’t seem like a peacemaker at all. Because there hasn’t been any peace.
In her new book, Remember God, that is coming out in October, Annie F. Downs says this, “God doesn’t intend to shift my life so that I fall apart. He intends to give me manna to sustain me, to provide for me. But I don’t feel provided for. I feel afraid. And the layer under that fear is anger.”
That was my August.
Things shifting inside of me that I didn’t feel prepared for. Things shifting that I didn’t want shifted in the first place! I laid in my bed almost every night wondering what He was conspiring! What was the plan for all of this mess that I found myself in? I felt afraid and alone. And underneath it all was anger.
Still anger, honestly.
Because life today is not what I wanted. I want things to be different. I’m tired of waking up to see other people’s happy moments and experience absolutely none for myself.
I’m often easily amused. It’s true. The absolute littlest things can make me happy. But in August, when I searched so hard to find something little. Just one little thing to try and turn a day around? I could never seem to find it. It seemed that all the things had lost their luster. Nothing had an appeal. Each day seemed to grow longer and longer. Then, the end of August neared.
After that weekend with my parents, where it seemed to summarize all of August perfectly, a new month was on the horizon. Which meant new days, new plans, and new things to look forward to. The little things that give me joy started to come back. And more with each day. Today, I looked up into the clouds as it was raining (good thing I’m beginning to love it, because it happens a lot down here in Mobile) to see a break in them. Bright blue sky was peaking out. And I just whispered, “I love you, too God. Thank you, Abba.” Because of water droplets on my windshield.
I can’t shut Him out. I know that. I know His manna is to sustain me, to provide for me. And the beautiful thing? He kept showering it down on me even when I didn’t want to collect it. Just in case that day would be the day I would reach down and refill my bag, He provided something so my hand wouldn’t come up empty.
The darkness that I couldn’t seem to escape, somehow became the place I needed. Because even in the dark, there is purpose. But, instead of running like I was used to, I just needed to stop. Was the pain of August what I needed to get me to stop? Each day I get farther from it, I think so.
I told my friend at lunch that October could potentially be another August. Truthfully, any day could be the start of another August month. Peace may be unshakable, but it is still fragile. At least, mine is.
And all I can do is wake up each morning, collect the manna He has dropped for that day and hold it out with open hands. I offer it to Him, graciously He lets me keep it. So I put it in my pocket and take it with me everywhere I go. As I walk through the rains, as I find small joys, and as I hit the walls that hold me back.
Especially then, do I remember that I have manna.
And peace He hands to me all the same.
Abba, You are the peace that I seek. I confess that I open my hands to things that You have not placed for me to pick up. Thank you for the manna that You do give. Fill me and sustain me, Abba. Keep me steadfast. Remind me that You are the Rock on which I stand.
Remember God by Annie F. Downs will release on October 2.
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