It’s been months since I’ve felt at home in my own skin.
I crawled my way to the end of the quarter, gave up an internship that I dreamed about all year, and continue to wrestle day after day to find the faith I used to ground myself in. The whole back story is full of tough details and months I can’t wait to climb farther away from. For the first time, my “I can handle it” self had to grip tightly to the hands of the people who love me enough to nearly carry me forward. In this season, I’ve had to walk away from a lot of things I love – and say “no” to people and opportunities normal Ri would run to with open arms. What I’ve lost most is hope – my light constantly flickering in fear that I would never return to the same flame I used to be again.
Right now, the fragile pieces left of my faith are sharp and scattered – but something in me won’t put them down. Each morning when I wake up and fasten my cross necklace around my neck I feel my reflection staring accusingly back at me – because she is the only one who really knows it takes my whole heart to put it on. We stare at each other for a moment, recognize the doubt and hurt in each others’ eyes, and each morning we come to the same conclusion. Put it on. Something is stronger than the dark parts. This is still worth fighting for.
When the chance to lead a week of YoungLife Camp for random middle schoolers was put on the table, I snatched it with a certainty I haven’t felt in months. And guided by the little faith my heart won’t let go of – I felt myself rise up in a way I haven’t had the strength to do in far too long. Finally, I felt the holy spirit around me and within me in a way I’ve been starving for.
I wouldn’t say that this week necessarily answered any of the big tough questions knocking my faith down. But – these days reminded me why at my deepest core, I will continue to hope that it’s a ground worth standing on every day. And I think that’s a place to start.
I felt my feet land on holy ground and take off running back to my favorite self the second I woke up Tuesday morning. These sweet & spunky little 13 year olds reminded me what it was about a sense of purpose in The Divine that took hold of my heart in the first place. Eight years ago when I stood in their shoes , curious little camper-Riley craved whatever crazy magic fueled this place. She saw that the unexplainable joy and grace and resilience these people lived in came from a hope in something beyond them.
When I found that hope was deep within me, too, I found my greatest sense of belonging and my deepest sense of purpose.
This week showed me that maybe the depth of God’s love is demonstrated in the way we are not controlled by it but rather compelled by it. One thing I cannot deny is the way a place glows differently when the holy spirit is present. I cannot deny that light multiplies.
Perhaps what this week taught me most is that my questions about God are more likely to be answered by looking up from the box I’ve been trying to shove Him in for the last year. And that rather than trying to define my faith, to experience it, and let what I can’t explain come alive in the things I can. My goal is to run with that idea and hopefully feel it become more vibrant day by day. More to come.