Choose This Day.

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I woke up this morning and, despite fierce emotional opposition, decided today would be glorious.

Not good.

Glorious.

Honestly, everything in me resisted. Everything in me said, “No. Go back to bed. You’re tired. Your legs still hurt from yesterday’s workout. You need coffee.”

It wasn’t that all those things weren’t true.

It’s that ultimately, they didn’t matter.

Ultimately, I decided, as I sleepily scrubbed at my teeth, this day was not going to be about me.

It was going to be about extra cups of coffee and reading Anne Lamott.

And it would be about back-to-back meetings full of strategy and preparation and details.

It would be about him calling in the middle of the day just to tell me he loves me (and man, does he). 

And about sharing my mango–and stories–with a friend.

Most of all, it would be about KINGDOM, something we talk about a lot in my organization and fight to choose daily.

It would be about asking to see the GLORY of God manifested in class conversations.

And it would be about CONSECRATION, and about LOOKING UP, and about CHOOSING to have a day focused on Jesus instead of myself.

Guess what?

It absolutely was.

Sometimes, I think we get so focused on “the process” that we forget we have the power to make decisions. Things as simple as getting out of bed in the morning become drastic fights to see who has supremacy in our thoughts, in our actions, in our hearts.

And honestly, sometimes I think we just have to make a decision that for today, for this moment, some things are just true.

God is good all the time (and all the time, He is good).

I am loved.

Life is precious.

And today will be glorious.

The Starting Line.

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There’s more to say about this, much more. But for now, let it just be enough to say that I spent two hours writing fiction in Starbucks today. I have no idea where it’s going (if anywhere), but I’d say that’s a hell of a start.

Tell a Great Story.

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The only thing I’ve ever wanted–ever, with any real consistency wanted–was to be a writer.

I envisioned myself in a cafe along the Champs Elysees sipping cappuccino. Or, maybe wearing a bulletproof vest in a trench, hair in a wispy, cascading braid, and frantically  scribbling words onto a notepad as bombs exploded just out of reach. Or in front of a great bay window, in a room of my own, before a typewriter.

I would be brazen but brilliant, a charming cannon of spitfire prose.

I realized–in theory–that to be a writer, one has to actually, you know, write.

But somewhere in the last few months of writing other people’s stories, I’ve forgotten to love the practice of writing. I’ve forgotten how to love the discipline.

In fact, to be honest, I’ve forgotten how to love anything associated with writing, including reading, books, and other blogs. I’ve become quite the Netflix watcher, something I normally only do on rainy evenings with the Boyfriend. I’ve gotten absorbed in the storylines that put me to sleep at night and create my background noise while cleaning.

Yesterday, I sat in a meeting with the CFO of my organization and listened as two of my colleagues–a brilliant couple, both writers in their own right–explained something we’d all worked on for quite some time. It’s a project meant to bring a culture of story more fully into our organization.

As they spoke, I found that I couldn’t help but smile and nod my head along, as if I was hearing it for the first time. My heart leapt as one talked about  deeply rooted in our identities this is, how central to our DNA, how, created in the image of God who is the preemptive and primary Storyteller, we are now entrusted with the greatest story ever told–His.

Even greater now, then, is the knowledge of ourselves as part of that story and our responsibility to carry story into our world like a torch to light a new campfire around which others can gather.

This presentation, full of words and graphics and power points, relit a fire in me. It reminded me that even in all my hours sitting at my desk, telling stories that seem greater than the one I’m living, I am living a story. And it’s a good one. And it’s mine to tell.

So I’m back. Let’s try this again.

Please.

I haven’t written because I haven’t wanted to.

It seems to me that many other people have many other more fabulous–and well crafted–things to say about this season that a lot of us feel like we’re in. Honestly, I’ve been pretty exhausted from trying to talk.

I’ve been retreating into introvertedness, taking much needed space from the chaos of a house full of 27 people, and the hundred other things that make my mind loud.

Based on the four hour nap I fell into this afternoon, it would seem that I am tired. Bone weary, really. 

This season–something I’m starting to identify with the word push–can’t last much longer.

Until something breaks, this is my plea for grace. 

I’ll write when I can dig up the words.

Until then,

Heather

This Big, Old Bed.

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I think this is the most personal space I’ve had since before the Race.

I got a bed yesterday, a big, old queen with new, white bedding. It’s balanced on risers so when I wake up, I’ll see the fog rolling in over the lake.

It’s crazy to even write about it. For the first time in over almost two years, my life can’t be packed up in my car and moved across the country. This bed makes everything more permanent. It feels like roots.

I spent some time just praying over the space before I went to sleep last night, annointing the doors and windows and the bed itself. I’ve been having trouble with dreams lately.  I don’t want that to carry over into this bed, this Selah space. I cried–not sad, but thankful for a place that is mine in the best way.

I feel like I can breathe. I feel like a grownup in this queen size bed, adrift in an ocean of white and yet anchored by these bedposts.

I want this to be a place where I can breathe and be at peace. I want to think of an island in that kind of soft, romantic way that I think of really beautiful, secluded beaches and other places where I find the LORD easily.

I want to wake up every morning to windows thrown wide and curtains open to the sunrise. I want to feel the same sense of quiet and stillness that I felt this morning. I want to make tea at at the table by the window and crawl back beneath my covers to meet the LORD for a long breath before everything begins.

This has been the ache in my heart for months–too have a Selah space, somewhere beautiful and mine.

And the LORD has given it to me. It’s something so small, but something that just makes all the difference to my heart.

 

 

Catherine, Bringing Kingdom.

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Her name is Catherine and she’s nine years old now.

I met her when she was eight. She was a little girl with close cropped dark hair and eyes like looking into a well at midnight. I had a nose ring then, a silver hoop. She used it to identify me, asking for me by pointing to her nose and saying “Sista.”

She was bilingual, just not in English. Bahasa–the official Malaysian language–was natural to her, and Tamil tumbled over her tongue.

In the instant when she walked into the children’s home, blue and white pinafore slightly askew and little hands fisted over her backpack straps, I knew she was my girl.

I spent April 2012 with her arms wrapped around my neck. She fell from the swing on the playground; I carried her home. She learned an English word; I learned a little Bahasa. She tickled my stomach and then laughed uncontrollably when I went after her in return.

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And when, one night, she stopped breathing, fainting from panic, I bolted from the house, running as I have never run, for help. I stayed on my face, interceding, until she came home.

I prayed about staying behind, quitting my Race and living in Malaysia with her.

But God said no.

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In the middle of this, I wrote. I wrote about our daily routines and the way we’d fall asleep with our feet pressed together. My heart was expanding far beyond it’s previous capacity for love.

The last time I saw Catherine, I walked her to the van that took her to school. She didn’t cry or kiss me or say, “I go too!” as she had all the weeks before. And when she drove away, my heart splintered into a million pieces that God laid into a simple path leading me back to the purposes of His Kingdom.

But it didn’t stop with me.

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At some point between now and then, another girl in America named Emily read the stories I wrote about Catherine and felt something stir in her spirit. She started praying about going on the World Race and was recently accepted onto V Squad, which launches in September. She wrote a blog that told me about the effect Catherine had on her life. I got the message last night and just wept.

My little girl is bringing Kingdom and she doesn’t even know it.

I have prayed circles around this child, begging God to send people who could love her after I left. And He is. He is caring for our girl better than I could have, had I stayed myself.

More than that, He is showing me the fruit of seeds planted almost a year ago, seeds that were sown with tears and a broken heart. He’s showing me a love too big to be contained in time or space. He’s explaining His purposes behind Catherine in my life, purposes that include Catherine as a rallying cry for future Racers.

The thing is, He doesn’t owe me that explanation. It wouldn’t be out of line for Him to say, “Just trust me.” But He knows that right now, I’m struggling in that area, and so He’s giving me a promise fulfilled to hold onto.

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And honestly, I feel like He’s given me a star. A little piece of light to hold in my heart. Something warm and shining and mine.

Catherine’s bringing Kingdom. He used her to bring Kingdom in me.

The Summit (a letter, of sorts)

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My boyfriend–my wonderful, wonderful man–is out on the mission field right now, leading the next generation of World Racers. About every day I see videos or pictures of him doing incredible things, like bouldering his way up a mountain in Swaziland, or surfing in Cape Town.

That was today, PS.

He’s always been far more athletic than I am. When we first started dating, he took me “hiking” up Stone Mountain. When I say hiking, I may in fact mean that we walked up a rather steep hill. By the way, I got winded about two-thirds of the way up and had to stop. Boyfriend could have run his way to the top and I was standing there completely unable keep any air in my lungs.

I thought this meant that I wasn’t athletic enough for him. He thought it meant he had to keep my pace. Slow. 

He adapted. He knew I wasn’t strong enough to keep up with him, so he stopped and waited, holding my hand as I pulled in a breath and then two. He didn’t laugh at me or sigh with annoyance. He just smiled and pointed out a particularly lovely part of the Atlanta skyline.

We made it to the top eventually, and we lingered there for a long time, leaning against boulders and little shrubby trees. And I found that I loved the view even more for how much it took from me to get there, and how much patience he had with me while I made my way behind him.

If we’re being super honest, this is the story of our entire relationship. Him, ready and willing and excited to just go for it at full speed.  And me, well, mostly willing, but moving at a much slower, more hesitant pace. Him, slowing down, waiting for me to catch up.

I needed a little more coaxing and a lot of encouragement. I needed space to figure it out and minutes to take deep breaths. I needed him to be more sure than I was, and for him lead me gently by the hand behind him.

And, praise the LORD, he’s given me all those things. He’s given me so much more than that.

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Today marks our seventy-sixth day apart. It is the halfway point of our separation. Everything after today is downhill. And for just a second, I want to pause and take a breath and remember. We’ve climbed up a pretty steep mountain to get to where we are now, and let me just say, the view from up here is just breathtaking.

We are living a beautiful story. There are many more mountains ahead for us to climb.There are summits to linger on while we take in the things before us, and remember the things behind.

But I’ll say this– there’s nowhere else I’d rather be and no one else I’d  rather live this story out with.