Entrust

She sends me the email on a fall day, when the yellow leaves are crunching beneath my boots. The stroller in front of me, I feel the vibration and I open her words.

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Entrust. The word stands out in the middle of her email, a soft but firm reminder: you’ve got to entrust Him with this. 

It’s not what I want to hear because the truth is: I do not know what entrusting even means. What does it mean to hand over to God the things I hold most close? What does it mean to see that all these things – these gifts – are His anyways?

The leaves dance wildly at my feet, and I push the stroller forward and I tuck her words close to mull them over. And I remember her addition at the end of the email:

“But remember to enjoy, sweet girl.

You’ve got this.”

Months later, there’s snow in place of golden leaves. Instead of her words staring up at me, there’s the small voice of His, asking me to entrust. To lay the Isaac down on the altar. To trust the Promiser instead of the promise.

And I wonder again at her words. What it looks like to even entrust what I hold close to Him.

I search for the word in Greek, in Hebrew, in the concordance and lexicons until the notes in my journal are long and in depth. From the Greek word pistis, to entrust means to be persuaded. A gift from God, unable to be produced by people.

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To entrust to Him –

literally means to be persuaded by an act only God can do. 

And because I am a chronic forgetter – I so often forget all that He has shown me, all that He has done, and the ways in which He so persuades me to place my trust in Him. To entrust my plans, my dreams, my love in the only place they are safe – in His hands.

So I pray – for I cannot do this on my own – to entrust what I hold close to Him.

“Persuade me,” I scrawl across my journal, tears brimming.

“Persuade me to entrust you with it.”

And the exchange – of laying it on the altar – is far more painful that imagined. But there is something beautiful in the persuasion, in the exchange, as God reveals love in a way only He can do.

Dear Twenty-Seven-Year Old

Dear you,

 

You’ve been twenty-seven for two days now, and today it’s a snowstorm. The roads are thick with white slush and the sun has long since disappeared behind the grey clouds. It’s quiet except for the sound of the scraping of shovels outside the open door. That’s the thing about snow, it always causes us to pause. Probably why you love it so much. The idea that there are things beyond us, that shape us, and derail our best laid plans, but usually for the better. When it’s anything beyond a snowstorm, your need for control and certainty causes you to clench your fists and your heart for awhile.

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Last year was quite the wild ride. I think we can both agree that so much happened in just 365 short days. But here you are – a year later – and at night, when the world quiets, and it’s just you and your duvet and your God, you’re wondering if you really know how to hear His voice.

You write her the email and you ask it plainly: how do you know? How do you know how to hear Him? How do you know when it’s His voice – speaking louder than my own?

And this is the thing, girl: right now, it’s dark, and it’s grey, and there’s a lot of snow all over the place. It’s shaking things up. The plans you made have slipped away. It’s causing you to stop – and pause. But that doesn’t mean you can forget.

And so in the midst of this snowstorm, this is what you need to remember: that this past year taught you that God is a storyteller, and a lover of words. His ways are not your own, but they are far better. And He is this grand God, a father of the weary, the one who holds the pen and only gives good gifts. And I’m telling you: those good gifts don’t come just in the shape of happy and full days, when the sun hits your face along the beach in just the right way, or the full moon – your favorite – falls on the day you were born. No. They also come in the shape of holy and heartwrenching days, too. They come in the shape of unexpected conversations. Of endings. Of tearful drives along Lakeshore Boulevard. When He takes away the things you think you want the most.

Because God is a God who knows your heart. And He knows what makes you feel alive. Full moons. Words. And the storyteller God know the way to your heart is through a good story.

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And He won’t ever fail to write a beautiful story in your life.

But the best stories make you laugh and cry. Make you weep and rejoice. Do not disdain the small. God only breaks you for His purposes. For this chapter. To set the setting for the next page.

Do not forget, girl! Do not forget you are shaped by the One who knows your heart and the way your green-sometimes-blue eyes laugh and the way they cry. Do not forget, in the midst of a snowstorm, the way He delighted you on the mountains of El Salvador. Do not forget the way your plans changed and in slipped His and you were astounded at the way He loves. Do not forget that the full moon, the sweet reminder of His faithfulness to you, appeared again and again when you needed the reminder the most.

There are no accidents. There are no coincidences.

There is only a beautiful story, written by a Grand Author, with a beautiful role written just for you. Always remember that.

Lovingly,

Yours.

Two Feet In

Dear Friend,

You’ve moved a lot these past few years. You’ve packed things into boxes, booked plane tickets, filled the cars. You’ve held new keys and opened fresh pages to a chapter.

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But the thing is – and I am learning – you have to be all in.

You can’t really have one foot in, and one foot out. You’ve got to have them both in one place, in one season, in one story.

Life is too short to straddle the fence. It’s too short to let yourself be stretched in two places, between two stories, between two lives. You’ve got to do the life you have well and you’re not big enough to live two lives.

And I think that might mean jumping in – feet first – until you’re all wet. I think it might mean crying the ugly tears that things have ended. I think it might mean holding on tight to the one who’s right in front of you. And I think it might mean saying goodbye, and meaning every syllable.

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You just need to be all there. The ones in front of you need all of you. They can’t just have pieces of you, my friend. You were never meant to be broken pieces but whole. All there.

It might be easier to let go if you let it all go at once. In one breath, as the doors shut and the keys are handed over, you let it end. You don’t cling to it. You don’t live in it. You don’t try with every piece of you to stay – but you keep walking. You don’t know what’s ahead of you but you need to find out.

Goodbyes are never easy but they are as necessary as hellos. I don’t know much more than that, but I know that somehow, endings are always beginnings, too. I know that sometimes you need to find the end of yourself to really find where you begin.

So be all there, sweet friend. Change your address instead of clinging to the old one. Stay close by even when some days you just want what was before. Sit down next to strangers even though your life feels too full to add another. Write the endings because you get to turn the page and find a new beginning.

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Be all there. Two feet in, heart fully present. Even if there’s tears in your eyes, look ahead, because you can,

‘with one eye squinted,

take it all as a blessing.’ 

Always yours,

a.

Standing Under the Clouds

Oh, friend.

I need to tell you something tonight. Bundled up in that thick duvet, a Kleenex box and Bible your companions for the night, I need to tell you something that you need to hear but probably don’t want to:

You need to stop letting fear tell you stories.

You know, the ones that you think you write the ending to. The ones where hope is lost, hearts are broken, and tears ensue.

Yeah, you know the ones. You think somehow, based on the past or your version of it, you can climb into the future and pick the disaster that is waiting for you. You need to learn to hope for yourself, friend. You need to hope. And believe. And stop letting fear take the pen to write those endings.

But I’m jumping ahead of myself here.

When you let fear take the pen, you let a whole host of other unwelcome friends visit: anxiety. High walls to keep vulnerability out. Words that tear you down instead of building yourself up.

And the truth is – when you hand fear that pen – you become your own worst enemy.

You need to let Love be your friend first. That’s the only way to stop listening to those stories fear tells you. You need to listen to the louder Voice: the one that hopes, that believes, that’s patient, that rejoices. Those might be pretty words friend, and you might wince at them because you’re still thinking fear makes more sense. But it’s just because you’re used to listening to his voice instead. Trust me. 

Stop going back. Stop listening. I know it’s second nature to you, and I know right now that voice seems loudest. But you haven’t given the others a chance. You haven’t let love speak louder, you’ve covered your ears. You haven’t given hope the chance to shine its face on you because you’ve been too busy standing under the clouds.

Stop standing under the clouds. Stop handing fear the pen. Stop writing the ends to stories you were never meant to touch. Some stories are written for you, friend. You are just meant to live them.

Yours,

a.

The One Who Holds the Pen

It was three years ago when I wrote the letter. A letter to my younger self. I remember clearly writing it; I remember the moment I was writing about. Writing letters are one of my favourite things to do, and I write them all the time, to myself, others, even if I never send it. (In fact, if we get right down to it, I think letters and words should be considered another love language, actually.)

But anyways, I wrote the letter to myself through tears and somehow in between them I hit publish and the letter was out in the world of cyberspace, never to be pulled back again. I know it changed me when I wrote it. I know it challenged me and shook me and reminded me that in the moments we are the most lost, we’ll find our way out again.

I didn’t think much of the letter after that, except when I happened upon it occasionally in a journal.

But then, three years later, the words from a friend stood starkly up at me: Literally me. Three years later, thank you for writing that letter to your younger self. She had sent a link to the blog post, and I was stunned. I didn’t even know her when I wrote those words years before. And yet, in a beautiful way, God did, and used those words to meet her where she was at.

I think I might have cried. I think I might have been humbled in an incredible way: that mostly, these words aren’t really mine anyways, nor do I ever want them to be. I just want to be the one that holds the pen. I want them to point to a God who knows what we need and when we need it, and who will use our humble offerings to bring glory to Him.

And that’s my prayer today: that I would stop holding onto the things that aren’t mine anyways, and let them do what they were always meant to do. Let my words and my heart and my hands be an offering, an offering back of the gifts that were handed to me in the most beautiful, gracious, love filled way.

And let me always be the one who holds the pen.

I promise.

Dear Angie,

It feels strange to write my name on these pages. But a name – hearing it out loud – I think implies being known. Remembered. Seen.

So Angie. I am writing this letter in my dining room, having eaten my breakfast of avocados and eggs and sipping my Greek coffee. I feel the need to write this down – with tears in my eyes and my heart aching – for if you ever go through a season of darkness again. I hate to even write the words “depressive episode” because it’s stark. And so medical. But you know what I mean.

You’ve been through three so far, although you have only recently realized what they were. Life has been sprinkled with small other moments – but the biggest trigger, as far as I can see, has been change. Moving. Loss. Letting go.

Learn to recognize your triggers. And be gentle on yourself. I can’t say that enough. Don’t push yourself to be what you aren’t. There will be seasons for that, absolutely. But this is not one of them.

Sleep. Rest. Even if you don’t see life in flowers or colour – buy the flowers anyways. Sit in front of art anyways.

Don’t be afraid to seek help. Sit in her office and cry and pay the eighty dollars. Because you need to cling to hope. Even if it’s a small, weathered thread. Cling to it.

Talk about it. Don’t hide it cloaked in shame. Shame destroys enough in this life. Don’t let it destroy you.

Immerse yourself in truth. Read truth – God’s Word – even if it doesn’t make sense. It will. Be prepared to fight. Fight those damn lies in your mind with everything you’ve got. Even if it makes you exhausted, and weep, and angry. Do it like your life depends on it. Because it does.

I can’t give you a timeline and I can’t give you answers. That’s the part that is the hardest, I know. I hate that.

But what I will give you is a promise. I promise yo11071779_10153037195309340_7575414725678016620_nu that when you come out of it (and you will) life will be all the more beautiful. You will overflow with joy and gratitude. You will dance alone in your car again. You will smile driving by a man playing with his dog. You will feel the blades of grass under your feet and smell fresh air and not be numb to it. You will wake up each morning excited for what is to come. Not so fearful you crawl back under the covers. You’ll see it in your face, even if others don’t, when you look at your eyes and your smile. There will be joy there again.

You will feel life again. You will feel Jesus again. You will be you again.

I promise.

So, so, so much love,

Angie