It’s been a little over three years.
Three years since I moved to Colorado. Sometimes I feel that day like it was yesterday. I can still feel the cold window as I laid my head against the glass and let tear after tear fall. I remember the failure, shame, and regret. But a still small moment of relief underneath the war of emotion raging inside of me.
I remember feeling like I couldn’t breathe. This panic attack. This, “holy crap what did I just do” when I woke up the next morning. The world felt big and scary. I knew I was with my parents. There was safety and protection. I could just completely fall apart and not worry about anyone’s reaction. I could curl up in my bed, pull the covers over my head, and pretend like the world didn’t exist. For a few days. And then my brilliant and wonderful Dad told me I needed structure. So he had me come to his office and work on spreadsheets while I looked for other jobs.
A year later I remember wrestling with the same sense of loss. Being confused because I had new friends and new community and a brand new life that I actually enjoyed. But I still didn’t know who I was. I didn’t know my favorite color, how my Hosea story ended, what I was good at. I didn’t know any of it. I remember the insane need to run away. To go somewhere where no one knew my name. So I went to Denver, to a hotel for just the night. I journaled. I cried. I prayed. I laughed. I worshipped. I spent precious moments with my Papa.
I learned my favorite color that weekend. I learned how to not be afraid of pain. Because it meant I was living and loving. I learned that I was stronger than I ever thought. I learned that my community would chase after me when I ran away. I loved. But I still had alot of tears to cry. Some pretty rough ones. I’m always a little glad we don’t know the future pain we’re about to endure.
My second year was the beginning of the real transformation. I started falling in love with Jesus in a way I never thought possible. I learned about Grace. I learned about authenticity. I learned about vulnerability. I learned about saying goodbye. I learned about letting go. I learned how to walk away without shouting the angry and hurt words filling my spirit. There was a job change, a move, a new roommate, Africa, a fresh start. My good friends became lifelong companions on this journey. I opened myself up and bled. I shared my story with 100 friends, strangers, loved ones, and a boy I loved. I understood why I was here and how a desert can bring Life.
I started putting one foot in front of the other as I started towards the calling He had for me. Walking in utter abandon to His best and not mine. The girl I was started fracturing and falling away. The girl I want to become started peeking through. Glimpses of her smile and laughter occasionally showing up. This year changed me.
And here we are.
I’m sitting in a hotel room in Montgomery, Alabama, doing a job I literally could not have dream up. I tried to and didn’t come up anywhere near this. Over the last year, I fell hard again and had my heart smashed to smithereens. I remember moments where I cried so hard for so long that nothing came out. It was just so hard. Begging for a new life to forget everything. Not knowing if the pain of being known was worth the pain of rejection.
I was surrounded by my dearest friends as I got the news that my grandfather was dying. I got to surround one of my dearest friends as she gave birth to beautiful Levi Daniel. I got to watch God be faithful in His promise to her. I kissed a boy. I got that phone call. The one that led me here. To Alabama and back to Nashville. I got one of His promises. I drove away from Colorado and realized how much I loved it. I drove away seeing redemption and new and beauty and life. I came home crying and left crying. Tears of the same name but different source.
As I look back at three years, all I know is the difference surrendering our best for His makes in the plan for our lives. And how worth it His best truly is.
Here it is, the end of this Chapter. Untangling the girl I was from the girl I am and leaving her in that part of the story. The girl I was doesn’t get a narrative in the future. She’s only a ghost of a memory.
Goodbye, Valley of Heartbreak.
Hello, Door of Hope.