Seasons of my life seem to always be defined by John Mark McMillan songs.
I scrawled “Future / Past” onto my mirror when I moved into this place, now over two years ago. “You are my first / You are my last / You are my future / and my past” is now faded, but still there to greet me every morning. “Skeleton Bones” was my anthem for new life, my mourning and rejoicing interwoven, when my world seemed to have shattered in my fingertips. I feel like I don’t even need to mention “How He Loves” – that changed everyone’s life, at one time or another, right?
And then, for the longest time, it was “Counting On”. And, to be honest, it wasn’t a place I wanted to be. “When the bombs break right outside my door / and I can’t shake the onset of my wars” felt a little too familiar; “I’m throwing stones up at your window … You’re what I’m counting on” felt too much like a whispered dream – one that I never knew if it would come true. A desire, a longing. But not quite my reality.
I joined a “Make Blogging Fun Again” group – because sometimes its too easy to get lost in your head, sometimes life takes the one thing that keeps you sane and twists it up into something you don’t even recognize. Food for another blog, perhaps, but I needed some outside voices. I needed encouragement to just have fun with writing – less analyzing, less overthinking. We’ve been given the task to write a letter to ourselves, 365 days ago. What would it hold? Encouragement? Warnings? Love?
A year ago. Eish. When I first read that, I inwardly cringed, because there’s so much I would want to tell a-year-ago-Krysti. Too much. A lot of it would be yelling. Too much of it would be yelling. A year ago, I was about to do some things, out of hurt, that would make me much, much more hurt. I was about to think I had found the secret to wholeness, and yet end up emptier than when I started. I was about to be triggered so deeply and spiral so far…
And, to be fair, I was also about to start a trek towards healing. Simultaneously through all the hurt, I was graciously offered a path towards deeper understanding and I ran with it. There was light, it was just harder to focus on because the darkness was so heavy. I had to hit rock bottom before I figured out how tall I can stand.
As I was reflecting on a year ago, on the season of “Counting On” that I’m not longer in, I realized that I wouldn’t send myself a letter. I would send myself a song: “King of My Heart”. Specifically “You are good, good” sung over and over and over again – not in a happy, campfire, kumbuya melody, but in a gut wrenching, raspy, honest cry.
That’s what I wish I knew, what I more fully understood a year ago. I think I would have made some different choices, I would have lived life very differently. For I didn’t necessarily doubt that He was good, but I didn’t understand what ‘good’ entailed. I still don’t, fully. But I have a much better idea now.
“You’re never gonna let me down” is claimed over and over and over again. I needed that, too. For when I was handed His ‘goodness’ and I didn’t understand, I needed the reminder me not understanding doesn’t equal Him letting me down. My lack of understanding doesn’t necessarily mean He has left. Basing a life on the knowledge that He WILL never let me down is something I wish I had been able to do. Its something I’m trying now.
I think His goodness is something I believed in, in general. But something I doubted, in my personal life. I wasn’t living out of it. I had the head knowledge of His goodness, of His faithfulness, but didn’t know it at the heart level. And that made me do some things I wish I hadn’t, it made me put my heart in places it didn’t belong. But you know what the beauty is? He still isn’t gonna let me down. A year later, here I am, and He’s still here. He’s still for me. He’s still good.
I opened up my old journal to exactly 365 days ago, just for some context, just for the heck of it. It was sermon notes, but at the bottom was scrawled “YOU’RE what I’m counting on….” A deep desire of mine, a heart cry, an outstretched arm desperately reaching for a handhold. Wandering aimlessly in a darkness that never seemed to dissipate, no matter how many light switches I flicked.
I read those words, I remember that season, as I hear the end of “King of My Heart” play out of my laptop:
When the night is holding onto me, God is holding on.
He is good.