Monday, March 24, 2014

on life lately

This winter has been a struggle for me.

It seems like every winter is, really. The monotony of cold and grey skies always pushes me deep inside my already-introspective self. And the deeper I am into myself, it seems, the further I am from God.

Working retail in January, February is no joke either, and the lack of shifts certainly didn't help matters. It left me with plenty of time to sit on my couch and think about things like, oh I don't know, mortality. Purpose in this fleeting life. Why I have such a problem figuring out what to make for dinner every night (I've fallen into a chicken trap.)

And what, I wondered, is the purpose in all this? In living most of my life in this tiny apartment, thinking of all the grand things I could and should be doing with my life. Isn't there more?

We were quietly sipping tea one afternoon when Trevor looked at me and said, "You're not a very happy camper these days," which was his kind husband way of saying, Would you quit moping around, woman? Also, the bathroom hasn't been clean in weeks.

So I swung open the door and invited him in to my own personal pity party. He wasn't as entertained by my dramatic monologue as I, however; the overly dramatic one I had been rehearsing in my head all winter. After I was through explaining my small little tragedy, he said, "Heather, don't you know you have to create purpose?"

I didn't like that. Create purpose? Okay, well, yeah, if I was free to pack up and do whatever I wanted, that would be easy. I'd sell my stuff and do something meaningful like teach English in Guatemala or start an orphanage or something and drag Trevor along with me. But I can't do anything, I said, when we're stuck here.

"Do you think the people in this community are any less important?" he asked.


He was right. I didn't want to look around and see the needs around me because that would mean taking a small step outside myself. And isn't it the small steps that are often so much harder than the big ones? It would be so much easier for to to sign up for a mission trip to a remote village in Africa  than to initiate a conversation with the girl in the corner of the room who looks as lonely as I feel.

This life, I began to see over this long lonely winter, is not about me. It's not even about what I can do to make a difference in the world. It is only, only, only about Jesus. I had to grasp that before I could even think about how I could be used by Him to serve and bless others. Isn't it funny how we can make idols out of the things that are so good?

Spring is coming, in little bursts of sun between the wind and little snowflake icons on the weather reports. My heart is free for the first time in months because Jesus didn't just set me free, he is setting me free every day. There's a sense of newness and bravery and stepping out in nervous faith. I'm watching in awe as God is beginning to use me right here in the squeaky clean suburbs of North Carolina. Because He is too big to be confined to only one method of ministry, one way of living for Him.

So that's where I am. That's what I've been wrestling with and why I've been so silent here the past few months. But finally I'm recharged and energized and a little like a kid coming home from church camp because there is so much passion fired up in my belly right now. This season is good. This life is good.

Chicken casserole for dinner every night is not good, but I'm working on that, too.


  1. Yay! You're discovering things :) It's especially interesting how you said small steps can be harder than big ones. I've often observed myself and others thinking and behaving in ways to reinforce that idea! Basically an all-or-nothing mentality. It's scary, in a fun and exciting way, though, to break out of it. Good luck!

  2. I am the exact same way with winter! We really need to be friends. The only thing we don't have in common is you don't watch Downton Abbey, and that can be fixed (LOL, kidding).

    (No, but really.)

  3. Somehow I can relate too almost all of it - dreary winter, feeling lost, looking for purpose. And there's the charm of packing up everything and move on. I really like what your hubby said though... about creating purpose. But if you're anything like me, I understand it's hard to put yourself out there.

    Btw I love your writing. And your photography. You are pretty awesome! :)

  4. Love this, love your voice. I've been wondering if you've been busy with work or either suffering through this long winter like so many of us have been. I don't know how bad it was in NC, but it seems to be THE winter that has taken it out of everyone. Even me, the die hard Minnesotan. But, like you said, it's about loving people right where God has us. And yes, too much introspection is usually bad for anyone. People need Jesus in the suburbs just as much as they need Him in orphanages. I think in our culture we can get wrapped up in thinking too globally, and I hope you nor anyone who reads this comment takes that the wrong way. I've never been on a global mission trip, but I've seen Jesus at work at my corner coffee shop and co-op. Go talk to that girl next time you see her, you might have no idea how much it would mean to her :)

  5. it's okay to not be inspired, i go through those times as well. right now, i'm more inspired to read and write than i am to take photos. and sometimes, like thanksgiving and christmas this year, i take so many photos and videos, but i find no words to accompany them. it's a give and take and we can't have it all all of the time. it's spring now, something inspiring will come up soon!

  6. I can relate to having a season (or two or three) of struggle. After going through a tough period of time in late 2013, I watched my perspective shift and change as God shaped my heart and mind through my experiences. While times of difficulty can seem to drag on, the end result can be beautiful when our hearts are centered on what matters most at the end. Thank you for sharing this Heather! Also, I mentioned you in my blog post this morning :)

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  8. Keep creating purpose right here on your blog if you don't mind...I love your voice! I almost laughed a couple of times, which would have made the rest of my English class feel awkward, but whatever.

    Spring is coming. God is good in all seasons. The little things have weighty significance. God puts us where He wants us because He has purposes for us there.

    Also, try tilapia. It's way less intimidating than you think.

  9. I think (no: know) that we all go through periods like this in our lives, and i believe that we almost always come out on the other end a better, more passionately inspired person :)

  10. This is BEAUTIFUL. I can relate to pretty much every word. My husband is like yours, with the gentle nudges and kind truths. So happy you're leaving a lonely season and entering into one filled with hope and promise!

  11. Thanks for sharing this came at just the right time! =)

  12. Love this, Heather! I feel like coming to this place is one of the hardest adjustments of newly married life. I spent a lot of months feeling lonely and sorry for myself until my husband encouraged me to stop throwing the pity parties and start investing myself in other people (husbands are great that way, huh?). Pouring yourself into the people around you isn't always glamorous or immediately gratifying, but it is soooo good for your heart and your mind in the long run. The Lord is glorified through your humble service to his people :)

  13. Am I commenting too much? Irrelevant.

    I'm in that boat with you. Winter is long and where I am is difficult.
    But Jesus, right?


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