The sound of my alarm had me jumping up with a racing heart. I paced back and forth, placing myself smack in the middle of a game of monkey in the middle, between the fear of not knowing a single person and the joy of not knowing a single person, and I was losing. The two threw me around and I couldn't catch my breath. Back and forth. Back and forth. Joy and fear. Joy and fear.
It was my first night of college all over again, although instead of 18 and a 'Noles Tee, I opened the door to a new experience at 27 and in my "mom clothes."
Being women, women with a story, we cried on our way up to Tallahassee, and we surprisingly had only met hours before. You'd think by the heart to heart being shared that we had been friends forever, but this was just God's way of tearing down our fears and opening our hearts for what was to come.
Our trip quickly turned from emotional to hilarious. From the various back roads, to picking up a rental of a "couple of glasses," which we soon found out were 200 glasses to be exact. 8 crates, 3 suitcases, and multiple mini bags later, we drove away from the teal door that caught our eye and finished our journey to Winshape Retreat, which held Pursuit Community's Conference.
You'd think that since I have great experience in moving new places and making new friends, enter Florida State and Seattle here, that'd I'd be a pro at walking up to complete strangers and making friends out of them, but this was a whole new ball game for me. This time I carried a bag load of baggage, full of doubts, fears, let downs, as well as new hopes and dreams, and I kept wondering what it was I was doing there in the first place. But as I stepped foot on campus, a cool breeze met my face and I felt the Holy Spirit enter my heart. Nice, a familiar face, a safe place, and soon I felt at peace.
The first night I walked back to my room after worshiping in a room full of complete strangers, and all the familiar Instagram faces of course, and I met my amazing roommate. Although I was so excited to get to know her story, I had to apologize for the lack of "pep" because I had used it every single hour prior to the one in which we finally got to meet. We shared a little of our stories and planned to wake up early to see the sunrise and take advantage of the kid and husband free zone and all that God had to offer in this place. And we did just that.
Coming home from Pursuit my heart has been on an all time high. God was so present in that place and there was no denying His purpose and reason why He brought me there. He spoke so clearly, and it wasn't in a sweet whisper or simple nudge, He was yelling, gently of course, but making His voice clear, and I was open to receive it.
It's taken me some time to write, as I've sat with my computer screen open for days on in, but I needed to allow myself the space to process everything He was saying to me, and now I'm finally able to sit here and be open with not only myself but you as well.
My high has faded, and I'm longing for it again, but He hasn't left me completely. His words are strung within the laces of each church sermon, local gatherings I've gone to, the music being played, and a class that I was welcomed into by Hannah Brencher. (Ps. Go purchase her book if you haven't already. This girl has a heart of gold.)
He's still speaking but I find myself trying to listen a little harder as the chaos was begun again and His voice has seemed to fade into the distance. He has me working hard to hear him and I'm all in. It's worth it. He's worth it.
I have a journal full of stories and takeaways that I want to share from Pursuit, color coded in blue and green to separate teachings from prayers, but today God has me focusing on a small yet powerful piece that I pray will touch your heart as well.
Hannah spoke about a practice she does to allow herself to be open and honest; Honesty Hour, which is a time where she can be open and honest about herself and anything on her mind. Some of my honesty hours since the conference are hard to read and understand but they were me in those moments. And since she preached about how our writing will never be perfect, I finally have found myself stroking the keys on my keyboard, face to face with my readers, and asking for grace as I share with you honesty hour.
Let's do this.
Honesty Hour: APRIL 24, 2016.
Today has been filled with anxiety. I literally felt my heart explode as I ripped the groceries out of my little ones' carts and threw them back on the shelves. The walls closed in as I felt all the eyes staring at me wondering if I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown or just a bad mom. In that moment, I'm not sure I could decide either. Just moments before I was sitting in church taking notes left and right about what it means to be patient, and then I found myself stomping out of Trader Joes with tears streaming down my face and shaking hands. What changed in a moment's time? How did I go from praying to God to make me patient to running away saying "Not today!"
Have you been there before? One moment feeling like you're on top of the world and you finally have it figured out, only to find yourself throwing green beans back on the shelf and pouting like a child? Looking back to my morning, I wish I was wearing my 'Haute Mess' shirt just to make my audience's memory that much sweeter. I can only joke about this now since my heart has calmed and I'm lathered up in Stress Away and locked in my bedroom surrounded by laundry and the light glaring off this computer screen, meeting my healing and giving a truce.
Y'all want honest? Well, here it is. I am a hot mess, and I do not dare to add in an extra 'T' to that description of myself. I have a mind that gets lost within itself while it pretends to be able to "do it all." Want a tip of looking like you've got it together? Go to Target, purchase red hott (the 'T' is totally needed here) lipstick and smack it on your lips. There's so much power behind red lips that blinds the eyes from seeing the un-brushed hair or food-stained clothes. It adds a promise of, "I've got this," and soon they'll all believe it.
And why stop there? We've got an hour right? I'm a hot mess with a heart that feels too much but there's no complaining here. I can see right through your perfectly typed Facebook post's (side note: I did deactivate my FB and I'm not coming back no matter how bad all the social media apps want me to...) and I can feel your heart as though it were my own. As each speaker spoke at the conference I kept biting my tongue from yelling, "Me too!" or "Preach it!" Instead, I sat up in my chair and soaked her feelings up and let them swirl with my own.
Want to talk about emotions? Emotions left me voiceless and tired, but again on a high, I cannot explain in a text box such as this. Feeling too much sometimes leaves me isolated, hiding from the strong relationships God designed for me, letting the phone ring only to never answer it and sometimes it leaves me longing and grasping tight to your heart because as I see right through it, I can see the similarities between yours and mine. This world can be painful and we all could use an outlet that allows us to say, "Me too," and I pray that this honesty hour brings you just that.
This past week I've muted the world around me and found myself lost within the walls of my head. Edge to edge, back and forth, like a monkey in the middle game, and I was losing. Dreams exposed themselves, doubts marched on top of them parading their chants, percentages flashed their fluorescent lights and before I knew it, I was running out the sliding doors of a Winter Park grocery store saying, "Not today!"
And so, with it only being 5:29 in the evening, just hours following my worst moment of the day, I can only leave this post with a prayer found within the words of the song below. A truth that my heart needs to hear day in and day out. May this truth stick with you for the rest of the night and reach you right where your soul needs them to. I feel you, friend. I see you and believe me when I say, "Me too."