Tonight I watched the sunset from my bed. Curled up with my blue blanket and a mug of cinnamon tea, I was struck by how fast the colors changed and how quickly the dark clouds moved as they swept past the hills.
It’s been remarkably stormy here in California. And while we need the rain after years of drought, it’s been devastating for some. Day after day, the rain has pounded on the roof of the little yellow house I call home in San Francisco…home for two more weeks before James and I tie the knot and move to Los Angeles.
The rain certainly hasn’t made this transition easy. As we’ve made Target runs for bubble wrap and packing tape and dashes to the car with boxes of Goodwill donations in tow, we’ve gotten more than just a little bit sprinkled on.
But the annoyance of having to manage moving logistics in the midst of one of the biggest storms we’ve seen in years is only part of my issue with this rain. The worst part is the darkness.
Even now — while there’s no sign of rain in the forecast for a few days — the dark clouds have taken over the sky. Ominous and grey, they have effectively blocked out the light and cast their shadow over the hills.
Perhaps that’s why I couldn’t tear myself away from the sunset tonight. Even as the dark clouds rolled into view — menacing and large, like that playground bully everyone remembers — they couldn’t completely hide the bright pinks and golds that danced around their edges. Higher up in the atmosphere, away from the storm clouds, the sunset worked its magic. Beautiful and bright, those clouds in the distance reminded me that there’s still light in the dark.
Yes, the storm will pass, that is true as well. But I don’t often find that phrase — “this too shall pass” — particularly helpful in the moment. Whether we’re dealing with literal or metaphorical storms, I think we all need to see the light — right there in the darkness.
I’ve witnessed that bright light — that beautiful sunset — many times in the past few weeks. It has broken through some truly dark days.
Words I never imagined I’d hear — “Friday is your last day here” — were pushed out (at least for the moment) by ones that rang truer and brighter — “you’ve left a mark here…you will be missed.” And the reality of leaving San Francisco — a reality I haven’t quite come to grips with yet, despite the moving boxes and U-Haul reservations — hasn’t devastated me, thanks to the joy of my upcoming marriage and the celebration that has sprung up all around it.
And yet, those moments haven’t been enough. Not on their own.
I’ve allowed myself to be controlled by my circumstances, despite my best attempts at controlling them.
With so much change happening all around me, things feel rather uncertain right now. While we’re celebrating some of that change (i.e. marriage), it all still leaves a recovering perfectionist and control freak like myself floundering a bit. I’ve tried to find a sense of steadiness in the midst of the upheaval, and it’s not been going so well.
Instead of feeling steady, each new circumstance sends me either up or down, left or right. One moment, I’m living in the light, celebrating with my girlfriends at my bridal shower. And the next I’m shrouded in darkness because of an injury or an upset.
As I play back my words from those darker moments, I must admit I sound rather juvenile: Why is this happening to me? I don’t get it. This doesn’t make any sense. What horrible timing! As though anytime is a good time to sprain your foot…
But I’m tired of acting like a child. Instead, I want to be more childlike. More trusting. Sometimes I wonder what happened to that girl who was cultivating a deep trust in her Father. Where did she go?
And then I remember everything I’ve written about over the last few years, and I realize exactly what my problem is. I’m meditating on all the wrong things.
I’m so hyper-focused on the darkness and yet refusing to process it. Instead of writing and praying, I’m fretting and venting. Instead of seeking the light, I’m nursing my wounds in the darkness.
So that’s why I chose to watch the sunset tonight and why I want to look for the light more. Not an explanation for my circumstances. Not a good reason for my situation. Just the light of love. The fullness of God’s love for me.
I’ve been reading Lysa TerKeurst’s book Uninvited — a timely gift from a dear friend — and it’s been everything I need. In a chapter about Lysa’s own trust issues, I found myself nodding my head and underlining several poignant phrases. On the last page, she wrote out a beautiful prayer that I plan to pray through each day — to help me find the light, to help me learn how to trust again.
Lord, You are teaching me so much about trusting You. Fully. Completely. Without suggestions or projections I’m choosing to embrace the very next thing You show me. I’ll take this first step. And then I’ll take the next.
I finally understand I don’t have to fully understand each thing that happens for me to trust You. I don’t have to try and figure it out, control it, or even like it, for that matter. In the midst of uncertainties, I will just stand and say, “I trust You, Lord.”
I visualize me taking my fear of rejection from my incapable clutches and placing my trust in Your full capability. And as I do, I make this all less about me and more about You. I replace my fragile efforts to control with Your fortified realities.
You are the perfect match for my every need.
I am weak. You are strength.
I am unable. You are capability.
I am hesitant. You are assurance.
I am desperate. You are fulfillment.
I am confused. You are confidence.
I am tired. You are rejuvenation.
Though the long path is uncertain, You are so faithful to shed just enough light for me to see the very next step. I now understand this isn’t You being mysterious. This is a great demonstration of Your mercy.
Too much revelation and I’d pridefully run ahead of You. Too little and I’d be paralyzed with fear.
So, I’m seeking slivers of light in Your Truth just for today and filling the gaps of my unknown with trust.