Words have begun to slip free. Not many. Nothing earth-wreckingly profound, but still, after weeks of nearly nothing, I’m thankful for the drip–however slow it may be. The waves of self-doubt rise, on the heels of coming back down the mountain.
Learning to handle truth can be a slow process. Sickness sidetracks me and laundry mounds and topples my plans for the day, then for a week. Plus one more. Also?–I’m a much slower processor than I used to be. (Or maybe this is growth?)
I’ve sat a lot. I’ve made art with my littles, using it as both release and escape from the churning that rocks me from the inside out. Writers write, that’s what makes one a writer. The actual act of laying words to screen, pen to page, and so on. I’m on extended retreat, I keep saying. It’s both welcome (necessary) and terrifying. I’m just prideful enough to wonder if the words will ever come again.
What if I never write again? I think I just may stop–
These are the melancholy words I utter over the phone to a friend. She’s patient and quiet. She’s an expert in holding space for me in my processing. She doesn’t press but instead sends an email the next day, with an article providing reasons to keep writing. I shrug and open it. Right now, I need a reason to keep writing.
The final morning at Refine, I told the women that God had spoken to me in the shower just a couple of hours before we gathered for goodbye’s. I heard the phrase, “You Can’t handle the truth”, and while I initially joked about the words coming through the teeth of Jack Nicholson, in that well known court room scene of a certain film, I knew it was God’s voice, not Jack’s that spoke to me over the shhhhhh of the shower water. I knew it the way one is certain of anything because the evening before, during worship, God had spoken to my heart on a related issue. This follow up statement served as further confirmation that I had indeed heard from Heaven and not Hollywood.
I’ve been fighting, trying to stuff God into a box. He is unmanageable, and unpredictable in all of the right ways and the wildness of God is something I have both loved and feared. I’ve worked hard to whittle Him down, to minimize the wonders of His hands. I don’t know all of the reasons I do this, but I think if I am honest it’s mostly because I want it to make sense–faith, God, redemption. I want God to be safe–and perhaps if I am utterly naked about it, it’s also because I have long lived as my own god. I have worshipped a God created in my image.
I have treated God like a riddle to be solved. I have wanted to put Him through my formula, to have Him come out on the other side explainable, predictable, and completely manageable, so I can say, “Well of course He did it that way, that’s how He is”.
But He’s right–I can’t handle the truth.
God is anything but containable and His fierce love and passion for His people is unrelenting and wild. There is no box, no hole in the rock or ground that can contain Him and that terrifies me. I am learning however, that the hugeness of God is big enough to hold my doubt.
He’s asked me to do hard things. I’ve trembled and obeyed not out of terror, but out of awe and a deep wanting to please Him. I’ve said yes, as a means of both obedience and performance. I’ve wrestled with wanting and rejecting any recognition for the work. I know well, the darkness of a prideful heart.
I’m human. Sometimes my humanity makes me sick.
We’ve been home from Refine for a couple of weeks now. I’ve confessed my frustration, as a writer, at my inability to encapsulate what happened there with words. As if my small words are necessary to validate the experience. I’ve so badly wanted to define and articulate the sheer majesty of the weekend but every time I try, I wind up blank. My mind, an echoing hallway of images without words.
I can’t handle the truth. It’s too big. I’ve wrestled with doubt about the whole experience. I’m realizing though that just because I can’t explain it, doesn’t mean it didn’t happen as I remember. My failure to find words doesn’t diminish acts of God.
God is too big.
The works of His hands are a big deal.
Sometimes, too big for words.