While I was there, I met my friend Lyndsy. She inspired me with her pursuit in natural childbirth, living with less measures, and comfort in her own vulnerability. Her vulnerability often challenged my own discomfort in that arena. She would often allow me to give my first response to a question and then with patience and love, she would pursue my answer again, allowing me to have space to communicate what was really on my heart. Every time I felt thankful for her pursuit of me in those moments and the space she provided for me to be seen and known.
During my time there, I watched Lyndsy become a mother. I watched her find joy in the transition and struggle through the hard pieces with honesty and love, showing up each day with renewed strength. Her little one began these crying fits that lasted hours, requiring perseverance, a lot of faith, and unrelenting love. Her husband had to travel for work so I went over to assist in an effort of support and to help her not lose her mind. I LOVE babies, happy or throwing a fit for hours, so I felt up for the job. We could see the relief that he needed, mainly sleep and food, but he resisted, struggling through, fighting off our love and comfort, searching for something while missing the fact that we were offering all that he needed. So we kept pursuing him that night, giving patience while he fought us, providing what he needed even when he turned it down, wrapping him in love, until he finally surrendered to peace and comfort.
The memory of my friendship with her in that moment with her little guy makes me smile and think, of course, because it is how my relationship with God can look at times. He provides, calls me higher, deeper into His plan, and I gear up for battle, determined to create my own plan and turning away from Him and all that he is providing for me, failing to see that everything I need (and probably asked for) is being given to me.
Moving back to Tampa was not in my plan but the doors opened and I felt the call to return. It has been the best move and hardest move for many reasons. In the fall, I had this sudden awareness that the plan that was unfolding looked nothing like I thought it would, unfamiliar in a familiar place, and I got to work battling to fulfill my own expectations. It was tumultuous and exhausting, resting no where in my faith or identity. Still I fought, much like my friend's little one did that night, and so He pursued me with a greater amount of love, a brutal but needed mirror, a lot of forgiveness, and comfort to remain.
God used it, is using it, to teach me a lot about love. Falling in love can be quite easy - the thrill of the newness can be exhilarating but the great stuff happens in the remaining. I fell in love with God a long time ago but remaining, choosing over and over again to be faithful, to find humility in my moments of discomfort, staying when other things entice me or seem easier, is where I lose my way at times. I'm thankful in those moments that He pursues us more, allowing our hearts to better seen, and faithfully staying with us in it, through it, and after it.
I am learning a lot about how I walk out that love for Him and other people, when I choose to respond to my immediate emotions, rather than from the truth and joy that is within me. Real love is remaining - in community, kindness, forgiveness, grace, contentment, gratitude, and choosing to stay in the remaining when I could give up or throw up barriers. I don't always know how to walk out love in that way, and there will be moments when my fear threatens those spaces, but I surrender to that He does, knowing I will be taught, be given people that will walk out that out with me by asking the question again, when I need them to, in order to share what is really in my heart. I will be made brave in those moments.
"The foundation of bravery is about pursuing love.. its takes bravery to choose
to continuously walk out that love, come what may."