I’ve been traveling a lot for work lately. This means long car rides, sitting at schools by myself, and very lonely hotel rooms. Now, I don’t want to sound ungrateful, because I am beyond grateful for this last month of work and learning new things. I say all these things to illustrate that I have had a lot of alone time. I don’t really watch T.V. and in all honesty, I have been too tired to keep my eyes open to read. So, most of this last month when not working, I sat in silence.
Prayed, reflected, got frustrated, prayed some more.
I realized how quickly my mind wanted to venture to the negative and toxic thought patterns.
Which brings me to what I am about to share.
In my copious amount of alone time, I started to reflect on year 30 and all it was. Actually, that’s not how it started. It started with me having a pity party for myself and cruising my way into a victim circle. Being my harshest critic. Only focusing on the steps I missed. As I was wallowing in my self-pity alone in my hotel room, I saw a disposable camera my friend gave me for my 30th birthday. It was to document my year. Well, her words were a little more encouraging.
“The word that the Lord is giving to me for you this season aka year 30 is STORYTELLING. So I got you this camera. Tell your story of year 30 with it sister. People are changed because of your heart for the Lord. Love you and I am excited to see how this year plays out for you. Here is to life, a life full of all that God has to offer. A new decade. Also, cool that you’re starting your 30’s with a “real job” and Jesus started his “real Job” when He Turned 30.”
I remember first reading these words with confidence in my voice because I was constantly making sure my voice was an echo of the Fathers. I was ready for this new season in my “real job”. It was going great, and then, well we all know what came next.
2 weeks. I felt solid, ready for the quick turn around.
1 Month. Surprised, but ready to utilize this thing called “grit” I have been studying.
4 Months. Okay, now I am pissed. Defeated, and honestly questioning what is the purpose of everything.
This is around when I lost my voice.
Politics are WILD and people are becoming hateful in their “passion”.
Protests of dear brothers and sister that tragically lost their lives have become a place of tension instead of a place of understanding and grieving.
Covid mandates causing so much stinking strife and fear.
2020 is the year where everyone wants their voice to be heard, and rightfully so.
But, this seems to be the year where I have lost mine.
Afraid to say the wrong thing. Afraid I wasn’t educated enough.
Afraid. Afraid. Afraid.
Feeling like I was hit with a Mack truck leaving my confidence in my voice far behind.
“Storyteller? Yeah right! My voice doesn’t matter. Someone will always find a flaw in my opinion. A open door to aggressively prove I am wrong. What even is the right answer? Lord, why would you give that word to me? How am I a storyteller, especially this year? I think I missed my chance. Maybe I can have a redo with this word next year?”
Right in the middle of my dramatic pity party I was throwing myself, I had the opportunity to go to the place I feel the most myself, and the closest with God.
Pulling up to the trailhead I was overwhelmed with the kind of excitement that you see in a child’s face the first time they go to Disney! Getting ready for the trail I decided since it was only 2 miles up and 2 miles back that I was going to trail run the hike.
I could describe this moment for pages, but let me just describe for now as holy and rejuvenating.
Once I made it to the summit, I was overwhelmed. It took everything in my to not burst into tears. I am actually crying writing about this moment because of how incredible it was. It’s something hard to describe, but at that moment everything felt like it was going to be okay.
The summit was bustling with people crowded at the sports with the prettiest views. I walked around to find a more quiet and secluded spot. Down a little path, I came across a rock wall that had the prettiest view and was empty.
I sat down, feet dangled over the edges, and just inhaled. Weepy, I started chatting with the Lord. It was a sweet moment that I am forever grateful for, but there was one moment that I want to let y’all in on that will tie this whole thing together.
“My daughter, that run up this mountain was easy for you. Even though you haven’t been up a mountain in a year doesn’t mean you weren’t growing or ready. In the absence of being among the incline of a mountain path, you were training and growing in other ways. Ways to prepare you for things just like the run up here that you wouldn’t have been able to do if you were focused on the mountain and its path.”
As you could imagine, I became even more weepy.
But it was at that moment that I realized that I didn’t lose my voice. In fact, my voice has grown. More powerful because it is even more grounded in the Lord. That just because my circumstances are different than I conjured them up to be, I am a storyteller. Through my voice, my actions, my lifestyle. Everything I do tells a story.
Even though that disposable camera still has half of its film to be used, this year has been a story worth telling, even if I missed it in the moment. A year of holy redemption and restoration.