I have this friend. She says that she pursued me and convinced me to be her friend. I will only agree with her on the fact that she did come over to my house about a week or two after our first babies were born (1 day apart), because Lord knows I wasn’t going anywhere for the next month and she’s just crazy and independent enough to go traveling with her firstborn newborn like she’s been doing it all her life.
Anyways, she may have initiated, but our friendship has been mutual, if not lopsided since. You see, she gave me one of the best gifts from the very beginning. Acceptance. She totally accepted me for who I was, in that season, and each season after that. She didn’t require more than I could give. She’s just always been there, for what feels like forever (also because once you have kids, it’s hard to remember what life was like before them. For better or for worse.) (insert smirk)
Recently I’ve walked through a lot of new territory that has taken it’s toll. Loss comes in all shapes and sizes – ours looking like a miscarriage at 7 weeks, a move away from the only home our children have ever known and an amazingly supportive community, a job not working out, and of course don’t forget the million expectations that each of these are wrapped in. And in this season, while the Lord has given SO much strength and companionship and even new friendships, it has still been really hard.
And in the process, I have recently discovered I have also lost sight of who I am.
So when my beloved friend offered to meet me halfway between our home in Matthews, NC and south GA, I resisted. I found myself scared that I no longer had anything to offer her in return for all that she has given me. And I wasn’t sure I could walk through another loss right now, a loss of closeness and connection with one of my dearest friends.
But I decided that I should go. And I’m so glad that I did. And as we spent a few hours catching up, she said words to me that I will never forget.
They came in response to my confession, that I didn’t feel I had anything to offer anymore. This season of stripping away and pruning had left me feeling barren, in more ways than one.
And her response was one of the sweet gifts.
She said that she would take any Jenny that she can get. The confident, full of the Spirit, ready to attack a new move and job and season Jenny, and a broken, sad, and disoriented Jenny as well.
Acceptance. I didn’t have to come bearing gifts or words of wisdom or some explanation of what I had just walked through.
I could just be me, whoever that is right now.
And an amazing thing happened. When my hurt and wounds were watered with acceptance, I left, just hours later, feeling strengthened and with a renewed sense of purpose. And also a realization that part of my current struggle is that I had been grappling with trying to remember and be who I was before this season started.
It’s like I was under the impression that now that things in my life were broken, I needed to go back to who I was before, somehow fix things as though they hadn’t happened.
It sounds so silly as I type it out, but it was this subconscious struggle. I needed to be me, and since I didn’t know who this new girl was, I was trying to revisit her last sighting.
But that’s not what our Savior does. He doesn’t reinvent. He makes things new.
I had been struggling to be who I used to be, but I’m not a mama of two anymore, living in GA with friends I’ve known for the past 10 years, doing the normal life thing as we knew it.
I’m now a mama of three, even though I don’t have the privilege of the 3rd one being with me anymore, and I now live in Matthews, NC with new friends who I’m just now getting to know.
I’ve lost some things. Some significant things. It needs to be acknowledged. Grieved.
But also as important is the acknowledging of what the Lord is doing right now, and that is planting new things in my life.
He’s preparing us for our next, new season in Him. And He’s pruning for new growth.
My friend’s acceptance gave me the freedom to be the new me, the one that I’m still continuing to become.
(I have a feeling this new Jenny is gonna be a little bit less put-together, but prayerfully more compassionate and graceful. But I have a feeling the same ole impatience is still there, along with her love for naps.)
So ironically, as I get to know people a little bit better here, I feel like we’re both getting to know me at the same time, too.
It’s hard not to feel like it’s a deficiency to not have a good grasp on who you are by age 34. I have struggled with shame regarding that, this lie that I need to have my life together by now. I mean, I’m a grown woman responsible for two littles that has been walking with the Lord for years. “Get your life together, woman!” Blah Blah Blah – insert internal monologue here.
But I guess the 2nd half of 34 is a good enough place to start as any.
So here’s to more of ‘the middle,’ starting a new year in a few days with new eyes and new hope.
That’s another one of the best gifts. Hope.
There can be loss & new gifts all at the same time.
That’s the beauty of our God.