Come Together: On Celebration & Mourning

There is a lot happening right now, lots of emotions swirling around.

Some people are anxious and terrified of coronavirus. Some people are angry and infuriated by systemic racism in our country. Some people are sad, some people are mad, some people are feeling both, some people are feeling neither.

Responding to both the pandemic and heightened racism is a lot for me to process.

I feel anxious and overwhelmed regarding the pandemic. I feel a righteous anger and undeniably upset about white supremacy.

I believe there is a divine mingling between joy and sorrow.

Growing up, I used to think I had to be happy all of the time. I used to think sadness, anger, anxiety, etc. were bad emotions. But through plenty of therapy and many life lessons, I have come to appreciate my feelings–all of them and for all reasons and seasons.

Maybe it is because of my mood disorder, or maybe it’s just because I am a human, but sometimes in the sweetest of moments I cannot neglect a feeling of sadness and melancholy, too.

For example, leaving my adult job and starting a position at the climbing gym was perhaps the most bold and bittersweet decision I have made to date. I was excited to try something new, to pursue a passion, to leave a toxic situation. But at the same time, I was sad to leave familiarity, to close a chapter, to end an era.

These days, I think there almost has to be some bitterness simultaneously mixed in with sweetness. We cannot fully appreciate the highest of highs without experiencing the lowest of lows. We cannot feel pure delight without knowing utter sorrow.

Will you celebrate and mourn with me?

Advent is a season of hope and expectation: hoping and expecting a Savior to be born, hoping and expecting a King. But it is also a time of longing and craving: longing and craving our Savior to return; longing and craving peace on earth as it is in heaven.

The holiday season can be a time of joy and celebration, but also a time we miss a loved one’s face at the dinner table or around the Christmas tree.

I hope you feel delight in this season, I hope you feel peace and excitement. But if you do not, or if you do not entirely, I hope you know it’s ok to feel sadness, too. It’s ok to feel anxious and to struggle.

Let’s come together. Let’s build each other up, not break each other down. Let’s mend our hearts, heal our pains, and celebrate and mourn together.

When God’s Not Good

What do we do?

When God diagnoses you with a mental illness, who do you call? When He strips you of your loved one due to cancer, how do you cope? When the worst that was yet to come has finally hit, what do you have now?

One of my most recent entries in my prayer journal read:

“Dear god. i am pissed.”

It was this honest, bold and outright declaration that my King and Creator angered me by intruding my rights (or at least so I perceived).

It was this outpouring of rage and envy and fear and anxiety and hurt and shame and guilt. It was this vocal, ugly cry as I yelled, “I BELIEVE. HELP MY UNBELIEF.”

sometimes, I think god hates me.

Paulina lives in Germany. Colin kicks ass in New York. Sarah slays in Burbank. Hysell is getting married, Hunter is working on a med degree, Rachel was promoted.

Here I am, stuck in my personal Nineveh, sitting in my bitter barn, counting a lack of hearts on my Gram pics because I don’t live and flourish in some young, hip, thriving metropolis.

The other day, I just about had it. I was moments from trashing my Bible and saying, “Yeah. I’m done with those whole God thing.”

But I phoned my friend Kelsy instead. She said this:

“Take everything you feel, and speak what you know.”

Who even says that?! Who filled her with that wisdom and knowledge and power?

OH YEAH. Jesus Man. Hate that guy.

I felt beaten and bruised and betrayed. It’s like Jesus didn’t invite me with the other little kids to sit on his lap as he talked about his Dad.

I know Jesus Man is good *eye roll.* I know he promises to stay the same. I know he fights for good things to come my way.

I believe. Help my unbelief.

It’s OK to wrestle with unbelief, especially when God just doesn’t seem good. Especially when you knock on the door and the lights are on, and yet He doesn’t answer.

It’s OK to say, “Jesus Man. You are pissing me off.” Because he can and does and will if he hasn’t already done so. Because he will be the very best and very hardest thing you have ever chosen to love and commit to.

When God’s not working, we have faith He is. When God’s not talking, we remember His voice. When God’s not good, we believe He is. And He helps our unbelief.