unsettled

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


I am blur and shadow lately. There is not much clear in my head; other things are more pressing than figuring it out.

Things like settling into our new house. Like spending time with a baby who is more awake than he was. Like fixing boo-boos against my toddler's will. Like learning to discipline her.

Learning to love them both, even if my love makes no difference, even if they push me away instead of seeking me out.

It is not the house that leaves me unsettled - since we moved only three streets over, we just transferred our things into their new rooms and didn't worry too much about boxes. And we have extra storage here to hide things we don't want to deal with yet.

Still, things feel choppy. Restless.

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I revamped my blog the other day. Do you like it?

I should rename the thing "This Restless Blog Template." But it seemed to go with moving house, and I'd meant to do it for a while. I wanted less clutter, less distracting, something to give my photos a chance to stand out a little more without being overpowering.

I love the look. It's peaceful. Quiet. Unlike the noise in my head. Unlike the noise in my house and two lines on a blog post between interruptions.

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The other night, I stayed up late after everyone was in bed. Wrote a few emails, caught up on my blog-reading. Thought my own thoughts and realized I am not as easy alone as I used to be. When I went to bed, I looked at Pete and saw me married, looked at Piper and saw me her mama, looked at Bredon and saw myself with a son.

Is it odd that I am shocked by it? As my own version of "what I want to be when I grow up" fades from view, I become an observer. I am not the me I was, not the me I thought I'd be.

Life happens with or without me, and sometimes in spite of me. Somehow, whether it comes in my way or in its own way, it comes if I am ready or not. Sometimes I try too hard to grasp time that slips too easily through my fingers like so much sand. I try to do more and be more, and I have more limitations than most.

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My life is not all about me, but I am human, and we humans are the main characters in our own stories. Sometimes I don't notice the supporting characters in the midst of my own struggles, characters who are their own main characters in their own stories, however ancillary they are to mine.

But I have been seeing them, peering outside myself, observing me through other eyes, trying to put myself in their shoes.

I don't want my life to happen without me. I don't want to stay frozen so long that I miss the others the Author has placed in my story. Yet with that desire comes a knowledge that I must not do when God wants me to wait; I must not speak when He wants me to listen. Eternal God knows more about the work of time in hearts than I can imagine, and there is a time for everything - no matter how pressured I feel to make everything all right today.

I have never wanted to be "Supermom" or "Superwife." Living predefined roles is counter-intuitive to me. It means doing many things "the hard way" because I don't do anything by halves. God knows that. My yes is yes and my no is no. Too many years in between made me double-minded so I didn't know what I wanted. Now, He takes me slow into His will, renewing my mind, strengthening my heart to do within His grace sufficient.

And God knows this about me too: once I know something, I know it. And I am accountable to Him for it. So He does not ask me for everything at once. He remembers that I am dust; He promises not to break a bruised reed.

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He knows how I struggle to keep up with the changes in my life - is all of life transition? What is it like to stay in one place for years and years and know all the same people and go to the same church and marry someone you knew when you were five and have kids with all your best friends?

I wouldn't know.

And I almost don't want to know. I don't know how to be that settled.

{This} Restless Heart - a name I stumbled on after a blog switch a few years ago when someone I didn't like was reading my words and commenting on them. I liked the romance of the phrase, the quote I had to go with it - I had no idea how it would come to describe my heart and my journey.

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There are two deep things that I can see Him doing in me now. I don't know how to define them, because I don't know His end. I stand at the edge of something new, wondering how long the churning will last, staring fascinated at the whitecaps, trying to gain my balance. Looking down is dizzying.

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One deep thing has to do with Piper. She is heavy on my heart now since my visit to my parents' house, since listening to their counsel, since acknowledging the thing I've been afraid to acknowledge, the hard thing, the coming-out-of-hiding thing I've been avoiding. I am learning to see her. To do more than react. To love her differently. I am learning what needs of hers to release to God, learning what needs I should be meeting. I am learning to listen - to her and to Him.

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The other deep thing has to do with people. Specifically with other believers.

I read through the second half of Revelation on our way home from my parents'. There is an endless stretch on I-26 between Columbia and Charleston that makes for some very solid reading time.

As I read, I found myself overwhelmed with the amazing picture of God presented in Revelation. The Holy God who will endure sin no longer. The Alpha and Omega - the one who will finish it all. The triumphant Son of Man reaping the earth with the Word of God, the one who Himself is named the Word of God. The inescapable wrath of God that will supersede all platitudes and nicetudes and drive people to curse Him and be destroyed. The perfect justice in His judgment, long-deserved.

I am awed at that God. I love that God. I wept as I read, realizing that it is not for me because I am in Jesus. That before this God of wrath and judgment, my testimony is not "Jesus, but..." It is Jesus Christ and Him crucified.

It is finished.

And I am not afraid.

But when I face the prospect of walking into a church, of interacting with other believers, I am terribly afraid. There are voices in my head, lies long-believed, unfamiliar, frightening images of a graceless God who demands perfection as long as someone has a paintbrush in hand to wash my dust in faded white that pales in comparison to the light.

White that this photographer knows must disappear in the bright, for His glory exposes more than we imagine. Really, it is the Light that makes even the dust beautiful.

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I stand on the edge, wishing the clouds away, but half-glorying in the storm and the wind and the blur and the shadow. My arms are opening. My eyes are opening in spite of the rain; I am learning again to love the wildness in this restless. It is passion. It is intimate. It is something I am doing with Him, something He is doing with me. I walk a path no one else has walked; no one else can walk for me.

I am unsettled lately, changing - yet I am deeply settled too. I don't understand it, but I'll take it for now.

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I have no idea how much sense this post makes; it's the first real opportunity I've had to sit down and process anything since getting back to Charleston after my week in VA. I'm just thinkin' for right now. Thanks for bearing with me.

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AND as a completely random aside, I'm a finalist @Greeblemonkey's March photo contest. Please click over and vote for my photo: "Learning to Breathe."





(Image © Informal Moments Photography)

9 comments:

Maureen said...

I like very much the changes you've made to your blog.

The feeling of being "unsettled": pursue it, let it take you where it will. Following it can sometimes be like opening a closet to find you left the light on.

Hugs to you today.

sarah said...

I like the blog changes very much. They reflect the peacefulness I always feel when I come here.

Quivering Daughters said...

I know you don't know me but what you write resonates with my soul deeply. I love that you reveal your introspection, your shadows, your restlessness and unknowns. That you aren't afraid to reveal that you don't have all the answers but lots of questions. That is very comforting. <3
Love the new look.

togetherforgood said...

I look in the mirror and see someone I never expected to be. Never really wanted to be, if I'm honest. But this is the road He has put me on. And the face in the mirror is the one He has given. And the blessings eating at my table, pulling at my heart-- they are the people God has given me to love. Life is a transition-- the greatest transition-- from new life of infancy to new life in Him to new life WITH Him.

I am praying you will find a church with believers who understand grace.

Anne Lang Bundy said...

... learning to do more than react ...

I've long valued "proactive." I'm allowing busyness to too often push me into reactive mode. Your words made me see it just now. I'm grateful.

Melissa_Rae said...

Kelly -
Always so beautiful, so honest and touching. I love the new look of your site. I agree with other comments about embracing the unsettledness of your life. Difficult...but so rewarding to just recognize your inability to control, plan and structure. Just release it to God and believe that He has you (and your family) in His hands.

deb said...

release it , is true.
I've been feeling much of what you shared for most of this forever life of ours.
I accept it.
Not always gracefully.
But with love, and humble thanks and a chance to try again every day to do right by others.

I hope you feel a little more settled soon.
But if you don't, I know you will make beauty and love from every day and all of it's come what may.

Vonda said...

I read this today...I can only read you sometimes. You hit too close to home and it is uncomfortable sometimes. Does that even make sense?

"Jesus says, 'Come unto me and I will give you rest.' the rest He offers is the rest of meekness, the blessed relief that comes when we accept ourselves for what we are and cease to pretend."

A Simple Country Girl said...

How you put into words some of the things of my intertwined heart and mind is just amazing. And your new blog style is simple elegance...

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