Summer is my favorite time of the year.
I’m a water girl and the way to beat the Texas heat is to go swimming. I also get cold very easily. So water + heat = living the dream.
I anticipate the coming summer beginning November 1st. Christmas is my second favorite time of the year so that helps time pass slightly faster so the true countdown to summer bliss begins roughly January 3rd.
Summer has traditionally been filled with lots of laughter and sunshine and friends and yes, swimming.
There’s just something about peoples’ spirits being high amidst the oppressive heat that fills my own soul.
Summertime is a dream.
And then there’s Summer 2022.
I want to be careful here. Summer 2022 has felt like two alternate realities. In one: I’m traveling the world and going on these incredible trips and seeing so. many. different. ways. God is showing up!! In the other: I’m drowning. From school. From relationships. From my past.
The theme for the summer has been dependence.
It started when our team left for Greece. We had a rough idea of what we might do, but quickly found ourselves each morning in prayer before the Lord, asking Him to make known to us what He had for us that day.
A whole new meaning to Daily Bread.
Honestly, watching God wreck my well-intentioned plans as a trip-leader was actually really cool. Our natural God-given giftings were used in ways to further His Kingdom. All three of us on the team learned big lessons that felt tailored to us. It was just so right to live in the unknown anticipation.
And then we came home. And I went into a tailspin.
I came home and was overwhelmed by grad school (I would end up writing 90 pages of academic papers in the span of 9 weeks). I was distraught over a relationship that wasn’t playing out as I had hoped. I was mad at turning thirty. And I was every emotion on the feelings wheel about a new diagnosis from my counselor.
So my summer looked like this: I would go on a week-long trip. Be home for two weeks. And then leave for another week-long trip. This cycle happened 4 times.
The trips themselves were physically draining, but emotionally, spiritually, mentally refreshing. Life in-between demanded every ounce of me. Grad school/life/counseling/work/trip prep. I would barely meet the majority of deadlines. I missed a lot. I frequently felt like I was drowning.
I still have one more “cycle” to go through, but the summer grad school semester has ended and I have some of my mental sanity back and can look back on the past months.
God knew I needed the practice of dependence in Greece to be able to survive the following weeks.
I’ve taken up running this summer (yes, I too am questioning if I’m possessed). I call it running, but really it’s a slow, wheezy jog.
Those thirty minutes each evening have become sacred.
As I coax one foot in front of the other, I’m audibly laying out my thoughts and frustrations and hopes and desires to the Lord. The majority of nights, my prayers have been fiery. They’ve been raw and honest and desperate.
I’ve spent a lot of this summer mad at God. AND I’ve spent a lot of this summer falling deeper in love with God.
In with dependance has come elements of surrender and patience and trust and steadfastness. I’ve experienced both frustration and relief as I’ve watched God stretch me and break me.
Dependence: reliance on, need for, seeking support from, leaning on, clinging to; trust in, faith in, confidence in, belief in.
There’s a verse in a song that has cut me to the core every time I hear it:
And if dependence runs in Your designGod Song, Hillsong UNITED
Then who am I outside of You
Lord, without Your breath I won’t survive
So I must be made for trusting You
I’ve been through a lot of hard things, but this has been a different kind of hard. I haven’t quite put my finger on it. I do know that I have been poured oooooouuuuttttttt. The **only** one I have been able to depend on has been God. Even when I’m mad at Him, I can still depend on Him. He will not abandon me.
I end the last quarter mile of each nightly run huffing out Deuteronomy 31:8.
“It is the Lord who will go before you. He will be with you. He will not leave you or abandon you. Do not be afraid or dismayed.”