Saturday, March 15

when God closes a door | mixed metaphors and not moving

Last September, I almost moved my whole life across the country for a new job.

It's no secret around here that I'm a molasses-slow decision maker. It's a process. I pray a lot. Lists litter every surface. I talk to a handful of beloved friends. I go on long walks and write and write and write until I come out with some sort of conclusion. The whole cycle in itself is kind of painful and by the time I usually arrive at a solid answer, I'm exhausted.

It's not something I ever want to relive, let alone meditate on. Yet that was this week's text. All my longing is before you; my sighing is not hidden from you. David's words, hitting so close to home.

I've thought all week about what I could write about instead of my personal life, and it all seemed a little fake. I had to laugh because I committed to a blogging project about telling the truth, and all I wanted to do was hide mine. Yet here it is.


When I finally decided to move, I let myself get excited. I started to pack and plan and prepare. Two weeks before I was supposed to go, a thread snagged my plans. The pipes burst in the home I was supposed to live in. The funding for my new job got cut, and details slid out of focus, and suddenly everything unravelled. I asked God to give me a peace about moving, if that's what I was still supposed to do.

The next day, I woke up more sick than I've ever been. My joints were swollen and stiff. I radiated with nausea. Even my lips were swollen. I was so so sick. It was Psalm 38 in real life. Fast forward a few weeks, and I decided not to move. I'm still here, exactly where I was one year ago, and the year before that. And the year before that.

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
By James.

Someone said to me, when God closes a door, He opens a window. I went home and thought about the phrase a lot. I think people say things like that when a situation seems too big, and they don't know what else to say. I think there's grace for that. But sometimes metaphors are too small. They package up a messy situation while sometimes overlooking that pain can reveal big things, if we are brave enough to face the mess.

As I took in Psalm 38 this week, I kept thinking about laying down my metaphors and digging for the raw truth. You see: I would never choose to write about not moving, a chapter from my life that I still don't fully understand and that felt a lot like failure.

And yet, here is what I've dug up: if there's anything to be said about that season, it isn't that God shut a door.

What sticks with me, deep down in my gut, is the truth that He was with me all along. Even when things didn't work out. Even when I didn't "seem" successful. When the dust settled from all that almost-change: He was with me at the beginning and at the end. And you know, He is with me still, and I am thankful.

This Lent, the presence of God seems so precious to me. Of such great value. And if it took moving and not moving, if it takes one hundred unexpected twists in my story to draw me nearer to Him, then so be it. Then bring them. Be not far from me...O Lord, my salvation. Selah.

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