Sometimes I don't know what I'm supposed to say.

But I feel something move within me, so I start some tea and open my laptop and just kind of let my fingers type... something.

Really, I know it's the Spirit of God hovering over the waters.

Because let me tell you, I feel a lot like those dark, empty waters sometimes.

I don't really know what to make of pain, you guys.

I mean, everyone says it's for the good of those who love God. In my better moments, I believe them.

But right now I'm in pain and I don't even realize it. Or I haven't realized it.

It's like I looked up one morning to find that someone had punched me in the gut, and an old wound reopened, and I felt once again like I was going to die.

The world turned a different color. Like a photo with a different filter.

And since then I've walked around with the slightly heady realization hovering in the back of my brain, near the crown of my head. Every now and again it descends behind my eyes and my vision blurs: This still hurts.

Everyone has told me it's for a purpose. I'd like to punch Everyone in the face. I'd like Everyone to see how it feels when you feel like you would like to die and someone tells you it's for a reason.

Shut up.

You know, I always knew Adventure was going to involve pain.

But this isn't what I signed up for.

Except it is.

I knew what I was getting into.

I wanted the beauty that came from pain. That could come no other way.

Because, you guys, I believe in beauty from pain. I believe in it so freaking hard.

I've always wanted to write about beauty from ashes and I never knew that this was what it was about until literally this moment when I was sitting here writing about it and it dawned on me like gray pre-morning.

I'm not mad, except sometimes I am.

But mostly I just hurt a little bit.

Mostly I'm just humiliated to talk to people about how I feel like I got stomped on.

How can I be a blip on anyone's radar after I tell them that? How can I be taken seriously?

I would scoff at me.

Or would I?

*****

I wanted to write about the way God creates beauty from ashes. I wanted to write about the way He lifts us up from the pit.

But I never dreamed it would happen this way.

*****

I'm actually incredibly blessed, y'all. I think I have a lot of things going for me. I cannot count the ways I have rejoiced in gifts. So I guess it's selfish of me to focus on the pain.

Because look at the story God is writing for me.

He's writing the Adventure Story I've always wanted to live out.

Except it didn't look like I thought it would.

I'm really starting to wonder if it ever does.

You know, I write about Adventure and craving it, and then when I get it, I wish I could go back to planning the life I feel like I should have. The perfect one.

I think we need to be vulnerable in our pain, but maybe it's time for me to get up off the mat.

Maybe You want me to tell my story, Father.

Because it was never mine to conceal, but always to give away.

*****

In my bullet journal are scribbled these words:

I don't want to have faith after the fact. I want to have faith during it, while I'm in it.

The story was never mine to keep.

Always to give away.

Always to share.

Always to pull away from the place over my heart that I'm shielding, begging people Please don't hurt me.

Good adventure stories always include the vulnerability of sun-baked exposure and the deep, choking ash pits of shame and always, always, always, the thin silver-gold sunshine rays of hope.

*****

Look at what God has written for me.

What a gift.

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