On Faith, Boys, and Living the Cliff Hangers

Dear Miss Morielle of one year ago, the Morielle of January 2013,

One year ago January 1st was the most romantic night of your life. Jazz trumpets made time for your bouncing feet as you danced the Charleston into 2012: lonely, empty, and grinning like the cheeriest of Halloween pumpkins. You’d been at that party for hours, third-wheeling it bravely with two of your best friends who had married each other last summer. But alas, no man had been found to lead you in a proper swing dance. Hence, that Charleston: with limbs flying madly and every single tooth showing.

But then, in an instant you’ll probably never forget, a charming smile materialized out of that dim 12:01am haze. He was wearing a fedora and suspenders and was wordlessly holding out his hand to you, probably raising an eyebrow at the same time. I still can’t believe you made it to the center of that dance floor without fainting.

At that time, you interpreted the event just as you would the heroine of any novel. You read it as an allegory for the way you would eventually find a husband. After I stop looking, you told yourself, when I’ve learned to give myself over to the music all on my own: that’s when he will appear.

But now, one year later, the continuity is so broken. You’re sitting alone in your room a couple thousand miles away in China drinking some boiled water and trying to figure out how you got there. A mountain of missed opportunities to sit with lonely souls who reached out you are weighing heavily on your conscience. You want to make a resolution for the future, but you’re afraid – so very afraid that nothing will ever change.

You’ve realized you don’t have any idea how to dance.

At this point, you’re probably hoping I’m going to share some sort of insight that will prepare you for the year. Or that I’ll share a comment that will let you know that I (the you of one year later) finally understand how it all fits together. Something like, “Ah! If you only knew how it would all fall into place!” or even, “I’ve found that guy. I won’t let you know how or where, as I don’t want to spoil the surprise, but it was so perfect – in a way only our loving Father could have planned.” or “Don’t worry, I’ve figured out how to love people!” I won’t say anything like that. I don’t have anything like that to share. If anything, my life now only has more cliff hangers.

However, I have gained a few things over the course of 2013. And no, they do not include the experience of romance, nor any kind of certainty about my call in life; though I know those are the two things you want more than anything else. Rather these things I have gained are things you need much more deeply than those things you want. They include a better command of Chinese, a wider and deeper knowledge of scripture, and some personal experience of what Oswald Chambers was talking about when he said, “My personal life may be crowded with small petty incidents, altogether unnoticeable and mean; but if I obey Jesus Christ in the haphazard circumstances, they become pinholes through which I see the face of God.” (My Utmost for His Highest 307)

Seek the pinholes, dear. Remember that “by faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to set out for a place that he was to receive as an inheritance; and he set out, not knowing where he was going.” (Hebrews 11:8) Follow the cloud of smoke, day by day. Sit when it sits. Go when it goes. God’s not usually one to tell you where you’re going or why.

Arm yourself with scripture. It is the word with which Jesus fought the devil in the desert: why should your weapon be any different? And when songs and movies and those KTV screens confront you with the glittering idol of romance, revel in the multitudes of scripture through which God has spoken to you on this subject. Revel especially in 1 Corinthians 7, where you can learn that life is now. Your current circumstances never determine your ability to honor God, rather they are your opportunities to honor God. And no opportunities really matter but the present ones.

To be totally honest, I would still love to experience the mysterious adventure that is marriage and kids and all that. But if that time ever comes, it will be its own challenge. Right now I’ll face the challenge of today.

It’s been lovely writing to you, self of a year ago. I hope my advice one year from now is much better than the meager advice I’ve offered here. I also hope some of the ladies reading this will chip in with their advice. I can’t wait to hear it!

love,
the Morielle of January 2014

What pinholes in your life helped you see God last year?  And is anyone else living the cliff hangers?

Tomorrow at The Grove, we’ll all be sharing our Letters to Self.  For some ideas to get you going on your letter, click here.

Photo Credit: rsmithing via Compfight cc

8 Comments

  1. emily thomas January 8, 2014

    I sincerely loved that and needed to hear that.  Love the pinhole concept.  I had a day where I fill not only bulldozed but also entered into a cliff hanger situation I don’t want to be in.

    So, thank you.  Your advice wasn’t meager.  It was perfect.

    1. Morielle January 9, 2014

      I wrote this about two months ago, and had nooooo idea how much I would need to hear these concepts again today. Phew. December was one long confusing cliff hanger, and bulldozed is a great word for how I felt/feel. Pinholes, pinholes. Thankful for Oswald Chambers! And that psalm that goes, “One thing I ask, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to look on His beauty and seek Him in His temple.” Sometimes seeking the pinholes of obedience hurt. But oh, the beauty of glimpsing God’s glory, even just a tiny pinhole.

  2. Jennifer January 9, 2014

    Thank you…. “Your current circumstances never determine your ability to honor God, rather they are your opportunities to honor God. And no opportunities really matter but the present ones”. A great reminder to us especially when times seem challenging or not what we would like them to be.

    1. Morielle January 9, 2014

      You’re so right. But, boy oh boy, do I struggle with this. My brother sent me a great quote the other week that said something like, “The present is where our lives touch eternity.” This way of thinking — of knowing that by focusing on what I long for, or what I’ve lost, or anything beyond the present, I’m missing out on touching eternity — has really been a kick in the pants the past few weeks. A good kick in the pants. Circumstances have felt very challenging, and are certainly not what I would have chosen for myself if I were king of my life.

  3. Meagan Stolk January 9, 2014

    Thank you for sharing so honestly. It is amazing how God can speak to us in different and difficult circumstances.

    2013 was a real rough one for me. From start to finish it was riddled with challenges that pieced my hard exterior and revealed the hurt and brokenness within. It included a road accident, 2 operations, nearly 3 months on crutches, 2 months of physio, PTS, social anxiety, Christmas on crutches (again), a crushed confidence, a deflated spirit and much more. Yet, thankfully, He was faithful and my life has been transformed due to the things I endured. I can look back and be thankfully and that is not something I could have done last year. The effect of my circumstances forced me to trust God more and continue to depend on Him for my healing and recovery.  (physically/spiritually/emotionally). I’ve come a long way but boy do I have a long way to go.

    Cliffhangers – I like that concept. I’m constantly wondering what will happen next, wanting to know what is around future corners, what things I need to avoid and when He will finally reveal His plans and answer the deep desires of my longing heart. I hate the suspense and begin to prepare myself for the worst as my hope fades with the continuing of time. “Just tell me no Lord!” I cry out “Rather than leaving me with the unknowns and what-ifs!” So often my mind is so full of future fears that I can easily miss the opportunities to shine His glory that are right before me. You’ve certainly given me something to think about.

    1. Morielle January 9, 2014

      Wow, Meagan, what a year you’ve had! I’m so glad you can look back on all those trials and see the transformation in your life. But, boy, that couldn’t have been/can’t be easy. Thank you for sharing your story. It was very encouraging to read. I really really relate to this sentence: ” So often my mind is so full of future fears that I can easily miss the opportunities to shine His glory that are right before me.” I just realized today that having a life filled with cliff hangers is not necessarily a bad thing. It means our lives are intriguing, interesting, somehow on-the-edge…. Hmmmm, now to think about how to enjoy my real life cliff hangers as much as I enjoy the ones in novels. 😛

  4. Laura January 9, 2014

    “To be totally honest, I would still love to experience the mysterious adventure that is marriage and kids and all that. But if that time ever comes, it will be its own challenge. Right now I’ll face the challenge of today.”

    I loved this part of your post. It was such a great reminder to me, especially at this point in my life. Thank you!

    1. Morielle January 11, 2014

      🙂 It’s not easy for me to do. I need a reminder like that every day! (p.s. loved reading your “Letter to Self” ! :D )

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