the gospel at 25.

the california sun is setting, and i'm driving along the urban roads
driving, and surprising myself with some moments of solitude
no singing toddler, no sound board of a husband -
just me, the air carried from the ocean, city lights, and the Spirit.

and my thoughts start going,
in stanzas, pauses and punctuation,
rhyme and inflection
poetry scrolling behind my eyes. 

the beauty of an introvert, i suppose.
the curse of a mother who is, again, an introvert.
suffocating in shallowness and a rushed, rushed rumbling within
until moments of aloneness are found. 

forgetting until the silence, the pause, allows me to remember.

the wonder of it all.
the ache of the heart.
the climb towards heaven crashing into earth.
for good and forever.

i just forget to put on those lenses in the busyness of the day.

you know, it's crazy. crazy that i'm 25. a quarter of a century.

and it's even crazier i am a married woman. a mother.

i have this man, beside me - becoming the backdrop to all my most recent memories,
the ones i can still smell, that i can still taste -
times before him seem so distant, so unreal.
as if he was always there, always warm beside me at night,
always coming home in the evenings to fill the room.

and i have this child, who is turning into a boy right before my eyes.
a boy with a will and opinions. with personality and uniqueness.
someone, day by day, moving away from being a piece of me
as those things that tether us get cut one by one.

no longer a helpless babe, coddled in my arms, sustained by my flesh.

i'm a woman. a real, grown-up woman.

and time keeps passing. the sun shines, the leaves fall, the cold comes, and it's all reborn again.

as soon as this cycle ends, another begins.
the train doesn't stop. it has no stations. we're going until we reach the other side.
no pausing.
no turning back.
just watching days fold into nights and again and again.
watching marriages grow old with tenderness and trial.
watching boys become men.

i'm always struck by the concept of time, this brevity we find ourselves within,
when i peer inside my journal.
"2 weeks have really passed since I last wrote?"
it can't be. 

Ricky and I are reaching 3 years together.
It seems so unreal, as if only yesterday I was alone, dreaming about love,
clinging to Jesus in all my loneliness - in all my want.

and now here i am. in the midst of it all.

and i'm remembering rolling down hills by the creek in my neighborhood as a child.
catching fireflies in our hands and watching the clouds play peek a boo with the stars.

saturdays sitting on my bed, learning to hear from God.
late nights crying, being struck by His vastness. His hugeness. His beauty.
my own utter depravity.

weaving in and out of friendships, being stamped by each one.

leading me to here. this moment.

i'm doing so many things wrong, little things though they may be.
so weak. not as much how i dreamt my heart before God would be 5 years down the road.
i imagined i would be a lot more patient, a lot more kind, a lot more conformed to His image.
i fumble, daily. i waste moments - to find myself one year older and still falling.
still crying out for a hotter fire in my bones. a deeper love in my heart.
weeks pass before i pause.

and i still
i still hunger.

and i'm still running. i'm still believing. and i'm still trusting it's by His grace I am saved.
not my pathetic efforts, that seem so much more pathetic as time passes.

i'm still in need. i'm still unable. i'm still the crippled needing to be carried to His table.

years do not make me more glorious. experience does no lend a hand to my holiness.
it's only by His blood, His precious blood - I am saved and made whole.

the same gospel, the same power that as a child gave me a new heart, transforming a cold rock into real blood and flesh. that same gospel, that same power that comforted my broken heart, that carried me through suffering - that power is sustaining me, working within me even today.

and at 25 i declare, "hallelujah, You are my only hope."
and as i grow old and feeble, so many mistakes behind me, i will declare, "hallelujah, You are my only hope."

the cross before me, the world behind me.
no turning back. 
no turning back.

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