I need to be honest with you about two things.
First, if you put all of the words together that have been written here and on Instagram since 2021 breathed its first breath, there is (with rare exception) a singular story.
I’ve been studying all of the definitions of the word “gather,” and if you’ve been here for any time at all, you know that. Gather is my word of the year, and dwelling in scripture to see how God delights in gathering has been exquisite.
But it’s become clear that there’s a greater and more enduring purpose.
While I pray the story is life-giving for you, the two people who I hope will one day enjoy reading it are my little ones. When we get to the final day of 2021, all the words will be sewn together and set aside for them, so that they may know what GiGi thought about faith and love and such. Yes, it seems I am cultivating memories they might share with their little ones someday.
So Sawyer and Tyler, if you’ve gotten this far in the pages, know all of this is being written for you. There’s no need for any dedication or listing in acknowledgements in this special homemade book. You are the reason. And that makes me smile.
The other thing isn’t as tender, I suppose.
It is that June wanted to take me out. I know with my head the beauty and power of identity, and can speak with clarity the delight God has for each and every one of us. He sees within us a purpose far beyond anything we could ever imagine or even think. But my heart can still be washed over with deep blue waves of wondering. June felt like a tsunami. I could attempt to wax philosophical about all of the reasons why, or attempt to diagnose the details or determine why July has found calmer waters.
But here’s the reality: our souls will feel the crush of hard winters as much as they feel the breath of spring. Some days the shadows in our valleys feel far more like midnight, and some days it’s difficult to hear the Lord’s echoed voice as the mountains around us shift and groan. And in those seasons, the truth we speak will sound far less like prescriptive words we’ve been told make everything magically better. Rather, it will sound far more like a deep-from-within whispered, “Please be here…” Because that whispered honesty is held in trembling hands that are reaching for a divine embrace that is ever-there. And that embrace never discounts or diminishes the seasons of our soul. That embrace never shames us or ridicules us.
That embrace responds with His own whisper.
Peace. Be still. I’m here. I’m here.
His love is real in the gathering. His love is real in the storm.
Sawyer and Tyler, don’t forget that God is the God of all seasons. All. Seasons. Every. Single. One. And His embrace is ever-there.
When I write that we are in this together, I mean it with all that I am. And if you are being washed over by the waves right now, I am here to pray for and with and over you. That is a promise. No diagnosis. No discounts. No prescriptions. Just the embrace.