This commitment to authenticity and vulnerability, its been hard recently. The past few days have been hard; days, weeks, months — you get the idea. I’ve been tired. There are times when I find I still feel somewhat temporary about myself. I went to sleep last night without any desire to wake up this morning, and this morning I woke up anyway to more hard, and more tired. I think its easy when you’ve inhabited an unhealthy thought cycle for too long to lose any expectation of freedom, and to cope, to sacrifice your optimism at the altar of the excruciating pain of hope deferred but I find myself dedicated to this core value because I’ve found that nothing sustainable can be built on a facade.

This afternoon, I ran into an old friend at Starbucks. She asked how I’d been, and I practiced the hard. I trudged through the shame, and told her the truth. I believe in the work I’m doing. It doesn’t look like much, but I believe in where my ministry is headed and how its growing. I see God all over it, but its so hard to continue, and I feel like I’m trying to tackle a mountain meant for a people, alone. She listened, and prayed for me briefly before leaving, and when I turned my attention back to my computer, I saw a $475 anonymous, unsolicited donation which was a major need.

This remains hard, but the hard is worth it, and I appreciate these little reminders that the hard was never meant to be taken on alone, or without hope. Hope deferred is painful but its dismissal is nothing short of destructive, and Jesus continues to meet me in the pain. He’s not coming, he’s here, in every hard conversation when I choose to look past shame and own my truth. He is the embodiment of his name Immanuel, God with us and God with me. He is teaching me how to follow God, not far removed from those who suffer, but by constantly extending an invitation for me to dance across lines that have too long proved divisive. I am learning.

Thank you to whoever donated today. Please let me know who you are, I’d love to take you to lunch and let you know more about what your donation will do in the lives of at-risk youth in our city. My heart is full.