Late Bloomer

“Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.”

Psalm 139:16, ESV

I’ve been called a fair number of things in my 29+ years.

Mostly good… some relatively not favorable… needless to say humans and humanity can be hard.

We try to categorize, label and define one another. Things with definitions are safer. We can understand what we can box and classify.

Now, before I dive too far into this specific conversation, I am going to table it for now and move on.

Because what I actually wish to share with you tonight, aside from the theological and spiritual implications of words and labels, is a story.

On July 26th a beloved family friend and honorary grandmother of the Shears clan went to her heavenly home.

You may be wondering why this blog is being posted on August 14th in comparison to the number of days that have passed between now and July 26th.

And I am going to be completely honest-

1. Because I cannot offer another explanation,

and 2. Because all the explanations fall short of providing an adequate reason regardless.

Throughout this past year I have stumbled and failed in my blog posts.

Can I tell you the number of moments and memories which have passed- dates, anniversaries, commemorations of those of loved ones who have passed, where I didn’t write a post?

It began in February with Jamie and Mom. It continued into March. I managed to communicate something near Easter. I wrote a book somewhere in between.

My desire to write never ceased, but you should know words continued and continue to evade me.

Even now, this post feels insufficient to the memory, love and incredible legacy of this one woman.

I could repeat a thousand stories a thousand times, reworking words and vocabulary- and yet it would still fail.

Words would be deleted. Whole posts would be erased. Weeks would begin to accumulate. (Exhibit A: My 2020 Blogging history).

I have spent the better part of 2020 frozen and hesitant, intimidated by what I could not communicate.

What I have learned through 2020- is that somethings are like that.

More importantly, it is not an inefficiency on my part that leaves them like that. But a supremacy on their part that leaves me like this.

The love, loss and legacy of a person is something we cannot harness with letters or box with words. Paragraphs will fail to encompass, whole texts will always come up short.

However, the lack of ability to encapsulate should not prevent us from the attempt to communicate. (I told you I’ve spent a great deal of time in a dictionary).

In summary, where my words will fail, I no longer take it as an immediate sign of my incompetence- but a witness, declaration if you will, of what is something/ someone far beyond our skill to demonstrate through language alone.

A beauty beyond comprehension.

A picture beyond imagination.

Grandma Charolette once saved me from some words that were not so kind. And to ensure I fully understood just how “okay” I actually was, later that day she sought me out and found me on my best friend’s room.

Taking my hand, Grandma Charlotte assured me that despite what others may say, there was no shame in being a “late bloomer.”

“You see,” she said, “a late blooming flower is never actually late, but blooms just when it is intended to.”

And while there was a bit more to that conversation, that bit of wise advice has followed and sustained me.

Every societal benchmark I appear to miss.

Every culturally derived timeline I seemingly reject.

Every prearranged checkbox I fail to mark.

Grandma Charlotte, a little over a week from her 95th birthday, was a million wonderful things to more people than we will ever be able to know.

Her incomprehensible legacy is reflected in the love she shared, still beating and being written in the lives of her children and equally wonderful family.

Her influence still flowing through the veins of those who were blessed in knowing her.

From the ice cream, to the laughter and the confidence- Grandma Charlotte left her mark in the world.

Several marks actually.

Mine being only one heart better for the time that will be forever cherished.

It doesn’t matter where you are in life friends. I am sure there is something you feel you’re “running late” on, a To Do on the To Do List that is overdue-

Which is why I want to leave you with this bit of wise advice:

Take heart friends, where you are is not a surprise to the one who has ordained each day of your existence- before your existence.

Breathe. You are right on time.

Growing Pains

Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity. 

1 Timothy 4:12

The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice. 

Proverbs 12:15

 

  1. Know that I should be doing homework.
  2. Know that as a grad student I should always be doing homework.

But this blog post has been waiting in my drafts long enough. Early August in fact, 3/4 of the way through my internship, facing an upcoming season of uncertainties and uncharted territories.

Nearing what I believe is the end of that period and entering a new, yet to be charted season, I can feel the inner conflict beginning to stir.

Turmoil that, when left unchecked, is known to make my battle ready self hesitate.

It is not that I fear God failing. No, I believe in him 100% of the time.

But I have struggled with believing in myself.

I have struggled to believe that I can communicate, discern and complete those tasks in front of me. Oftentimes I am self-convinced that I am getting the message wrong and surely God has called someone much more… much?

In today’s world this struggle is a genuine one. The world we live in is hardly encouraging most of the time. And if we are not tuned into what God is saying and what he has said, then who are we listening to?

No matter where you are in life or what career field you are working in, there will always be “the voices” in “the moments.”

While I hope you are not familiar with the voices or the moments, living in this world is an unfortunate guarantee that you are more familiar with them than most of us would like to admit.

You know the ones where you are “too young,” “too old,” “too conservative,” “too liberal,” “too educated,” “too naive”… and all the other “toos” that make you unable to understand. Your answer is wrong. It’s not your fault, you are just “too much” or “too little” and that is too bad.

And in these moments, in early August, amid all the voices, I found I really missed my mom.

In these moments a part of me wishes I would have grown up faster. That I would have grown up more gracefully, gliding past the obstacles and never missing a step.

Unfortunately I was one often caught between hard places, getting back up with scrapped knees and bloody knuckles. Generally walking away with a hard earned and learned lesson accompanied with a loving, motherly, “keep going.”

Mom was a great director on walking the line between “do not let them undermine you” yet “listen to wise counsel.”

So here I am, walking the line, and it is getting slimmer. Its one of those moments where the enemy has gotten a hold of one of the ends of the line, turning it into a tightrope and has begun shaking it. You’re not sure if you’ll be able to remain upright, let alone move forward without losing your balance.

And so I spent some time laying my case out to one who has all the time in the world- eternity in fact. My fragile and fear disposed heart repeating that I believed in Him, but… but… me, the me part of the plan was questionable.

God haven’t you heard? I am not ready. I am not qualified. I am too much this and not enough that.

And in those moments that still small voice whispered- but I believe in you.

I believe in you.

I created you. Who knows better what you are capable of? And remember- you are not going in alone. I will be there. And you said yourself, you believe in Me.

True.

So repeat the problem?

And the tightrope stopped shaking. Because in that moment I handed the end back to God- and stopped jumping up and down on it as I was placed back on solid ground.

I remembered that He is before and behind me. Above and Below me. Even should I fall, He is already there. My own worst enemy had been myself, and the enemy’s doubts I had adopted as my own.

And in that space, on that grounded line, I found it.

Humble Confidence.

A graceful clumsiness. Somedays you will fall. Others you will dance. But everyday you will be fearless.

Because should all else fall away you know your Strong Tower is always before, behind, above and below you. There’s no direction you can fall that he won’t be there to catch you.

As if He wasn’t enough, He has also provided family and friends along the way to encourage us and be lights in an otherwise darkened world.

People who are always behind you, some of who you will meet going forward and others who are watching the ground below you from above.

I know beliefs differ, and I do not have the ultimate answer (I am still in Bible college and God has not granted me a vision or revelation that has been withheld from others until now- not that I haven’t asked), however I highly suspect that loved ones can see us from above. At least to an extent. (I generally reference the story Jesus shares in Luke 16:19-31 of Lazarus and the Rich Man and personal experience).

With that said I also fully believe that our loved ones who have passed into Jesus’ presence are in a place with no sorrow, no tears or hurting and pain of any kind. They are in the best of places, praising our savior and rejoicing.

As much as I miss my mom, my best friend, my grandfather, my aunt and several others; I wouldn’t want them to be in that perfect place missing being here. And I know if my mom (or any of them) recalled the pain our temporary separation caused this side of Heaven, her heart would break.

So I have this hope that should my belief be correct and that they are able to look down at times, there is what I have coined as an “eternity filter.”

A filter that when my mom looks down its through the light of eternity, a light that erases the darkness of this world. While she sees us in the good and bad, she knows that the bad will not endure and the good is not even remotely close to the best. And that we have all the time in world, for one day- there will be no more goodbyes and no more ends.

On this side we see through a “world filter,” its dark and broken. Things are hard and you never fully feel like you have made the mark. There are days when the time inches by and others where it feels as if it flew in the blink of an eye.

Further evidence we are just journeying through this world. Our hearts can never fully fit into this world’s concept of “time,” for He has placed eternity in our hearts.

So lesson learned this season:

Growing up is never a task fully accomplished on this side of heaven. Growing pains mark growth, not completion.

In the moments where the growth is hard come by remember you have a Creator, His host of angels and His saints, who count it a hard earned and won Victory.

So fellow Saints, put on your Armor and remember no victory is too small and certainly no matter how beat up and bruised you may emerge, every one is worth celebrating. Moses didn’t think he could lead the Israelites out of Egypt. Peter was uneducated. David and Mary were teenagers. Abraham and Elizabeth were old.

The reality is that you don’t have this. But God does and He’s called you.

And as the prophets and the early church leaders prayed, so we pray, to continue to grow in the knowledge of God, bearing fruit of every good work. No longer seeing this world through it’s broken and twisted filter, but through the filter of eternity to which we have been called.

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Thank James Pond on Unsplash for photo.