Life Right Now {#20}

I have relationships here at school that are growing and developing, and friends that I am growing to love more and more.

But that doesn’t wipe away or cover over how much I miss these girls.

~Natalia

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No Words

It’s not a secret in the least that we live in a broken world, and that people everywhere are struggling, hurting, and broken. You, me, her, him; we’re all heartbroken humans living in a messy world.

Sometimes, we live our hurt out in silence, carrying it to and from work and school, keeping our pain neatly bottled, unknown to everyone but ourselves.

Sometimes, it comes out. We share it with others. We open our hearts, slowly yielding control of our situation as we verbally tell someone what happened, how we feel, what we’re going to do, that we’re not sure what we’re going to do.

Openness and struggle-sharing are happening all around us. I tell her, she tells me, they tell each other, we share. And it’s good.

But

When friends and loved ones are upset, hurt, crying, I listen. But no words come. My heart breaks. But I don’t say it. I can’t say it. Looking brokenness in the face knocks me speechless, rendering me unable to comfort, unable to encourage, unable to tell them that it’ll get better.

She’s exhausted and sick. I would do her work myself if I could, but I can’t. I can’t verbalize my sympathy either. All I can do is listen.

He’s frustrated and hurt and he doesn’t understand. I want desperately to help him see, to help him understand, to explain to him why. But my mind has once again completely erased the appropriate words. The gentle, healing words that I know I must possess, and I remain seated where I am, my heart aching to help him, and completely unable to tell him so.

Until quite recently, my apparent inability to form coherent sentence when faced with heartbreak and pain bothered me.

Maybe that’s just how I am wired, I told myself; I feel their pain. My heart breaks along with them. I beg God to help them. To heal them. To show them the comfort that I can not. And that is what I can do.

I halfway accepted that I simply was not made by God to share words of comfort. But doubt lingered in the back of my mind. Could it really be that simple? Am I allowed to say that I simply do not have the gift of words in crisis (even though I don’t generally struggle for lack of words in other situations) and leave it at that?

I couldn’t bring myself to believe that it was that easy.

In my Speech Communication class we recently read about Listening and Feedback Styles. I scoured the pages for the “listens mutely while heart bursts with heartaching compassion” listening style, but could not find it. The closest I could come was the “Empathetic Listener”, who first listens and then seeks to comfort, and then build up with words.

I gave the chapter some thought, and suddenly felt rather sure of an answer to my speechless dilemma.

Over the past ten years, God has slowly been opening my heart to love others and show them empathy in their struggles. I listened to them. Cared about them. Truly desired to hear about their lives and hearts, joys and heartbreaks.

But all the while, I felt insufficient and useless, as if sincere love and empathy are not enough and will only be complete with the addition of comforting words and phrases.

And then I realized maybe that is the way it’s supposed to be. Maybe I’m not supposed to have all the right words.

Because, in the end, it’s not me who comforts at all; it’s God. It’s God who heals souls. It’s God who offers comfort and mercy. It’s God who gives me empathy and compassion in the first place.

And I trust His sovereignty, too. If He wants me to speak, then He’ll give me the words to say. If He wants me to sit, to listen, to hurt for them and with them, then I will.

I’ll just keep my heart open, so that when He leads me in what to do, I’ll be ready to follow.

~Natalia

Papa’s Humor

A very specified kind of humor runs in my family. My father has it in spades, and in the past several years, this unique shade of humor has been developing in me. I know this because my dad’s jokes actually make sense to me now. But, it took me a solid twelve years to formulate the very beginning stages of his humor.

And I’m still a work in progress.

The littlest ones in my family are now 5 and 6.5 years old respectively, and they are already beginning to exhibit the signs and symptoms of my father’s sense of humor. Not yet in first grade, the little ones weave together shreds of dry humor, often spicing it with their vast knowledge of movie trivia and quotes, producing highly entertaining one liners.

One night while in Mexico over Christmas, my mother was in the process of putting the little ones to bed. They brushed teeth, went potty, gave kisses goodnight, and then disappeared into the bedroom. Minutes passed, and I became involved in something on the computer. Actually, I believe I was writing a blog post.

Unbeknownst to me, Glendy (6.5) needed to use the bathroom again, and requested that Mom accompany her. She did, leaving Larissa (5) alone in the bedroom. This lasted approximately seven seconds.

I was suddenly startled out of my blog-writing revery by the appearance of a small person clad in footy pajamas appearing at my elbow. Larissa peered up at me with bright eyes.

What are you doing out of bed, Mani? I asked, picking up the little smuffsmuff.

Mommy said she’s gonna put Glendy to bed first, and I gonna go to bed later, the child explained to me.

Uh huh.

Really?

Larissa nodded her head earnestly.

The pajama baby in my arms, I began to make my way back to the bedroom, in order to verify Larissa’s claims of an extended bedtime.

I had not taken three steps when Larissa put her hand to her chin, as she is apt to do, and looked up at me;

I think not, she admitted, grinning impishly.

~Natalia

Wherein Natalia is Conflicted

It’s Friday night and I’m waffling rather dozily between wanting to write something witty and funny, and being so dead exhausted from the past week that I can barely do more than giggle sleepily along to Parks and Rec on Netflix.

So, in the wake of my current inability to reliably form coherent sentences, I have provided for you a brief list of past posts from LeadmeWhere, which I sincerely hope you find at least mildly entertaining.

The time God spoke to Larissa.

The fateful day that I almost disappeared into the Mexican sunset in an old brown van, never to be seen again.

One of those Bullet Point Posts that I insist upon producing.

When I visited the motherland with Mary.

I’m off to sleep.

Or watch Parks and Rec.

~Natalia

Have Some Fuzz

I thought you’d enjoy a picture of an 18-month-old Larissa holding a piece of unidentifiable fuzz more than you’d enjoy hearing me mope about how I’m stressing about my philosophy test tomorrow.

You’re welcome.

~Natalie

Pretty Darn Faithful

While this semester so far hasn’t been especially drastic

and I’m by no means struggling to make it from day to day,

I am learning more and more what it’s like to rely on Jesus

to give me the strength I need for each day,

each relationship,

each assignment.

God, I’m so tired right now.

Give me strength to finish up this last bit of work for the night.

God, I’m not sure if I understand these concepts.

Help me understand what the prof is saying, and what I’m reading.

God, I’m not exactly oozing with love for this person.

Help me see them as You do.

And so far, He’s been pretty darn faithful

to give me just what I need

just when I need it.

~Natalia

Trust Him on That

I recently began to realize that I have a rather unhealthy obsession with relationships.

Now, we are relational people; God created us that way. He made us for relationships. With other people, and most importantly, with Himself.

That’s good.

But a good thing, a thing created by God, can turn into a bad thing, twisted and crumpled up by our sinfulness, in a matter of seconds.

That’s what happened in my life. In my heart.

I don’t think I would have noticed, if it hadn’t been gently pointed out to me.

And now I see it everywhere in my life.

I’m fascinated with analyzing my friendships.

I spend exorbitant amounts of time thinking about different relationships in my life; imagining where they’ll be in two months, two years and remembering where we were two months ago, two days ago, two minutes ago.

I’m wrapped up in the specifics of why that relationship works, how this friendships could to improve, what I should do in this relationship.

I’ve taken the wonderful, God-given gifts of the need for relationships, as well as those relationships themselves, and I’ve inflated them way out of proportion.

I’ve made the gift almost a bigger deal than the Giver.

When God opened my eyes to the issue, my incorrect heart attitude, I repented. I was upset and convicted that I had allowed myself to become so consumed by the inner workings of my friendships.

I told God that I wanted Him to recreate my view of relationships.

I want to think like He does. See people like He does. See relationships like He does.

It was a good conversation that I had with Him, and I very sincerely meant what I said, but that’s not all that needs done; God will give me a new perspective on relationships.

If I let Him.

Because if I beg Him to open my eyes to the way He sees things, to broaden my perspective and to show me what is really important, and then turn around and expend more mental energy in analyzing the intricacies of my relationship with so-and-so, that’s not going to work.

So what am I supposed to do?

Allow Him in my head. Allow Him in my heart. Allow Him to direct my thought and words and actions.

And trust Him.

Because often, when I’m considering the heartbreaking question of how long a friendship that I value quite much will endure, what I’m really doing is distrusting God.

Distrusting that He actually knew what He was doing when He created us as relational people.

Distrusting that He had His head on straight when He put the people I love into my life.

Distrusting that He could possibly have what’s best in mind when it appears that He is stripping me of things and people that I love very much.

But He did know, and He does have His head on straight, and He does have in mind what’s best.

And I’m just going to have to trust Him on that.

~Natalia

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