Coming back to an abandoned house.

This space has been a bit of an abandoned house lately. Welcome back, let’s clear off the cobwebs and brew a fresh pot of coffee. I’m back and challenging myself to write now more than ever. I feel like I’ve got so much to learn (as we all do, all the time), but I’ve been pretty resistant to learning it. I haven’t been writing nearly as much as I used to, and it’s all just been piling up in my head. I think it’s healthy to take a break from the things we love sometimes, but this one is long overdue.

It’s been about 2 (almost 3, what) months since I’ve sat down and processed a lot of junk in my head and heart.

I used to be really angry with God, like for the past 6 months. And in the last few weeks, I’ve felt a shift in my heart. I guess I could qualify it as being a bit standoffish with God and also pushing Him back with locked elbows, for fear of Him entering into my dark places. And I didn’t realize my attitude had changed, but we were sitting in Bible study and my best friend said:

You know when you’re mad at someone, but you can still sit down over lunch with them? That’s where you’re at with God.

Because I had lived a lot of weeks where I just gave it up and was ready to walk. To put it blatantly, I didn’t want anything to do with God for a while, and some days are still like that. I didn’t want to know God. I didn’t want to feel His nearness. I wanted to convince myself He wasn’t real and that I had never experienced the incredible things He had done in my life. The only question I kept asking was: Is God real? But in the past few weeks, that question has shifted to: Who is God? And I didn’t realize that until it was pointed out to me. I had gone from, “I’m done with this. I don’t want any God in my life,” to, “Who is this God I’ve talked about for almost 4 years?” which I suppose is a better place to be. I’ve talked about Him like some sort of fairy tale character, but never as someone who lives so close and near to me. It’s always been an ideal I’ve set around God, but I expect Him to live inside of that.

Does it suck for me to write that? Absolutely. But I think there’s something to be said for the really grueling, difficult seasons of trying to know God that will make us come undone and put us back together. And disclaimer: I’m not on the other side of that. But I did find some reassurance in the people God has put around me, especially when I got to sit down with both of my bosses and try to qualify/articulate what the season has been like and what it’s meant for me. The best thing I was told was, “You’ll never completely figure Him out. You’ll always be asking questions.”

That was encouraging because honestly the past few months have felt like a National Treasure movie where I’m racing around trying to find clues that lead me back to God and one day there will be this marvelous answer that makes it all click. And one day there will be, when He comes back and we get to live with Him for eternity. But now, while I still live here, I have to cling to Him, the truths I know about Him, and the Love that will not let me go.

Some days I’m honeymooning with God and other days, I don’t want to look Him in the eyes. I want to talk about the idea of being chosen. “God chose you, and you’re waiting for Him to leave.”

Did this statement make me angry? Yes. Is it true? Absolutely.

There’s a line in a song we sang at church a few weeks ago actually, and it goes: “Oh Love, great Love, fear cannot be found in You. And there will never be a day, You’re uncertain of the ones You choose.” And it seems like such a big thing that I’ll never fully be able to understand, but I know there’s freedom buried deep in the middle of that, understanding you’re chosen by God. Do I still have a lot of questions surrounding that? Absolutely.

What does it mean that He chooses me? Does He actually choose me? How can I feel like He has chosen me? Are there people He doesn’t choose? What happens to them? If He doesn’t choose people, then is He not a good God? And the cycle of questions gets pretty vicious, and that word about hits exactly how I feel about God sometimes. I feel He can be a bit vicious, even though I don’t know that to be true. In my heart, it feels like He can be quite terrible, and I’m not even fully sure of why I think that. I see bad things happen to good people, and it makes me angry with Him, but I can only imagine it’s a childlike anger when a parent does something for their greater good that they don’t understand yet. It feels like my whole world though, thus the anger at misunderstandings.

I’m a huge movie person, and one of my favorites is a movie called About Time. Long story short, this awkward, ginger, Brit finds out the men in his family can time travel, but if he’s not careful, there’s a butterfly effect that could dramatically change specific events in his life. Great movie. Go watch it. Right now. Or when you finish reading. Anyway, there’s a quote at the end of the movie that put a new perspective on the way I look at my days. He says:


I just try to live every day as if I’ve deliberately come back to this one day. Let that sink in. No, it’s not a piece of Scripture that we ought to meditate on, but I think it is worth thinking about and changing the attitude of our hearts. I know I struggle a lot with getting stuck in going through the motions and not really seeing people. I get stuck in routine, and don’t get me wrong, I love my routine, but I’ve got to wonder if we start to worship our routines and security when we get so fixed in our ways. We forget to fix our eyes on Jesus and everything becomes a mess.

And things have been busy (surprise, but when is life not busy?), and I’ve gotten entirely too comfortable in the busyness, but it’s been nice to have moments of discomfort in the midst of to-do lists and reading and working and organizing. I can feel God slowly beckoning me back into His presence where there is much more fulfillment than I could ever receive from good deeds and working nonstop. I know there is a satisfaction and completion in Christ, and I’ve stayed away from Him a lot lately. Being alone with God is super uncomfortable, like an awkward first date, but you can’t have a satisfying relationship with someone you never communicate with.

So I came off of a weekend where we had intentional time set aside to slow down and remember what it meant to be in God’s presence. And it was hard. You think it’ll be refreshing, and it is in a way, but when you leave some time with God thinking that all it would take is coming back to him and you still have a heaviness in your heart from shame and unforgiveness, it makes you not want to come back. But a relationship with Him is rewarding, so I will continue to cast my burdens on Him, as best I can, in the hopes that He will use this and me for His Kingdom. That is the most we can hope for: to be set free and used for His Kingdom.

So what am I leaving you with? A mess, but that’s where my head currently is, and I’m learning how to be honest about that and walk in it, not try to perfectly package up so I can explain it to people. I don’t know where I’m at, but I know I like parts of it. It’s a daily journey of learning to be satisfied with where God has me, even though I can’t qualify it and put it eloquently. It can be a bit confusing, but I suppose we wouldn’t behold the mystery of God with such awe if we knew exactly what it was He is doing. The waters are muddy, but I’m still wading around trying to find out exactly what’s going on. I’m not sitting still though, and I suppose that’s the thing that makes all the difference.


Loving: READING. I have spent more time with my head buried in a book than I have writing or on social media, so that’s been super rewarding. I became a total Harry Potter fangirl in the last 3 months and have finished all 7 books and (almost) all 8 movies. I dream of being a Weasley and could talk to you about Harry Potter all. day. long. Let’s get tea and talk if you also feel this way. #mischiefmanaged #isolemnlyswearimuptonogood #itsLeviOsa

Learning: Entirely too much about comm theory, but actually beginning to love it. I’m also learning more about sports from a sports comm class, which has been super interesting.

Reading: Finished the last HP book recently, and now I’ve been reading Garden City by John Mark Comer in the mornings and Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert at night. I’m also in a Utopias & Dystopias lit class right now, so that’s got me buried in a lot of books.

Eating: Food? There’s not anything I’ve been on a huge kick about lately. I have found a weakness for coconut milk lattes with toffee nut syrup from Starbucks lately though.

Excited about: SPRING BREAK. I will be sitting on the beach in less than 24 hours and I couldn’t be more thrilled about it. Also, I’ll be in Harry Potter World on Tuesday drinking Butterbeer and possibly crying from being so happy. Also, reading. I’ve been really excited about reading more.

Needing: Discipline to rest. It’s something I’ve become better about, slowing down and all, but it’s definitely still a struggle. I also got a cute greeting card from my mom in the mail this week, and I didn’t even realize I needed that, but I found myself tearing up in the post office, so here we are.

Thinking about: Future plans, which have me more excited than anxious, so that’s new. Stay tuned for more on that. Also, would love to be writing a lot more than I have been lately. Planning to write more poetry and fiction because I forgot how much I love both of those.

Thankful for: FRIENDSHIP!!!!!! People who know you and love you despite your brokenness, and even help you to heal and love your brokenness. That’s been such a beautiful thing that’s been so healing and freeing. Friendship is the greatest. Also, thankful for family who will drive all the way to Rome to visit me when I just need a taste of home at Berry.

Listening to: Ed Sheeran’s new album. On repeat. And singing “Perfect” and “Happier” and “Eraser” so loudly. And dancing to “Barcelona” and “Galway Girl” a lot. Big fan of this record.


2 Comments Add yours

  1. annie.patton says:

    Jenna, your words spoke to me today. I love that you are reading so much- this is challenging to me and I need to spend more time buried in books. Thank you for sharing the things that are going on in your mind. I LOVE YOU.


    1. I love you and miss you every day, sweet Annie! Thank you for your kind words.


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