Love, Love, Love,

You are thirty-fine, indeed.

Let me start off by saying that I am proud of you. Really. I am.

This past year you taped a green 3 X 5 index card above your desk and in your scribbly, pink handwriting wrote the following:

The Great Escape
The Court is Adjourned
Luceo Non Uro

I realize that you didn’t see these as actual or even radical goals when you wrote them down at the time. They were only supposed to be rubberbands around the wrist, concise reminders that sliced your numb heart at the most piercing angle when you glanced up at them. But they ultimately became the things that defined you — the mile markers of your purpose.

Of course those things weren’t all written at once. The Great Escape was the first thing to go up. After you’d read Ann Patchett’s The Getaway Car: A Practical Memoir About Writing and Life, you scrawled those three words in big, capital letters. You were fed up with your abusive and hostile work environment and all the ugliness of the past three years and you, marvelous girl, did something about it. You did quite a lot actually. You changed your whole life and helped other women change theirs as well.

You also read Walking with God through Pain and Suffering and the Freedom of Self-forgetfulness – both by Tim Keller. He taught you that:

“We are to meet and move through suffering without shock and surprise, without denial of our sorrow and weakness, without resentment or paralyzing fear, yet also without acquiescence or capitulation, without surrender or despair.”

And that’s exactly what you did. You kept walking even though the path was overgrown and uncharted — not even Google maps could help you find a way out. You wept and grieved as you walked. And sometimes you fell down, screaming in frustration, but you always got back up. You kept going even though the night was infinite and moonless, through the ragged hurt of thorns and brambles on skin and the hot breath of the wild at your heels. You didn’t just sit down and wait for someone to rescue you (though you wanted to at times), you kept going. Most importantly: you, girl who has known God forever, finally recognized His amazing love for you here. The Court is Adjourned. You wrote that to remind you that He is ultimately for you and you can walk any path (though this one was decidedly difficult and hurt more than anything!) because of what Jesus had done on the cross for you.

You realized that your heart might break ten thousand times, but you weren’t likely to die from the suffering. In fact, walking through the furnace burned off a lot of undesirable things. You’ve said this before, but it bears repeating:

 ..this happiness is hard-won and battled-tested. This happiness is a direct result of making it through a fire that destroyed my ego, my fear, and my false dreams — a fire that at its hottest felt as if it would consume me as well. And it’s only with my feet on the other side, smelling of ash and with singed eyebrows that I can shout into the abyss behind me: I am here. I made it. I kept going. You didn’t get the best of me! It’s only after all the smoke clears, after surveying the gutted, blackened and hollowed remains that a fire leaves behind that you can be grateful for the things you didn’t lose in the fire.

So when you saw the motto for the Mackenzie clan in Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series, you scribbled that on your index card as well:

Luceo Non Uro: I Shine, Not Burn.

I think it should be obvious then why I am so very proud of you.

There are three things that I need you to do going forward from here though:

  1. A lot of very terrible things have happened over the past four years — many of them were not your fault.  You don’t have to forget these things, or drop the lessons that you’ve learned from them, and you don’t need to be besties with the people who hurt you, but you do need to forgive them. You won’t be fully free of all of this until you do.
  2. I know you’re looking for a mentor or maybe a soulmate, someone who will really see you and listen to you. Someone you can dream with. Someone to help and teach you. Maybe even someone to tell you what to do (awkward, I know). But recognize that you are  tired; you’ve been running hard for a very long time. You don’t need anyone else — at least not in the way you think. You are more than enough on your own.
  3. Don’t forget that you’re old enough to know better when dating!

Finally, remember that you’re the Girl in Pursuit this year. You’ve got quite the journey ahead of you. I imagine that pursuing your dreams will look very much like flying. Like the starship enterprise on its maiden voyage. Faithfully following the dreams that God has implanted in your heart will take grit, courage, patience, and a lot of love (I think you’ve got that in spades). Remember: Fearless living is faithful living because it depends on what God can do. So I pray that this is your finest year yet.

Keep Shining. Keep the Faith and Steady on, girl. Steady On.

Happy Birthday

One Comment on “Steady On, Girl. Steady On (A Birthday Epistle)

  1. Pingback: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly: 2015 Recap (in pictures) | Pretty For A Black Girl

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