Monday, November 14, 2011

1.5 Days

That's how long it takes to be hit by a sense of your own purpose in this world.

I began reading The Summer Kitchen, the second book in Lisa Wingate's Blue Sky Hill series, within minutes of completing A Month of Summer.  And I completed The Summer Kitchen not too long after I opened up to its first page.  1.5 days to be exact. 

I knew within the first few pages that this book would be amazing and difficult to put down - so I just.kept.reading.  I broke for lunch, then read some more.  Broke for dinner, then read some more.  I woke up this morning, picked up the book I purposefully left beside the bed so I could begin reading the moment I awoke, and I continued until the last page had been completed.  I'm ready to begin the third book in the series, but it feels like there's work to be done.

I've been feeling down the last few days.  To expand, I've felt worthless, asking myself what have I done in the last 29 years? and what I am I even here for to begin with?  If God had a purpose for me, surely I've wasted it away, either because I was wasted...or I was chasing a dream or a man who I thought could solve all my problems...or I was just too depressed and self-absorbed to look beyond the sadness within me.  But while reading The Summer Kitchen, I realized something.

Now, I'm not going to tell you that this book changed my life and now I feel good about myself and being alive.  I'm not going to tell you that this book answered all, or even most, of my questions.  If anything, this book created even more questions that I now hold inside.  If anything, I am more uncertain about what it is I am here for.  But what I will tell you is this:  I've been asking God to give, give, give me all of these things I lack - confidence, self-love, purpose, security, peace, contentment, more good days than bad days.  I am asking and pleading and begging, and asking and pleading and begging some more, and nothing is happening.  Or is it...

SandraKaye in The Summer Kitchen was completely wrapped up in the problems of her family - and she had some big ones:  a recently murdered family member, a runaway son, a failing marriage, and a distant teenager who was rushed to the hospital after combining a potentially lethal dose of prescription drugs.  She questioned her purpose as a human being and her abilities as a wife and mother.  She didn't know what to do or where to turn or how to make everything better.  It wasn't until a seemingly accidental run-in with three hungry kids scrounging for food in a dumpster that her life took a turn.  She made some PB&J sandwiches for the hungry kids, and that one simple act led to a ministry known as The Gospel Cafe in Waco, TX, upon which The Summer Kitchen is based.

God spoke to me through this book, and I believe His words have answered my prayers.  The funny thing is...nothing is all that clear.  You'd think that when God answers a prayer your problems are solved, your future is crystal-clear, you know the practical steps you must take.  But the only thing I know for sure after reading this book, the words of life that God breathed into my soul, is this:  The purposeful living and love for myself that I am searching for, that I've been searching for, begins with action; more specifically, action without expectation.

Yes, I am hurting.  A great deal, in fact.  But I hurt alongside hurting people.  All around me, there are people for whom I can serve a purpose.  All around me, there are people for whom I can give love, the same love that I question if I even have, the great love which quietly rests inside me, not ready to be felt, but ready to be given. 

I am broken, but I am a blessing.  My pain does not diminish my purpose.  My fear will not stand in the way of action.  There is work to be done.

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