It's September. We've entered the month of "please start turning to autumn, please let's leave summer behind," if you're like me. I'm ready for jeans and closed-toed shoes and smells other than burning asphalt.
As of late I've been thinking of topics to write about. I've found that it's frighteningly easy for me to return again and again to morosity. It feels strangely natural to release the fact that I am encountering a difficult moment in my life, that most of the time my situation feels hopeless with only slight bouts of light. And maybe it is just natural, since I am human and sinful and will not ever get it right.
But at the same time, maybe it's unholy. I tend to be a very self-aware person. But when does self-awareness turn to self-obsession and -deprecation? When is the reality of our world actively redeemed by the truth? Daily, apparently. While I wallow with my hands to my face, hope sprouts all around me. Redemption continues. And my selfishness blocks my vision. Daily this pattern continues. Daily I make the choice to serve self rather than the Holy One. And daily He redeems.
The reason this contrast comes to mind lately is because of friends. Isn't it the case that all throughout the Bible and history, that God uses people to bring them back to His reality? Duh. Why would my life play out any differently. Two weeks ago I was completely socially exhausted, to the point of tears. But He flipped something. One breakfast with a friend reminded me that God-focused relationships are not draining, but life-giving. They encourage, they remember, they welcome. They fill, not quench. There were so many chats this week with family and friends. So many conversations could have depleted me because of gloom, but instead He used them to revitalize.
What a gift is this! What a gift that one of my best friends who lives six hours away has an incredible community of friends who love and cherish her, when I can't be there to do it. What a gift that another is on the other side of the world, trying to figure out her life, and yet He continues to beckon her to Himself without any demands. What a gift that yet others across the east coast are undergoing the same shocking transition of life, and seeking Jesus while they do it. What a gift that He is actively redeeming this apartment, this marriage, this stage of life. With what? His people. He hasn't left me alone. He hasn't told me to figure it out. He's promised, and I must believe. I actually must. Otherwise morosity is the destiny for the rest of my breathing days.
Process this life? Yes. Work through the feelings of gloom? Yes. Dwell daily? Oh no. Hope daily. Believe daily. Thank daily.
Friends, thank you for being in my life. Thank you for encouraging me when I don't want it. Thank you for challenging me and loving me and loving Jesus. Overflowing with gratitude these days.
And because this blog relates to food, I will throw in a tribute to summer. A finale, I hope. A "see ya next year!" type farewell. One of my favorite summer sides: Grilled romaine. I know it's all the rage, and you've probably seen about a hundred thousand hits on it already, but it's just so crazy good. I can't not love it. So if you've not had it, here's what to do.
Crank your grill up to medium-high heat. Halve a couple of romaine lettuce heads lengthwise. Brush em with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and place on the grill flat-side-down. Keep them there a few minutes, until you get a nice char but it's not totally disintegrated. Serve immediately, with a creamy dressing (current favorite- delish and way better for you), lots of parmesan, and some hunky ripe tomatoes.