“I can’t do this anymore.”
I ran down the hill, messing up the fresh fallen snow with each step. The full moon had already started its course across the night sky, casting a brilliant, blue glow onto the wintery wonderland.
It felt freeing to run.
And to kick the drift at the bottom of the hill, sending a poof of clustered snowflakes in all directions. Here it wasn’t windy, but the temp was so cold the air itself bit at my face. I huffed, watching my breath float away from my mouth.
I refused to cry. Not only would I feel silly and immature for doing so, but it was quite possible the tears would freeze to my cheeks the second they dared to fall.
So I continued to run. Across the base of the hill and followed the path, carved out by four wheelers that past summer, up to the back of the woodshed. I didn’t stop until my back was slammed against the tall shed doors, out of sight of the house.
We always kept the curtains up so the warm yellow glow would invite the cold guest in. But tonight my worries and fears had driven me to the out of doors, away from those I didn’t want to witness my struggle. Those who deep inside, I knew wanted to be there with me the most.
But tonight, I only wanted to hide my scars. Only after I’d quietly closed the back door behind me and felt the stinging cold pinch my nose did I regret my choice to run.
I closed my eyes as tears still threatened to pour.
“I can’t do this anymore.”
Those had been the lone words that echoed through my mind like a song on repeat.
“I can’t live up to expectations. I’m a disappointment. I’m a failure. I can’t do this anymore!”
Each accusation pelted my brain like I’d gotten caught in the middle of a snowball fight. I opened my eyes, lashes wet with tears and gazed up into the bright face of the moon.
“Why is everything so upside down?!”
I gasped in short breaths of frigid air, each coming out as a puff of winter’s frost. The cold had seeped through my thin winter boots, my toes numb enough, I wouldn’t be surprised if they cracked in two after I took my next step. That was about the way my heart felt at the moment too. Nothing but a frozen chunk of ice, ready to shatter in a million pieces from the slightest, inflicted pressure.
I glanced to the left of the moon at the two stars, the first of their kind to appear that night. I took a shaky breath in an attempt to bring my gasping and emotions in check. But tonight, the attempt failed. I couldn’t do it anymore.
“Why, God?! Why must it be so hard? Have you even been listening? Can’t you take this pain away?!”
I shook myself, surprised by my own thoughts. Those were words I’d heard others vocalize, but I never thought I’d be the one to feel their sting from the moment they crossed my mind and plunged like arrows to my heart. I took another shaky breath, gaze dropping to the snow covered fields stretching from the shed to the trees beyond. My face had been exposed to the cold long enough that I couldn’t feel the bite of the freezing air anymore. Numb.
Did I really doubt that He hadn’t heard my pleas? That He didn’t see the mess I had become? I looked back up at the moon. That faithful ball that had been hanging around, lighting up our night sky for over six thousand years. Put there by the One who is faithful Himself. Who never changes. Who’d changed me.
I huffed, an excess of fog drifting up past my head.
I can’t do it. Couldn’t do it. Never will be able to do it. But as much as I knew that, the belief placed in my heart so long ago, barged into my swirling thoughts, ringing loud and clear.
He can do this.
He’d been watching the moon’s every cycle from creation until kingdom come. If anyone was capable of doing this, than He was. In fact He’s the only One.
As if on some magical cue, I sucked in a fresh breath of air and huffed it out, the thoughts of doubt and fear going with it. Instead, what I had read that morning came to mind.
“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”
What I could do, is have faith in the One Who is faithful. Cling to faith. Because the things I have hoped for, may not appear in this life, but in the one to come.
Would that be enough for me?
I let a small smile play at the corners of my mouth as I returned my gaze to the moon. Yes. Once again, I cried out and He answered. And He was with me. And would be with me the next time I cried to Him.
I pushed off the shed doors. Was I ready to face the unknowns and troubles of tomorrow? Perhaps not. But I know Someone Who was way ahead of me, ready to walk me through each step of the way, embraced in His everlasting love, there to gently remind me of my need for Him.
Shoving my gloved hands in my pockets, I retraced my boot prints down the hill. I wasn’t feeling victorious, like a warrior ready to take on the next battle. Quite the opposite in fact, I felt humbled and hesitant. So I took my time down the hill.
But it wasn’t defeat I felt. I sucked in the cold night air and focused on the path before me lit by the moon. If anything, I felt renewed. Reminded of His faithfulness, even when I am not. Reminded of His love for me, the very thing I don’t deserve.
It was the feeling of a fresh start.
Whether it be frustrations and setbacks with your writing. Whether it be difficult relationships. Whether it be disappointments. Or unexpected loss. Whatever the circumstance. Whatever happened in 2017. Whatever will happen in 2018.
Know that we can have hope.
“This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope, It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is Thy faithfulness.” Lamentations 3: 21-23
I wrote this little tale “A Fresh Start” as a reminded to myself of the many, many lessons I learned and ways He stretched me in 2017. So many “I can’t do this anymore”’s. So many plot twists and unexpected turns in this journey we call life. So many times I was gently reminded, that I can’t do this, but He can.
And for that matter, I expect to have many opportunities for a fresh start in 2018.
So if you find yourself, this coming year, in desperate need of a fresh start, know that you’re not alone. 🙂
And I promise… because of the Lord’s mercies, there’s also so much love, hope and laughter just waiting for us this coming year as well. Can’t wait to see it all unfold!
Thank you for dropping by the Author’s Attic!
Do you have a theme verse for this year? What about a word or phrase you’re going to focus on?