In the presence of Susie Davis the air itself seems to wrap you up in a warm blanket on a cold day; she has this way of looking you in the eye and making anyone and everyone feel safe, and home. For this reason, I asked her to write an "as you are" post. I am so honored to feature such an amazing and inspiring woman, who has personally helped me to know and believe this truth in my own life.
Little backstory, Susie and I have too many close family connections to count...to name just a few- her niece, Natalie, is one of my very best friends, I went to Baylor University with two of her wonderful children, Will and Emily, and although UT Longhorns, I adore Sara and her daughter-in-law, Amy, too. This family is generationally stocked full of rockstars; I have always admired them for their contagious faith, and genuine kindness. Susie and her husband, Will, co-founded a church in Austin, Texas - Austin Christian Fellowship and she is also involved with IF: Gathering.
The pink geraniums on the front porch need watering. The morning sun shines down making the leaves nearly translucent, revealing tiny veins otherwise hidden.
Even with regular watering, the geraniums are reluctant to bloom. It’s just too hot. Too much Texas sun coupled with ninety-degree weather day after day after day. I put my coffee down, walk outside and uncoil the hose. I turn on the water, drag the hose to the front porch and spray the thirsty flowers in an effort to remind the geraniums I didn’t forget about them.
There was a time in my life I felt forgotten by God …
But let me start at the beginning. I met Jesus at twelve and fell totally in love with God and the whole idea of God. I read my living Bible. I made church a part of my life. I shared my newfound faith.
And then, when I was fourteen, I met a brutal world reality: I witnessed my teacher’s murder. It wrecked me deeply. I felt frail and fragile, beaten down by the world's hell-sent heat.
I had enough of a love for God that didn’t denounce my faith. Enough of a spiritual rhythm to steady me as I struggled to try and make sense of what happened. But God’s presence and comfort to me felt as weak and ineffectual as a light spray from a garden hose on a scorching summer day.
I spent the next decade scrambling to take care of myself. Anxiety overwhelming every aspect of my life. Loving God but not trusting him and in the process, I became a broken woman. On the outside, adhering to the system of Christianity but on the inside deeply fearful of the next bad thing happening.
My heart was divided. And the weirdest thing happens when you have a divided heart. You feel even more broken, more a fraud, more disoriented with who you are. But since you are the only person living with your real self, you are the only person who feels and sees the devastating brokenness.
But then … God.
He saw me all weak and thirsty embracing an empty well. He saw who I became outside of his trust. And he had a better plan for me than throwing a little water on the devastating drought in my life.
God loved me right in the middle of it all. God did not desert me. Not in my pain. Or rebellion. And he never did walk out on me in the season when those enormous questions needed honest answers.
What does it mean to be loved ‘as you are?’
For me it means God.
God in the beautiful and the ugly. God in the best and the worst. God inside and out. God holding my broken, divided heart and saying, “I love you just the same. Before and after and forever.”
Without that kind of love and healing, I can promise you I wouldn’t have the courage to communicate with you about this now. And I certainly wouldn’t have the vulnerability to write a whole book about what a fear freak I was and how God literally saved me from myself.
I don’t know what it is you want to be. A writer or a painter. A wife or a mom. An attorney, a baker, a songwriter.
Whatever it is you want to do and become is wholly dependent On being honest with God ‘as you are’ ~ no matter where that is.
He is the only one who is capable of loving you as you are no matter where you were or are or will be. He is not going to be surprised by any of the attitudes or actions or questions you have about your life or the world.
It might sound simplistic but a real and honest surrender to God and yourself ‘as you are’ is more valuable than a bunch of hustle and hard work. Because surrender yields peace. Surrender provides comfort. And in the end, surrender to God is inexplicable joy.
Prayers for you … ‘as you are.’
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