Ok, I admit it.
I stepped away from writing on purpose.
Lately my life has felt like scattered puzzle pieces, but each from a different box set. And so I figured that I would wait for them to make sense before verbalizing them. It was evident even in my journaling that I didn’t quite know what to say about my current predicament. Pages were filled with generalized cliches or churchy sayings that we tend to use to encourage ourselves through hardships.
God will never give you more than you can handle.
No rain. No rainbows.
Tough times don’t last. Tough people do.
They weren’t authentic, so they were not worthy of being published. Part of my journey to transparency has been to peel back the layers of my once treasured facade to reveal even the mess that laid beneath. I began to search myself and wondered if this was rooted in a lingering sense of perfectionism, a belief that I needed to have it all together. But no, this was different.
Have you ever been on a journey so unexplainable, so nonconventional that not even your friends would understand? Has it ever been difficult to even formulate a neatly packaged short story to tell?
That’s where I am. In a season where I'm being pruned much like the way Jesus spoke of in John 15. There were parts of my character and of my spirituality that I thought had grown and matured, but now I find myself being stretched even further. I am learning new levels of faith, gratitude, and obedience in God. These lessons sound easy on paper, but they came with a price. I’ve had to go without at times, part ways from cherished friendships, and even look like a straight up fool. Some mornings I marvel at where I believe I’m going in life, and some nights I’ve admittedly cried for the way things used to be.
But rather than sulk in a prolonged sense of sadness or loneliness, I’ve taken comfort in what has become my motto lately:
Nothing will make sense until it does.
This is the complete antithesis of the controlling planner I used to be. I was accustomed to having a tight grip on the reigns of my life and for situations to go my way. During the few times when I didn’t like my circumstances, I did something about it. Rearrange or manipulate the chess pieces to work in my favor. Solutions were just a push of woman-power— or a call to Mom and Dad— away. Plain and simple. When things went awry I’d just roll up my sleeves and like a corny salesperson I’d say, “My name is Tara Hughee, and I specialize in results.”
Moving from sunny south Florida to Harlem, USA humbled me in more ways than one. I came here with a few hundred dollars to my name, loads of credit card debt, but an acceptance letter to my one and only school choice in tow. There were days I’d rejoice for free lunch in the office kitchen at my graduate assistantship because it meant I didn’t have to eat the Cup of Noodles I had in my lunch box instead. At times I would barely have extra spending money, but my heart would overwhelm as I’d reach for my favorite lipstick and find a $20 bill my grandmother slipped in my makeup pouch.
I used to wonder why God would let me come to New York only to “suffer.” Here I was in the big city of bright lights and I was roughing it while working paycheck to paycheck. Wasn’t this supposed to be the part where all my dreams came true? It just didn’t make sense at all, until well, it did.
God has a way of breaking away the pride that clouds the view of our innate need for Him. “Surrender to a higher power,” the mirror read in my old bed room with dry erase marker, “We are human. We cannot do everything in our own strength.”
We are not brought to this realization as a form of punishment, but instead to get us on the same page with God. Life is meant to be a partnership or a collaboration with Him. Liken it to a film and He is the screenwriter. He has a divine understanding of the story, plot, and narrative of our lives. God can make even the most painful, boring or seemingly useless subplots work together in a miraculous way.
What I thought was suffering, was actually growing pains. I am learning to bear not literal fruit, like apples or oranges, but fruits [or results] of the Spirit like love, joy, and peace to sustain me in the midst of dysfunction. All along God was in the midst of my chaos, which was evident in my seemingly little moments of provision [the free lunches in the office, the $20 bills tucked away behind my concealer]. It was just last year that I barely had enough money to afford my textbooks for classes. There were times I completed assignments without a single reference to the reading. But when my grades returned, it was the first time I had ever received straight A’s in my collegiate career.
Moments like this reminded me that I’m supposed to be here in NYC. I didn’t need to fret about how my puzzle pieces would fit together because God’s Word had reassured me that it would. 1 Corinthians tells us that He chooses what is foolish in the world to shame or confound the wise, and that He chooses what is weak in the world to shame or confound the strong. I’m learning that the seemingly nonsensical often indicates the onset of the miraculous. I’m on a nonconventional journey that’s showing me that in my lack, He is my abundance.
I feel like I’m finally surrendering my puzzle pieces. Because from my view, which is at times clouded by my circumstance, I can’t see the final result. And so right now none of it will make sense until it does.