I am smack dab in the middle of a season of celebration. Things are coming to an end and sprouting new, excitement and fear are mingling together daily as the picture of the next season comes into view.
I am planning parties to celebrate what is yet to come, and in those moments I am slowing down to dwell on what has been. Full life. Full of friends that have melted into family. Full of heartbreakingly honest questions. Full of laughter and dancing and whooping for the joy of it all. Full of late nights around tables consuming food and consumed in games.
Jesus tells of the good shepherd and the sheep he loves, reassuring us how deeply the Father knows us and loves us and promising that he came to bring life. “I came that you may have life, and have it to the full.” In these words, he paints a picture – life to the full, abundant life, rich and satisfying life. His promise takes on real dimensions when we consider the fabric created when our lives overlap, intertwine, and knit together, where the dark places bring a new beauty to the golden threads woven throughout and each vibrant color tells a story all its own.
This type of rich, satisfying, abundant life is contrasted to the life stolen away and destroyed. I don’t know about you, but I am brought to my knees in thanksgiving at the thought of a God who holds out that first option.
Because the Lord is my shepherd, I rest in peace when things are falling apart quite literally because of my failure, or when the darkness in my heart takes over my day and my thoughts and commands me to remain silent, or when the weight of the world is too heavy for me to bear. ‘Cause trust me, friend, those days come. They come fast and furious and without pause some weeks. Abundant life does not guard against disaster – it gives us hope in the midst.
In the midst of the creating of the tapestry that is life, I am watching joyfully (and sometimes tearfully) as friends prepare to welcome new members to the family, ready themselves to tie the knot, apply with fingers crossed to dream jobs. I am also sitting with friends in the thick of it all as answers don’t come and doubts attempt to crowd out faith.
I look around and think: this is life to the full.
Planning celebrations. Accepting darkness. Loving others well. Feeling alone. All of it. Easy and treacherous. Ecstasy and terror. Embrace it, darling, and rest in the shepherd who knows your every need and brings you not just life, but life to the full.
With love, MyKayla Jean