Hey everybody! My name is Ana Hodges.
I have sat down to write this blog so many times in the last month. I have lots of ideas for later blogs but I feel like the first one you write is important because it’s the first. Every time I’ve tried to write the blog I come in with the intention of telling you all an entirely different life story and reason to why I’m writing this. And each time, the story I’m not so thrilled to tell comes up (thanks Jesus) haha! So, I am going to tell you why I’m writing this blog. It just won’t be how I initially imagined it.
Funny how the Lord does that, right?
This is my least favorite season of life, right now. I am in my hardest season of life yet, honestly. Although I can say that I am so incredibly fortunate to have not lost a loved one, nor have I had a traumatic experience that altered my life, pain is pain regardless of the circumstance. My current season is just hard for me, plain and simple. I’m a black and white girl. I like to fully understand things and to be fully understood. I like having my “ish” together all the time. And when I make a decision I commit to it entirely; if I’m doing something halfway, I’m not really doing it at all. Because all of these things define a fairly comfortable Ana, I have none of them at the moment. I’m in the middle of grey area, constantly. I don’t trust myself or when I think I hear the Lord. And the Lord is constantly asking me, “Do you trust me? Do you trust me enough to handle every emotion you feel and have no idea what to do with? Do you trust me to take care of you?” And I have let that question fester in my heart for months; literally. Because when we are hurt beyond what we thought we could feel, we lose that sense of trust.Part of me has wanted to trust the Lord with myself, I haven’t. I have been giving myself in pieces. Committing for a time but falling because I’m not totally in it. Because I haven’t totally given Him all of my heart.
I used to think that doubt and uncertainty were my least favorite feelings. But, now I know that grief is. Although doubt is a close second on the list of feelings I hate having, grief is a hard number one. It’s even worse when you didn’t realize that’s what you were feeling and had to be told multiple times before you saw it. I think I didn’t believe it at first because I associate grief with true loss. And I thought my own loss wasn’t enough to be considered grief. But I have learned that pain is pain. My grief and my pain is terrible because it’s my little life and heart that hurts and that’s what matters. If something in your heart is telling you that your pain isn’t enough to be felt or heard, that’s the enemy trying to single you out and tell you that you aren’t important. But that isn’t the truth at all. Our God loves us beyond measure and wants us to talk to him about everything because to Him it is important. Your heart is important to him.
The other day I was sitting around with some close friends for a night of discipleship and we were worshipping to Bethel’s album “Brave New World” and the song that came on was “Pieces”. I had never heard it before but I immediately fell in love with it. The song is centered on the Lord’s love for us and how he is ever present, ever available, and wholly accessible to us. “You don’t give your heart in pieces; you don’t hide yourself to tease us.” It is so incredible to me that no matter what I have done or will do, His love is never hidden from me. He never gives us small pieces of Himself to tease us. His love is entirely available all the time; whether you are in your best or your worst moment. Yet, I hide myself from him. I tease him with pieces of my heart. And I can only imagine how His heart breaks when I do that; when I give myself halfway. But even still, even when I continually fail to meet Him fully as He fully meets me, He is waiting for me. He is patiently whispering “come to me, I’m all you need. Come to me, I’m everything” (if you can’t tell I’m a little obsessed with Bethel worship at the moment). In my darkest moments, He mourns next to me. In my most joyful ones, he rejoices alongside me. Even when I don’t invite Him into those moments, He is there waiting for me to come to Him.
Now you have a good idea of where I’m at. But as I am writing this, I’m convicted. Because I have yet to actually tell you why I hate my season of life and wherein my grief lies. And if I’m going to do this blog I better be totally honest. I lost a person and a relationship that I allowed to be the most important things to me. I lost my seat in a family that I adore. And most of all, I lost my heart because I gave it away before I was supposed to. My heart break is a pretty classic break-up story. Although this time, it was entirely different for me. Doubt came running in then fear followed close behind and I had no idea what was happening until it just did. We broke up because we care a lot about each other and thought we knew exactly where it was going but found that we just don’t know what the future holds. While I totally believe you should always date someone with the end goal in mind, if that end goal becomes blurry, uncertain, and doubtful, giving up the desire of your heart in search the desires of the Lord’s heart is exactly what you should do. It freaking sucks and you might hate life for a moment. But at the end of the day, it’s not the desires of our hearts that we should be pursuing. It’s His hearts’ desire for us that we ought to be running after.
So as I begin my newest and most exciting journey yet, this season is about finding myself again. Finding myself in the Lord and letting him have me in every moment. I think we repeat seasons of looking for ourselves no matter how old we get or wherever we’re at in life. Life is never constant, it’s always changing. And when we change with it. We find new things about ourselves and who the Lord wants us to be. I have been given the opportunity to study abroad for my last semester of college. And although I was apprehensive about taking it at first, I knew that if I allowed fear to hinder me from doing this I would never forgive myself. This trip is a literal God-send. He has perfect timing and He knew that right now, I would need this trip. I am going to a city I have never seen to live alongside people I have never met. He gave me an opportunity to take a leap of faith in Him and trust that His plans are way bigger than mine.
For this season, I chose to fully envelop myself in the Lord and trust that the promises of His heart are so much bigger than the promises in my heart. For this season, I chose to find Ana, however that looks.
Photos by my favorite photographer Hannah Webb. Check out her blog at hannahwebbsthoughts.wordpress.com!