Usually, this isn’t the most flattering statement. It’s the cry of chilled love, or the recognition of a dark side revealed. But there was no condemnation in her voice, no accusation. Just something quizzical, observant.
I packed up my things and gave an awkward laugh. I was in the process of moving down the hall to a new office, and not sure how to process this sudden naming.
“I am? How?”
“I’m not sure… you’ve just changed. I just noticed it.”
“Well,” I said, loading my arms with coffee and stray office supplies I’d yet to move, “I just hope it’s for the better.”
It’s true though. Changed in so many ways.
When I took time off from blogging, it was for one simple reason: I needed rest. Headspace. Distance from my rambling internal monologue. That and I didn’t know what to say anymore. See after a while, you’re feeling too exposed, too vulnerable to share with just anyone. I pulled back from social media, blogging… anything that required a measure of talking about what was really going through my head.
Sometimes, you plant something, and there in the dark, soft earth of your heart, it cracks open, pushes through, and grows. Sometimes, this germination hurts, and that little shoot needs to be protected.
So much has changed in the past year. So much.
Not long after I said goodbye to this blog, a New England boy met a Florida girl on a dock in her favorite small town, got on one knee, and asked for forever. I did all the girl things — covered my mouth, gasped, and choked out “of course I will.”
I have changed, from single and charting my own lonely course to planning wedding details and figuring out how to mesh my life into another’s.
Since we met, I’ve felt things changing, my soul growing larger to make room for his. It’s funny how you can never know how lonely you were until the loneliness is filled. And it’s a deep down kind of loneliness, so deep even if you don’t feel lonely.
So I have changed. For one thing, I feel like I know just a little bit more about grace and God’s love through the other messy human He has gifted me. Chris is the kind of guy who wonders and ponders, who has touched places of wild loneliness, who loves fiercely and marvels at beauty. I was drawn to his passion for creativity and stories, and have felt that fire soften and melt my more cynical layers away, warm the cold empty corners, light me up inside. He is no god, yet I’ve felt God in his presence.
And so I’ve changed.
A few months ago, I realized I wanted to write again. Planning a wedding and nurturing a long distance romance takes up lots of headspace and has, thankfully, pulled me out of myself for a while. But sometimes you need to share. And man, I miss writing.
So I spent some time journaling, trying to figure out what I had to say to the world. What can I possibly add, the thing I could write about for a year. And one word, one idea kept coming up.
I used to write about stillness a lot, but that too is a part of becoming. We live in a world becoming. We grow into a new creation.
The Spirit bends over us, refines us. Refines the world.
And yes, preparing for a wedding — and the marriage after — is a part of that becoming.
Because everything is a work in progress.
If you’ve followed my blog for a while, welcome to my new Internet home! It has an annoyingly inconvenient web address (the technical demise of jenwritesstuff.com is another story for another day), but I’m excited to be building a new look and a new direction for my writing.