You Are My Sunshine
The rays hit my skin and the warmth is something I have been longing to feel for some time. Sunshine has been a bit of a distant memory for those of us in the south this winter. It feels like it has rained nonstop for months. Maybe, I'm exaggerating a bit. But, seriously, this has to go down as one of the most wet and dreary winters we have ever had. So, radiance from the sky is such a welcomed treat! For those of you that know me, you know I live for Summer! I love to lay poolside, hear my kids splashing to keep cool, and soak up every ounce of heat and Vitamin D I possibly can! So, winter... especially this one... is not my favorite.
You are my sunshine, my only sunshine.
You make me happy when skies are gray.
You'll never know, dear, how much I love you.
So, please don't take my sunshine away.
The lyrics to this sweet song are some that I have sang over and over with my children. In fact, we sing this one so much that I'm pretty confidant it was the first song all three of them learned and would sing aloud to me as toddlers. I love the gentle tone and the sweet truths it teaches them. As young women, I want them to know they are loved in such a way that we love and long for the sun!
Along with the gloomy, wet weather this winter, I have been dealing with struggles I have never before experienced. I wanted to think this is just a case of the winter blues. However, the struggle with my anxiety, coupled with grief, living in a hotel for several months and the lack of sunshine, has created a potent blend of insecurities. I liken the way I have felt to trying to fill up a colander with sand. I am the bowl and the sand is all of the things I love: my family, my friends and small group, my job, this blog, etc. The slits and holes are my insecurities: my guilt, my weight, my tiredness, my anxiety, my failures, etc. I can shovel a few spoonfuls in of the good stuff, and while some bits and pieces will linger, so much of the bulk keeps falling through the slits and holes. I can keep on adding, and if I try really hard and pour fast enough, a little bit of the bowl will fill. The holes continue to leak...and even grow, and eventually I tire and some mornings I wake and I'm void of all the good things.
Yuck, right? How do I overcome this?
I was at church this weekend, and while my pastor is amazing and preaching a passionate sermon from the book of Ezra, my mind kept drifting from his teachings to a small voice in my head. I sat there and felt God just telling me to pray. Pray, Stephannie. I am in this place. I am here. I will listen. Give me your struggles. So, I prayed for Him to take away all of these feelings of self-doubt and failure. I cried out in His name to give me the strength to overcome this stinking feeling of not being a good enough wife, mother, friend, writer, coworker, and more. The service came to an end, and I felt some peace after time in prayer.
Our family went to lunch after church and enjoyed our food outside on the patio. I watched my girls giddy with excitement as they filled their plates at the buffet line and their tummies with comfort foods. The sun soaked our skin and warmed us as we enjoyed that time together. I sat there and I felt as if the heat basking on my shoulders was a much needed hug. That is when it hit me: Lord, you may not take these feelings away. I may always feel grief from the losses I've endured. I may always have anxiety. I will most certainly fail many more times. My comfort is in the fact that I can rest in my salvation and relationship with a mighty and gracious God. Casting away my fears and those feelings of inadequacies must literally look like I am resting in the arms of Jesus. Only HE can make me whole so that the good stuff will fill me up!
So, here I am: renewed in my comfort through Christ. He is my sunshine. I will honor Him and allow myself to be held by Him while I spoon in the good stuff that life brings. I trust that He is just what I need. Often times in prayer with my girls I say "Lord, let others see your light through me." It is my hope that through sharing my struggles that anybody else dealing with these same or similar feelings will catch a glimpse of the love of our Savior through my writing. So, Lord, let others see your light. Let them feel your warmth. Let them be held in times of need. Thank you for the sunshine.