It's January. A lazy New Year's sun peaks out over the morning haze in this almost-Southern-town, dispelling winter's veil and exposing the brown face of a brand new day.
This is the in-between.
The wiping of the slate. The nakedness of a new year — a slate with no words on it yet.
I hold my breath, looking out the window onto this in-between town.
Here, we are southern enough to say "y'all" and "fixin' to" but northern enough to get an Oklahoma winter. Here, we live in the tension between the old ways and the up-and-coming. Here, we pave over cornfields to put in another bank. We push back countryside north and north and north again, thousands of houses spilling over into the openness.
We are an in-between town, and I am spilling over into the openness.
To me, there is nothing so scary in all the world as a slate made fresh, of all the old wiped away and forgotten so soon, pushed to the corners of our memories, farther and farther and farther, again, to make room for what is new.
And yet, here I find myself, somewhere in between last year and this one. Somewhere in between child and adult. Somewhere in between redemption and glory.
I am a somewhere-in-between girl. Somewhere-in-between finishing college and beginning a career. Somewhere-in-between spiritual hurt and healing.
I have left so many things, if I only knew where I was going.
I think of those Bible-friends from so many years ago — so much like me with their fear and complaining, with their doubt and their love of what's comfortable and familiar, over God's best, no matter how scary the road. Finding themselves somewhere-in-between deliverance and promise, they were clinging to the old — a place called Egypt — because of their stubbornness and fear. And to an in-between-people, the mercy of God spills over all the rebelliousness and insecurity and fear.
"Therefore the LORD waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the LORD is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him. For a people shall dwell in Zion, in Jerusalem; you shall weep no more. He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry. As soon as he hears it, he answers you. And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself anymore, but your eyes shall see your Teacher. And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, 'This is the way, walk in it,' when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left." — Isaiah 30:18-21 (ESV)
I'm like the Israelites: I don't know where I'm going. I'm like this town and so many of the people in it: unsteady and unsure. I can't go back. I know whatever motion I make it must be forward motion. I just don't know where.
The questions are overwhelming. Where will I work? Will I get married? Where will I live? Will I be the person I want to be, ten years from now? What if I waste my life? Yet this is the posture of the Lord towards me: poised in graciousness. Eager to bless, according to his riches in Christ.
In these moments of question, Jesus speaks to my heart. He says...
Don't go back, in-between girl. Let me help you write the new slate. I've delivered you from slavery and sin; now trust me to fulfill my promise. One day redemption will spill over into glory. You won't be in-between then. You'll have arrived. Until then, will you trust me?
Courtney Cabaniss is a college senior at Dallas Baptist University. She adores thrift store shopping and all things vintage. She loves her church and is constantly being provoked to love, serve, and trust Jesus more by observing the examples of her faithful brothers and sisters at Grace Church. Additionally, Courtney harbors several irrational fears including the fear of clowns and the fear of parking garages.
© 2010 by Courtney Cabaniss. All rights reserved.