We’re all rubies in the dust
Waiting to be seen, waiting to be clean
Just longing to be free…

One foot chases the other, my Asics pound against pavement. It is dusk, the sunset shrouded by layers of grey and wet mist. Unruly white iPod headphones are trying to escape my ears as they fall to the rhythm of my run. What do I hear, after pressing + to the volume? A song reminiscent of a journey long ago…

Well, two years doesn’t really count as “long ago”, does it? Yet imagine you graduated high school, traveled to three countries, nannyed a girl that stole your heart, then all of a sudden, you moved countries, moved lives, moved friends, moved vocations. From child to adult, it seems. That’s my little plug in the fact that two years can seem a long time when you are 19 years old.

But it’s funny, how when you’ve learned to live in a community of people that are now your friends, the facades start to come off and your true self remains. And with the comfortability comes memories of a similar time at Makua Lani– my last year of high school. Sometimes the parallels of these two small Christian schools catch me off guard. Makua Lani, Bethlehem Tertiary Institute. Two incredible places to live, learn, and grow.

Being involved with student leadership at BTI this year has taught me a lot of new, vital things. I won’t get into those. Ask me about them some other time. Because today, as I am running down the east side of St. Andrews Drive, I am thinking of old things, old lessons. We’re all rubies in the dust…” 

I’ve spent a lot of my life hiding. Hiding in shyness (only those who knew me in primary school can testify to this), hiding in extraversion (attempting not to be an introvert doesn’t work when you are one, let me tell you that), hiding in oh-I-can’t-be-bothered when really fear was holding me back from letting my beauty be revealed to anyone. And no, I’m not talking about pretty dresses, though that certainly affects how you view yourself. I’m talking about drawing that picture you’ve been waiting to draw, playing that song that’s on your heart, speaking out to someone who desperately needs to hear your voice even if they won’t be welcoming it with a happy-happy Facebook like.

I’ve spent lots of my life protecting myself. Because that’s what it is, essentially. Not trusting that God can protect you in the face of vulnerability and hurt. How was I hurt? I don’t fully know, but once you have revealed yourself as strong, loneliness and isolation can easily follow. At least that’s what the Enemy whispered maliciously in my teenage ears as I stood there strong– yet crying because I was alone (in the natural). Little did I know how much people cared about me, or how very-present God was in those situations. How much I was destined for greatness. 

And so by hiding, we take matters into our own hands. We don’t return to our God with our broken and desperate hearts. And it has never occurred to us that in all our hiding, something precious is also lost– something the world needs from us so very, very much.

Jesus said “page 56” of Captivating by John & Stasi Eldredge. He does that, often. Tells me page numbers to go search out in books on my book shelf. One time it was a chapter about captive slaves in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader that helped me gain greater perspective of a situation I was going through. Another time Pollyanna reminded me to “be glad!”. God puts all those little reminders for me, and he can do that, too, for you, in your medium (I like books in general). But anyways. That was page 56 this morning. It works in the Word, too.

Song of Songs. The young woman is admitting she is dark but lovely. She confesses she has been looking after everyone else’s responsibilities (yes, vineyards) but not tended to her own. Yet there’s something that makes me laugh, oh makes me cry, that when she asks her beloved a question, after she’s unloaded all this weak vulnerability on to him… he answers… “O most beautiful of women”. What?! Of course, he answers her question and all about where to pasture her young goats etc… but that almost seems a side-note! O most beautiful of women…! What are you doing hiding away over there?!

Asics now tread gently, walking up the hill of Sabana Place. Any hints of daylight have slowly faded with the six-thirty clouds, and the kitchen lights have flicked on all homey-like, waiting for me to come home and write a blog post. In those last months of Makua Lani, “long ago”, I was shown that I was hiding, but oh how I needed to be reminded of it again. After almost two years at BTI, a year of a up-front leadership position, remember this: Don’t hide your hurt. Don’t hide your glory. Because your beauty is so desperately wanted…

… and needed, too. 

What does Beloved have to say about all of this?

“As a lily among the thorns is my darling among other women.” -Song of Songs 2:2

Oh, it’s because of Jesus that we can be seen– not as efficient machines or dirty rags, but lovely. 

It’s because of him we can skip around mountain roads, 
as well as keep running the roads of our daily lives. 

(Though let me clarify that a run around my neighborhood is not quite daily 😉 and smile, because I’m learning, too!)

Yup, He’s with us through it all.
So when you feel like hiding, remember this: you have a beauty to offer, and it is desperately needed. Don’t run from Jesus. Run after Him.

He sure is chasing you! 🙂

So pick up your head
For I am your friend 
All that you don’t understand
I will take and make into 
Something beautiful

Andrea Marie, “Something Beautiful”

Photo credit: Amber McKenzie. Middlemarch, just out of Dunedin, South Island, NZ. August 2013.