If you know me (and hopefully you do if you’re reading this) you know that I absorb books like a sponge. I can sit down with a book and read for hours and still feel like I need more. I love everything that has to do with books. I once wanted to be a librarian just so I could work amongst books all day. (can you imagine me as a librarian? haha. oh the visual) I am drawn to any and all types of book stores. My idea of a perfect date would be browsing through hundreds of books with someone I have a major crush on. I am a nerd. I am ok with it. I am owning it.

All this to say…I have been reading amazing books lately. I have had amazing books recommended to me (if you wanna make me the happiest girl ever, tell me about a book you think I might like). And when you are absorbing all these beautiful words into your mind and heart it is quite difficult not to feel territorial of them, not to make them yours. I  make words mine. I love sharing them with people I think will benefit from them as much as I did. I make these words mine and they become a part of me. Just like how every moment you have with someone becomes a part of you. Another notch on your belt. Another trinket in your satchel.

The last thing I read that impacted me was titled “The New Country”. What a beautiful title of a new frontier set out before you, endless possibilities. However, it also scares me. Because newness comes with pain. It comes with change. Awkwardness. The sense of clinging to all your securities because you feel like if you let go of them you’ll fall into this abyss and not know how to get out.  “The New Country” talks about we can see what this new place is like, but how we are still, very much at home in the old country. You’re very much at home there because as hard as it may be to live in the old, you know it so well. The happy. The sad. You wear it like an old tattered sweatshirt you can’t bear to throw away because of all the moments you’ve had in it.

And then we realize that we have to leave this old place and step into the new place. The New Country. What I love most about what this book said about the new country is that this is where our Beloved dwells. What used to help us in the old country no longer works in the new. We don’t know that what lives in this new country is what we need. It is what will work. But this requires the death of what has become so dear to you. The “death” of something is so scary to us. Why is that? The death of something is what produces new growth.

Like the redwood trees. (I’ll grab any opportunity to talk about redwoods!) The main root “The Mama Stump” must be cut off and damaged, killed if you will, in order for other trees to grow from it. I love showing the kids at OSS this beautiful example of new life. When you walk into a redwood cathedral it’s sad to see this huge stump in the middle, lifeless, what once was a huge glorious redwood tree, but then you look all around and see all the tall forms of life giving beings that have sprouted up from the death of that first tree.

We’re so scared of death. We are so stricken with fear that we can’t see all the life that is going to come out of it. This particular concept has been so precious to me lately. I know that I need to let some things die in my life, and that some of these things are the most important to me: security in relationships, friendships that are unhealthy, affection, history…the list goes on and on.

Trust is what is essential.

This book says that “the new country is where you are called to go, and the only way to go there is naked and vulnerable”.  This IS the only way to go there. We cannot go in holding on to anything. And yet, when we get to this new country we love it. It feels good, and we begin to understand that newness is so refreshing. And then there are moments when we miss the old country and what we once had there, and we slip and fall and go back to that place. But what I have realized is that the old country doesn’t hold it’s power anymore, the spark is gone, the essence you once held onto so tightly and never thought you could live without no longer resides there.

It is about risk. We need to risk our vulnerabilities, our shame, the possibilities that things won’t be the way we want them to be, in order to keep going farther and farther into the new country.

The New Country is where my Beloved dwells.