Coffee Date: When God Doesn’t Email Back.

img_1060(I started meeting you here for coffee every month the end of last year, courtesy of my brilliant friend, Erin, who is one of the beautiful minds behind Coffee Dates. As always, please feel free to write your own Coffee Date or email me here. I’m always here and the coffee’s always on at my place. So come on in, love.)

Hey babe, let’s do coffee. I hope so much that you meet me here.

Me: Hey, Mom, if we were on a coffee date, where would we go?

Mom: Not Starbucks. 

So, coffee date, if we were on a coffee date, we’d be at Atlanta Bread Company (although if I’m honest, I’m currently sipping a pumpkin spice latte. From Starbucks.) One with a fireplace. And one of us would have to get hot chocolate. Mom’s orders, but she’s probably 100% right. As always, you can meet me in the comment section or the email. I’m always, always there.

If we were on a coffee date, I’d ask if you’ve ever read If You Find This Letter. This book, guys. GAH. With as long as I’ve followed Hannah Brencher, it’s a shame I just got around to reading her inspiring memoir, but I think sometimes we put off reading the things that will move us the most. I still have a few pages left, but it’s got me wanting to leave love letters all over this city of mine. I’ve already left a few in the hands of close friends and family to let them know I see them, but I’m craving more love letter writing. My mom got me these greeting cards for my birthday and I’m planning on using every, single one of them to redeem that start to 25. Sometimes God does that, doesn’t He? He provides little things to redeem big issues.

PS, coffee date? Do you need a love letter? Shoot me an email. I’ll respond. Tell me what you need, coffee date. I’m italicizing and bolding because I want to know how I can write to you. Any day, any time, coffee date. 

If we were on a coffee date, there would be zero pause before I told you about my emails to God. In fact, even when I’m praising that book I’m itching to talk about the emails. Because as I was reading Hannah Brencher’s beautiful words, I found where she started an email address to God–one that only she and God could ever see–and just started shooting off emails as a tangible way to reach out when she felt alone. It took me approximately four seconds to decide I wanted that too. I needed a space to just go crazy, wild and say all the things I’ve never said or almost said. I needed an action with my words and pressing that send button was everything. I think I’ve sent five. I ask God about the things that were spoken over my life, I ask God about last spring, I ask God why the person I thought would be here by now isn’t here yet.

If we were on a coffee date, we’d get real personal for a minute, coffee date. Because I think I need to. And maybe you do too. In these emails, sometimes I get really angry at God. When I even think to send them, it’s not pretty. I’m whiny. I’m angry. I’m messy. I’m not devout or full of grace or love or compassion. I’m nitty-gritty, why-do-You-let-this-happen–zero black and white, just questions full of colors. But I never invite God to a coffee date. I forget He’s more than a checklist. I forget God doesn’t exist to make everything better. I forget that there’s no secret message in Hebrews that I can decode to read, “Amanda. On this day you will fall in love and on this day you will finish the book and on this day you’ll get published and on this day your words will spring forth into the world and everything will be fine. Go get yourself some coffee, girl, and work on your autograph.” And you know what, coffee date? Sometimes it hurts when–not only does He not send answers to my immediate situation, a lot of times He gets really, really quiet. The sort of quiet where He’s looking right at you, but not saying anything. It hurts because I know He could–but you know what? He always reveals why He doesn’t turn things around. It’s quiet, on time, and a carefully constructed response. He doesn’t lower Himself to meet my emotions, yes, but neither am I left hanging. I still don’t know about the dreams I’ve experienced or the things that have been spoken over my life or the feelings about specific people I just can’t shake, but I do know about God. And He’s got me. Somehow, some way He’s got me.

If we were on a coffee date, I’d ask the Erin sort of questions. I have this friend who fills my life with lots of laughter, tacos, and adventures every time she’s around and is hands-down one of my favorite people. A few weeks ago she sent me a text and said, “How are you doing? In all honesty.” She wanted the brave, the bold, the messy, the honest truth. And so, coffee date, in all honesty–how are you, babe? How’s life? Is it all falling apart? Because that’s okay. Falling apart is okay. Falling down is okay. But staying down? That’s not part of the deal. You have permission to fail, permission to be breakable, but zero permission to throw in the towel and stay out of the game. 

If we were on a coffee date, I’d tell you I’m learning to be brave. I’m learning to be really, really brave because it counts. Being brave doesn’t equate perfection; it simply means you don’t sit at home when you know you have work to do. You don’t let fear get a say in whether you go in to work or not or whether you go live on Facebook or not.  If you don’t leave the battle, don’t go home when you want to, it will get better.

So, babe, real talk. What are you afraid of? I mean, really. What’s stopping you from doing the thing you know you should do?

If we were on a coffee date, I’d tell you to do the damn thing. You know what it is: the gym, the to-do list, the budget cuts, the meal prep, the emptying of the cat litter, that one, stupid conversation you’ve been putting off, the studying, the book you’re elbow-deep into writing or reading or editing. Just do it. Make it smaller, then take out the task.

Side note: unless it’s giving your cat a flea bath. I give you full permission to procrastinate on that.

If we were on a coffee date, I’d tell you to find someone that writes into your story. I’ve always been in love with the idea of being written to because sometimes–if I’m honest–as a writer it feels like I spend all my time writing to other people. But when I sit back and think about it, I am being written to in unique and beautiful ways. Little cards from distant friends, little ‘this made me think of you’s’, friends asking if I want to head out to coffee, random texts, and the list goes on. Find your people, babe. Find people who will eat Taco Bell with you in random parking lots and go for coffee every Sunday night and But don’t expect the way they write into your life to look like what you’ve imagined in your own head. Let people be. Let them love you the best way they know how.

If we were on a coffee date, I’d ask about your end of the year. Is it going okay? How are you adjusting to these darker nights? We’ve got three months left of 2017, babe. Get out there and enjoy it while it’s here.

Last but not least, if we were on a coffee date I’d ask what your fall bucket list is. Don’t have one? Just give me three things you have to do for it to be fall. Give me the traditions, the baking recipes, and the scarf/legging combos. Go, go, go.

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