Waiting is the Hardest Part

I was in the Great Smoky Mountains over the weekend on a new trail with a different landscape and its own kind of challenges. The promise of a spectacular view and an abundance of wild blueberries filled me with anticipation as we made our way to the top. The narrow, rocky parts of the climb almost wore me out sooner than I needed to be worn out. I felt like a kid on a long car ride to the beach. Are we there yet?

When we reached a trail intersection that informed us we were six-tenths of a mile away from the view and the blueberries, I was encouraged. img_6870

No big deal, I thought. This is fine. We’ll be there in no time.

Six-tenths of a mile never seemed as long.

We are always waiting for something. Waiting in line. Waiting to speak to customer service. Waiting to finish a project.

Sometimes the waiting is exciting. Other times it’s painful.

Waiting for the right one to marry or for the marriage to be what we thought it would be. Waiting to lose the weight. Waiting for a relationship to be restored. Waiting for the perfect job or the dream to come true or a promise to be kept. Waiting for the cravings for the alcohol or the pills or the entire box of doughnuts to stop.

Waiting for a child. Waiting to forget the regrets of the past and the day you can look in the mirror and like the person you see. Waiting for the sadness to go away. Waiting for God to come through.

That kind of waiting can be so hard that one more day of it seems unbearable. It feels impossible to keep going.

img_6871It’s that kind of waiting that God will use to change us. When it all feels like too much and it’s taking too long and it’s just too hard.

He’ll open our eyes. Or reveal Himself to us in a new way. God works while we wait. He may not change our circumstances.

He’ll do something even greater. He’ll change our hearts and minds. He’ll make us more compassionate and less judgmental. Give us greater faith and softer hearts.

In the waiting, we learn to fix our eyes on Jesus. We learn that He is with us and takes care of us. We aren’t diminished in the waiting. We grow in it because we work through it. We are made stronger and more patient in the waiting. And we see more clearly because of it. Best of all, we learn to love better because of the waiting.

God is greater than the pain of waiting. Great things will happen.

Just wait and see.

I truly believe I will live to see the Lord’s goodness. Wait for the Lord’s help. Be strong and brave, and wait for the Lord’s help.    Psalm 27:13-14

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It’s Back

I paused Monday School for a short time but I’m bringing it back.

What is Monday School?

From the time I could read, I’ve talked about what I’m reading to anyone who will listen. When I was a girl this happened when my sister and I played school. Most of the time, I was the teacher and she the student, though I never minded being the student. A good teacher is always a good student first.

Not only do we learn as we read, we continue to learn as we meditate on, share, and discuss what we’ve read. The Bible is no exception.

The Bible, especially, is meant to be read and thought about. A lot of times I’ll read a passage and one verse or phrase will stick in my head until I’ve considered it, asked questions about it and shared it with others. My intention is not only to share what I think about it, but to cause others to ponder and ask questions about it as we discuss it. Yes, I will teach and explain sometimes but only with a desire for the hearers to read and think about it for themselves. Mostly I want to have a conversation about it. I’m a fellow journeyer – learning to love God with all my heart, soul, strength and mind and learning to love others well. I have a long way to go and the journey is better with others.

On Mondays I will share a passage, verse or phrase that’s stuck in my head. I’ll call it Monday School. It’s a little like Sunday School but not really because there isn’t an attendance chart or gold stars for memorizing verses.

Maybe sharing what’s stuck in my head will get it stuck in your head too and we can talk about it until it isn’t stuck anymore. Or maybe it’s one of those that should stay stuck in our heads until it pierces our hearts which is the whole point of God’s Word anyway.

Here’s a good one to think about.

Psalm 119:105 from the Message Bible says this:

“By your words I can see where I’m going; they throw a beam of light on my dark path.”

I don’t think any of us like walking around in the dark and according to this verse we don’t have to.

For previous Monday school posts, go to my home page and click the Monday School tab.

 

Photo by nappy from Pexels

Morning Coffee

I woke up Saturday morning later than usual. I walked into the kitchen and started the coffee to brew like I always do. I had just enough time to drink a cup while I talked with my husband before I met a friend for our long Saturday run.

Lately I’ve been treating myself to a cinnamon almond milk macchiato after the miles on Saturdays and I look forward to it. But I didn’t need to stop for coffee this Saturday. Before I left the house I realized there was coffee left in the pot so I hurriedly poured it into my Yeti cup to keep it warm and brought it with me.

After the run, I said goodbye to my running partner, opened the car door and smelled the aroma of coffee. As I started the car I wondered why there was so much…….I brewed the same amount I’ve always brewed. It took me a minute to realize why I had a Yeti full of coffee. My daughter didn’t drink her portion like she usually does on Saturday morning.

She was on her honeymoon.

Like I always do, I brewed enough coffee for me and my daughter. She enjoys coffee as much as I do and she’s up early on Saturdays for her work. We sit and talk as we sip our coffee until one of us says, “I have to get ready after I tell you this”.

We both love good conversation and our morning ones are some of the best. So good that sometimes, we can barely pull away.

Her morning coffee routine will be different now. Mine too.

But it will be good.

Growing and changing.

Endings and beginnings.

These are necessary and good and beautiful.

 

 

Photo by John-Mark Smith from Pexels

Blink
 

The 2016 Rundown

I look forward to 2017 with even greater anticipation than I did 2016. And 2016 didn’t disappoint. It was a wonderful year of growth and I did a lot of new things. In one of my January posts, titled Rising, I reflected on the amazing things I saw because I made a change and decided to do something new.

Some of the “first evers” for me in 2016:

  • Ate the Paleo Diet for 12 weeks
  • Ran an 8K in May
  • Ran the Spartan Race in Nashville in August
  • Ran a 10K in October

I chose to take on these physical challenges and have learned from all of them. Mostly I learned the importance of training and doing it with others. There’s something special about being part of a group working together toward a tough common goal. I wrote about it in my post Together.

There were more new things for my family in 2016. In February we moved from our home of 13 years into my newly renovated childhood home. Our home is beautiful but there were some adjustments for us. We are no longer in a rural area and it interfered with my morning runs. I lost my running groove…..or so I thought. I just had to embrace the new and wrote about it in Embrace the New.

Throughout the year I continued issuing my Live Like it Matters Challenges but I wrote more than ever about my childhood and the legacy my parents left. Living in my childhood home has brought a flood of memories and it’s been a wonderful gift of healing, new perspective and renewed gratefulness. Some of those posts are Memory, Groundwork, Quitting, and Mama.

We went on our annual trip to the beach with many of our favorite people. It’s a special place and does our hearts good to be there. I highlighted it in my post This Place.

My son moving to Texas last year for a job, then moving to Colorado this year provided a lot of inspiration. His courage to take bold steps into the unknown is fascinating. We visited him in October and it was one of the best trips ever. I wrote several posts as a result of the trip: Possibility and Shine are two of them.

I was finally able to put into words some of the difficulties of 2013, 2014 and part of 2015. I’d start the posts, then stop. Try to start again, but no words. They just wouldn’t come. More times than not, something is worked out within me when I write and I knew I needed to write about these things. At last something broke inside of me and the words came for the first post called Linger. It took months for the other healing posts to happen but I found the words. I’ve received more comments on those posts than others because everyone has experienced loss, grief and heaviness. Those posts are called Gone and The Dark .

We had a great holiday season. We gathered with family and friends several times. On Thanksgiving I ran my 2nd Turkey Trot and significantly improved my time. Our son came home the first week of December so we celebrated Christmas with the extended family early. Christmas gets more and more special with each passing year.

God is good and 2016 has been full of blessings. But what God did within my own heart in 2016 is the most momentous. He has given me a clearer view of what’s important. I want to love extravagantly because that’s the way He loves me.

Now I will let Him teach me how to do it.

All-Time Favorites

The Edge

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At the edge of my grandmother’s yard there was a rock wall that separated our yard from hers. My little sister and I jumped over those rocks a thousand times. We used the rock wall as a hurdle in the pretend race courses we created.

“Run around the pecan tree and back to the barn, from the barn to the apple tree then run and jump over the rock wall. To the gravel road back through the yard over the rock wall and down to the pines. Climb the mimosa tree and down the mimosa tree then up the gravel road to the mailbox. Whoever touches the mailbox first wins.”

I can’t remember who won most of the time. Maybe we took turns winning. I do remember that when we finished the course we felt we’d done something big. Our rock wall hurdle seemed tall way back then.

The rocks are still there……exactly as they were when I was a little girl. Now I can step over those large old rocks with ease.  img_4544

The rocks haven’t changed.

But I have.

Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.”         Colossians 2:7

In response to the Daily Prompt Cusp.