I tell ya what, this blog is a tight squeeze for the big thoughts I’ve been having the last few months. I come over here at least once a week, with the intention of sharing all these things I’ve learned or experienced recently, and I simply cannot find the space. It’s huge. I really just need you to be right here with me, watching the whole thing up close. I want to pull you over, and point out these huge moments, and say, Get a load of this! Blogging just can’t cut it. You gotta SEE this thing.
But, that’s not gonna happen. You don’t have time for me to be dragging you all around, and if I ignore this poor blog anymore, it’s just gonna shrivel up and die. So, I’m gonna get to this thing the best I can, and hope I can convey just how epic this past year has been for me.
We’re almost one month away from the year anniversary of our Big Move. This time last year, I was packing, painting, and crying out some goodbyes. We were excited, nervous, and absolutely unprepared for what was ahead. King Pen was getting ready to start his own business, and we were finally going to “live our dream.” We had no clue how difficult that would be, or how very much God had to teach us in the months to come.
It’s been tough, I am not gonna lie. We’ve been stretched in every way imaginable. Financially, emotionally, spiritually. It’s been sheer battle. We have been busted up, patched together, and busted up again. But as this year draws to a close, and there’s a lull in the fighting, I want to share what I’ve learned on the field.
1. My husband is a faithful general. He plans and strategizes, long after the troops have gone to bed. He calculates his next move, and marches fearlessly alone into the fray. He doesn’t give up. He doesn’t expect me to have the answers for him, but he welcomes any input I have. And seeing him like this, whether he wins that day’s battle or not, has become larger than “living our dream.” Being the general’s wife IS living my dream. I’ve always known how blessed I was to have this man as my husband, but boy do I know it FOR REAL after this year. He doesn’t abandon his post. Ever. He has taken to heart the responsibility and gravity of being head of this family, the lead of this charge, and there is nothing in this world that could make me happier than that. I would do this all over again, just to see the fight in this man. It is something to behold.
2. I trust what God is doing. This one is the doozy to try and put into words. Some days I’m better at trusting in God than others. But I’m slowly coming to understand the REALITY and ABSOLUTE NECESSITY of this concept– that following Him means we must trust Him, every day, in every battle. And we can only do that if we truly see Him as sovereign and loving. I thought I was doing this already, ya know? I’ve been a Christian a long time, and I’ve trusted Him fairly well during the hard moments of my life, or so I thought. But I had a serious wake up call this year. I realized that rather than trusting in God on many occasions, I was just trusting in a formula: that if I do this and this, (say, King Pen gets his degree and then his license) then eventually, life will be great and it’ll all work out. Reality check for me– I can’t trust in a formula. The formula didn’t deliver immediate results. Maybe it won’t EVER. That’s a possibility. Not saying I think that’s going to happen, but it could. The world could fall out from under any of us, and every bit of our plans and formulas might count for nothing in an instant. I had to face that reality, and it wasn’t pretty. But what happened when I was stripped of this falsehood, was that it left room for me to believe in the RIGHT thing– in the truth that I serve a God who is constantly seeking to turn my sorrows into joys. Whatever hardships or trials we face, He is doing things in and around us that we can’t even see, to turn those things into blessings. Maybe it’s different from what we expect, maybe the road twists and turns and our joys end up being something we never could have anticipated– but they’re coming. Joy is coming, no matter what the sorrow. So, with truth like that, who needs to worry? It doesn’t mean hardships and trials are fun, or feel good, or that we have to plaster a smile on our face and pretend it isn’t painful– but we can REST. We can shrug at them, laugh at them if we’re able, endure them while we must– but we do not live in them, we are not defined by them. The trials are temporary. The joys that come from them are eternal. I get that so much more than I did a year ago.
3. Pray. Pray. Pray. Can I just keep saying this word? I learned some REAL stuff about prayer this year. Like, how much I need to do it. And how the more I do it, the more I know I NEED to do it. I find endless things to pray about now. I pray over and over, the same things, for the same people, and I just won’t stop until those prayers are answered. I’ve learned that God wants us to be tenacious in our prayers. He wants to hear us, He never tires of our prayers, and He IS answering them. And when I feel discouraged, when I wonder if these prayers will bear fruit, then I just refer back to #2. Sorrows into joys, my friend. That’s what our God does.
4. It’s time to get real and be a grown-up Christian. It’s time to get real about the WHOLE THING. Real about worshiping Him. Real about loving and studying His word. Real about serving others. Real about raising my kids, and loving my neighbor AND my enemies. Real about not gossiping, real about forgiving people and real about the sin in my own heart. Real about reaching the lost people in our lives. No more milk, no more excuses, it’s time to grow up in our faith. It’s just time. Time to have a heart like Christ’s. To love the things He loves, to hate the things He hates. To surrender ourselves completely into Him, so that He is what the world sees when they look at us. No more coasting, no more resting on laurels or whatever else it is that is keeping us from rising up to the call. We’ve heard it a million times. And now the time has come to be not only hearers of the word, but doers.
So, there you have it. A few of the big things I’ve learned this past year. Can you see why I’ve been kinda quiet around here lately? These aren’t thoughts you can just drop casually in conversation. And they’re hard to write about when you’re slap in the middle of it. Not that I’m done with these things, or that God is done with ME, but I do feel like I’m catching my breath a little now. I can stop and send a pigeon with a note tied to his leg, I’m okay. Battle going well. Troops remain intact.
The truth is, Life is good. It always has been, and it always will be– because it’s precious. I will rejoice in even the hard moments, in the skirmishes and clashes, because they mean I exist. I am. I get to live my little flash on this earth, with it’s charming little problems, and then I GET TO LIVE FOREVER.
What’s a battle here or there in this life, when you know the war is won and eternal celebration awaits?
I smile just typing that. It really puts everything in perspective, doesn’t it?
Okay, that’s it for me tonight. Enough heavy heavy. Any more, and the pigeon won’t be able to get off the ground. Sweet dreams, everybody! I’ll be back sooner than later, I promise. No more month long blog absences, if I can help it.