Stormy Skies

It’s hard to see the sun when you’re in a the middle of a storm. For so long, I was ready for change. I begged for it and dreamed about it. Now that I’m in the middle of it, I realize how difficult change can be. Not for my mindset, because I’m open and (hopefully) really ready for it. It’s just: Change uproots what you know and replaces it with the unknown.

We’ve moved. It’s official. All of our stuff is in the new house waiting to be unpacked. Our old place is empty now. There’s no turning back. I’ve been working at my new job for  a month and a half now. And it’s been hard. So much harder than I ever expected it could or would be.

The truth is, I’m stressed out and unhappy. But I have to believe this will change after I adjust to the new routine. The job wasn’t what I expected. I feel misled by the description I was given. I feel duped. I uprooted my family’s livelihood for this?!?!

Then I remember the cute farmhouse we’re renting and how it really does feel like my own. I already have pride in it, even though it’s just a rental. And I like it so much better than our last rental. Also, there are adventures to be had in the new city. I’m so excited to get to know some new people and to explore a place with so much opportunity.

It’s just….the career. This is the awful pattern in my life. And I’m really tired of the vicious cycle. To top it off, my husband is still job-searching and the bills are still coming in. And we have to replace the engine in his truck (a repair costing around $5,000). With Christmas days away, it compounds the stress. When I hear Christmas songs on the radio, Scrooge rises up in me and declares, “Bah Humbug!”

I’m trying to make the most of it. This too shall pass. And I do see a break in the clouds. I do feel like there’s hope. I’m not sure why or how, but we will get through this. And in less than a month, we get a fresh start with a brand new year. We can hope to see more positive months ahead. Time will tell.

Until then, I’ll keep staring up at the clouds, trying to see past the gloom to the shining sun behind them. Perhaps this calls for a fresh cup of tea.

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Photo credit: byronv2 via Foter.com / CC BY-NC

 

Not Quite There

Photo credit: derekskey / Foter / CC BY

My dreams once felt within my grasp. But there are times they float a little farther from me. But like a balloon on a string, they never go too far. Some days I feel like letting go of the string. But I can’t. This string is tied to me. In the rash movement of emotion, I can’t undo the knot. And once my mind calms, I realize I don’t want to untie it.

Some days, I sit and wish my lost hope would return. Then I feel a gentle tug. The dream is still there and within it lives hope. Never too far away.

Our eyes see what we want them to see. We can easily overlook the horrible things we see in the street, turning them into an unimportant blur in our memory. We can convince ourselves we are 12 feet tall and invincible or that we stand small as a thimble. If we are invisible, it is because we have made ourselves unnoticeable.

That gentle tug of our dreams isn’t always enough to pull us out of our own self-induced sadness. We’ve told our eyes that it’s dark and we can’t see, despite the lanterns lighting the way. We tell our cold legs that they can’t go on, despite the warm sun on the horizon. How easy it is to fall into that pit of despair when there is less to despair than we want to believe.

Life can be dramatic. Or we can make it so. And that can work in two different ways. We can be enthused and in awe of what’s around us in such a passionate display that people stop and take notice. Or we can convince ourselves that all is lost and there is no way out, even when the doorway is within sight.

The craziest thing about all of it is that we are in control. We have so much more control of our lives than we often believe. But we don’t have to take charge of our fate. We can sit quietly in place and let the world pass us by with all of the good and bad it may or may not bring. Anyone can live a passive life.

I want to live an adventure.

I want to stop in my tracks and gawk at the wonder surrounding me. I want to appreciate the things that have been put here to be appreciated. I want to see potential where others see misfortune. I want to reach up when I feel like collapsing down.

That comes from within. And if it’s not there now, it can be nurtured back in from wherever you buried it, no matter how long ago. But it takes time and patience. Self-forgiveness can be just as difficult as standing tall during trials.

Today, choose to see the best. See what could be instead of what is lacking.

Love instead of hate.

Be alive!

You will get there someday.

Photo credit: derekskey / Foter / CC BY

Unshaken Love

There are some types of love that you just don’t mess with.

When I was ready to date during college (at a small Christian university), I was met with disappointment. Every boy I was interested in seemed only to be looking for a wife. I just wanted to date. I discovered that I am not preacher’s wife material, as they made obvious when I showed any sign of interest in them.

At the time, I was hurt by this. They were telling me that I wasn’t good enough for them. I thought we were on the same playing field. Instead, I was on the bench feeling lonely and left out.

I was always magnetized to the guy who was already magnetized to his future preacher’s wife. And she was nothing like me.

In one instance, I had a crush on this genuinely good guy. One day in the cafeteria, I was sitting with a group that included him and his girlfriend. I watched the way they interacted and how they looked at each other. I could feel the electricity between them. It was not shallow, lustful electricity, but something true and strong (albeit subtle).

Later, I told my roommate that I knew they were going to get married. She said, “You don’t know that.” But I insisted that I did and that if she would just wait, she would see that I was right.

They are married today. *Insert smug grin.*

Anyway, my point of that story is that I saw and felt their love. This was the type of love that you don’t mess with. Even if you tried, you couldn’t easily break their bond. He had chosen his lady and even then, I knew she was the right one for him. I stepped down and distanced myself from my feelings until they withered away. My feelings for him were so shallow in comparison to hers.

It was a foreshadow. Just like an author drops hints to what is coming, God was nudging me. At the time, it didn’t feel like a nudge. It really felt like a kick in the gut.

Yet another foreshadow was when two friends of mine married. I watched them grow from friends to newlyweds. At the start of their relationship, they loudly denied that they were dating before finally and slowly reaching a point where they could deny no more.

I had never shed a tear at a wedding until theirs. In fact, I always thought it was ridiculous when I heard sniffles from other wedding guests. But when the bride came into the church, I was overcome with emotion. Truly, this was a match made by God. I knew it because I had seen it grow. They were made for each other. Their relationship planted a seed of hope in me that I’ve only just begun to recognize.

My husband and I started as friends, but it was not until we were alone together that we saw the potential that hadn’t come to the surface before. More than common interests, we have similar worldviews.

It was uncanny how his comments would echo my exact thoughts. It was like realizing you’re lost at the same time someone finds you. I didn’t know how much I longed to be understood like that. Perhaps this is what my friends above went through before they tied the knot. Perhaps they had shown me the possibility.

As our relationship grew into something more, we reached a point where we could no longer deny it either. We were in love. By accident really. And so here we are today: married and grateful to have found each other.

All along, those stings of love and the relationships around me were not God’s cruel trick on an aching heart. They were hints of what was to come. I just misread His intentions.

I wonder how often I do that with other elements of my life. When I spit complaints and anger at God, He could be in the process of doing something to make my future life that much better. How dare I think otherwise.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)