18,250 Days and Counting

 

IMG_1625

18,250 days. That’s a lot of days and that is the number of days that I have been alive. The truth is that not one of these days has been lived without someone by my side, be it for a minute or longer, someone taking the time, investing in me, through raising me, welcoming me into their home, loving me by teaching, listening to, laughing and crying with and encouraging me – just spending time with me for a short or long while, it was still time. No matter for how long or short the time was, it was invested and part of the 18,250 days that in total make up the 50 years of life that I celebrate today.

It feels weird, to say 50. That’s like the age your parents and their friends turn. I’m not sure how I feel about it actually; part of me doesn’t feel 50 at all because I am not really sure what 50 is suppose to feel like or if there is even really an exact feeling that comes with being 50. Yet, there are lots of thoughts that I am having lately with this coming to 50, this entering into the half waypoint of a century.

I wonder if the empty nest that is coming will really feel empty or just different and if I will figure out ways to fill it creatively and reconnect to things I once did but packaged away carefully, knowing I would get to unwrap them again down the road if I choose to. I wonder if this latter part of my journey will be softer on my heart then the first part or if the experiences and chapters that are still to be lived out, will be equally as breath taking and heart wrenching as those behind me. I am pretty sure they will be colourful, rich with understanding and full of more lessons that will enable me to work on and practice patience and putting others before myself, listening more, I mean really listening. I want to be kinder, because there were lots of days in these 18,250 that I was not kind; days where I was selfish, disrespectful and uncaring, not at all the person I was created to be. I hope that in the days to come, I will wait for what’s next, and enjoy the wait, trust the wait, trust that whatever comes, will be for Gods glory and therefore can only be for my good.

I hope I will take all that I have learned and not turn from it but instead sit and soak it all up, remember it all, every little bit. The lessons about love and hate and how both can ruin and wreck you in completely opposite ways and how I have experienced both ways and my hope is that in going forward I will choose the first over the latter always, but know in all honesty I may not.

I wonder what’s next, how my body will change and lets face it, will there be lots of sagging or just in a few places? Lots of gray hairs or very few, and there’s the other stuff, the stuff you don’t talk out loud about because it scares you and sometimes embarrasses you. Except with your people, this is the stuff you talk about with them and that’s quite frankly the way it should be, everyone who’s aging needs people, and here’s the thing….we are ALL aging, so we ALL need our people. 

WE. ALL. NEED. OUR. PEOPLE. I know that I can’t nor do I want to, live my days without sharing them with someone else.

18,250 days and counting, that’s what this day is; another day to be thankful for, a day to reflect and be thankful for all of those that took the time; from the beginning to right now. Those that have taken the time to love me, to encourage and inspire me, to do whatever it was that they did in order that the days would keep adding up.

Here’s to the “and counting” to what’s to come and who’s to come because this is the big gift I have been given this year; the gift of awareness, that my life, our lives are not ever lived solo, never something we do on our own. Our days are indeed numbered and if there is one thing I know for certain, this me that’s turning 50, is so thankful for her people, all 18,250 days worth of people who took the time and spent some of their days with me.

Truly, you all have given me the best gift ever.

Advertisements

A new season. What are you wearing?

IMG_1626

About two months ago it became very apparent to me that we were entering a new season, a season that would be very different from the other seasons we as a family had traveled through. Keaton was finishing her final year of high school, graduating and then leaving for six weeks on a mission trip into some hard and dark places. Kohl was finishing up her sophomore year at college, planning on renting a place off campus for next year, becoming even more independent than she already is and Glenn and I were trying to get our heads wrapped around the idea that we are not staying here in California but moving to the wild west of Texas. Change, for all of us and each of us and I wondered how we would handle it all.

As a mom I don’t just deal with my change and what it does for me but I take on everyone’s change, think on it (possibly a bit too much) wonder about it, worry about it and often grow anxious about whether or not we are making the right decisions regarding the changes ahead. Should we be making these changes at all?

I’m not afraid of change; in fact I love a good change. I am that gal that moves furniture around and changes pictures on the wall and even the paint colour pretty frequently. I’m also that gal that has moved several times in the last 8 years, so I have been pretty surprised by the way the changes ahead are making me feel, the uncertainty of what I should do next. I find myself looking back at the seasons that have passed, some of which were long and hard – much like a Canadian winter and wondering if it will EVER end, and then it does and spring comes. And so here we are, entering into the new season and I am wondering what it will look like and how we will navigate it?

Each season we enter has its certainties along with the unknowns and unexpected. There are moments of blessings and heartaches and surprises and much of it we have control over but some of it, lets face it, we just don’t. Some stuff just happens and we have to deal. I have come to the conclusion that this upcoming season, the season of change as I am calling it, is really about what I choose to wear that will help me navigate the road ahead.

His faithful promises are your armor and protection

I’ve been camping in Psalm 91 for the last couple of months, reading and rereading what the psalmist says about Gods protection, reminding me that God doesn’t promise a world without danger, disappointment or change but He does promise me protection during all of that. It’s my choice however whether I choose to put on that protection, the armor he provides.

The choices are pretty simple really; I can choose worry and anger and resentment. These are often like an old sweatshirt, you know the one, it’s way too big for you, looks sloppy and gross on, has holes and stains and just doesn’t do much for your overall appearance at all. In fact you barely wear it out of the house but when you do you hope no one you know will see you and then, someone always does. It’s comfortable, easy to wear and you’ve worn it so often it’s familiar. So there’s that, wearing the woe is me why is it us and not them, or why them and not us? The how are we going to afford all of this, why are we here again, having to make all of these big decisions, why does everything have to be so hard? Big worries that we have had over and over again, season after season. We say we don’t want to react this way but for some crazy reason we do and sometimes we wear it loud and clear for everyone within ear or eye shot to experience. This season the Steed’s will be wearing …. Doubt, Despair and Dissatisfaction.

He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I am trusting him.”

This verse comes before the verse reminding me about God’s promises being my armor and protection, first the psalmist tells me that God alone is my refuge, my place of safety. He is all mine and I can trust him. The psalmist goes on to say how God will rescue me and He will protect me, shelter me and shield me. Basically He’s got me. Again, I have the choice whether or not I wear this armor, these promises He gives.

Shelter, protection, refuge, these things sound way more comfortable to me than those other “things” I could choose to wear. Although I will admit they may not be as familiar to me as the old “go tos”, and no where does he say things will be easy and safe and familiar, comfortable or even practical, in fact He often says that things will be hard, unsafe, dangerous even disastrous but regardless of how tough it is, how ugly is seems, or unfair, frightening and uncomfortable, He alone will be my refuge, my strength, my shelter. It may not look like I think it should but it will wear far better than any other thing I choose to put on.

The psalmist reminds us that God says, “I will”, not I may or might but WILL.

I will:

Rescue those that love me

Protect those who trust in my name

Answer those who call on my name

Be with them in trouble

Rescue them

Honor them

Satisfy them

Give them my salvation

God wants to do all of that for us if we choose to let him, if we choose to take him at his word, believe that He is, who he says he is and will do what he says he will do. This season of change I can choose to wear the three D’s or I can choose to trust what God promises to do.

This season I choose truth.

She did it!

IMG_1178

Wow, it has been a while since I have sat this fanny down to catch you up on what’s up around here. I guess the reason it has been so long is because a lot has been going on! It seems like just yesterday it was Keaton’s first, last day of high school and we had these grand notions that we would photograph every last day of her final year of high school but we didn’t, in fact I think we made it to day three and then she wasn’t so thrilled about having a photo shoot each morning before heading out the door. So for those of you who need to see the pictures, the first last day EVER photo I lost but trust me she looked awesome and the most important photo, the graduation photo, the YES we (and I do mean we), did it photo is below and oh yeah, there is the green alien photo because well, I lost the first day of the last first day of high school EVER photo and really,how often does your 18 year old dress up like an alien and agree to have her picture taken?

So yup, she did it, we did it, we got through high school and for those of you who think this sort of thing is a breeze, well how nice for you, I’m glad for you, well sorta, but for us the breeze was more like a full on gale and the end was often never in sight. In fact there were days when the end didn’t look at all like we hoped it would, it was a long hard, wave after wave of a battle, that felt like it kept coming at us but mostly at Keaton who, I would like to remind you, doesn’t like school, hasn’t really since junior kindergarten (that’s 14 years of not liking school people). So to say there were no tears or loud “whoop whoops” as she walked on that stage and received her diploma is a down right lie, because I did cry and I did yell whoop whoop because it felt, in that moment, for me as a mom who watched her child work hard and long with every ounce of perseverance she had in her , it felt like we came up for air and the air was glorious and fresh and freedom was within our grasp. She did it, she worked harder than anyone I know, never giving up, staying the course and pushing forward and she made it across the finish line. She finished this chapter well and now is on to the next one.

IMG_1224

On June 10th she left for South East Asia as part of a 10-person team to bring music, art, and the love of Jesus to people in Cambodia, India and Bhutan. She is there for 6 weeks and although it is an amazing opportunity it will also be a time where she sees and experiences hard things. This next chapter is going to go deeper than the last, it’s the chapter that the chapter before has prepared her for and I am excited to see what beautiful things are discovered on this part of her journey. If you want to follow her, you can go to Kingdom Business and follow their blog at kbioneall.wordpress.com.  Thanks to all of you who are praying for her and the team while they are away.

IMG_1232

Kohl is here for the summer and I am thankful to have her home, seriously this business of college and growing up and having her own life really interferes with my mothering! It’s been great to spend the days with her, and although she has been busy helping people out with their little’s while she is back I still get to spend some good moments with her and that makes me thankful. She will be heading back to Nashville for her junior year at Libscomb University and before you know it she will be doing her thing, the thing for which she has studied four years for and coming and hanging out with us for the summer won’t be an option, so I am soaking this time up, realizing what a gift it is. We are eating well, because of course she hasn’t all year and listening to music and bonding over netflix, we are hanging out on the back porch, at the beach, the mall and going out for a coffee together. We are just enjoying each other, isn’t that what summer is all about hanging with the people you love?

We are taking the days slowly, one by one because things here are changing, some moving is on the horizon and although some of these are changes are unexpected, others are not, but change is still happening and so for now before it gets too crazy preparing for what’s to come we are just sitting back, being thankful, enjoying sweet friendships and trying not to be stressed or overwhelmed because really, what good does that do anyway? So stay tuned as I will try hard to be more consistent here, blogging about what’s next for us but for now I will leave you with the alien pose which really sums it up;  we are enjoying this place and this time recognizing that whatever tomorrow brings and wherever the Lord takes us, we will handle it, embrace it and remember this place and how it changed and shaped us in ways we were not expecting!

IMG_0052

Present

IMG_1409

I know it’s been a while … seriously there is stuff happening, I have a life it’s just making myself sit down lately and write about it seems harder than just going about living it. Nothing wrong with that, but did want to catch you all up on the things that have been happening here with the four of us and seeing as how I really didn’t get around to putting together one of those oh so lovely photo cards for this Christmas I am considering this post to be that, a Merry Christmas (late yes ) and Happy New Year, and because it is only day five of this year I’m not considering myself late on the Happy New Year comment.

The girls are great, Kohl is loving her second year in Nashville and Keaton is counting down the days until she can say she is no longer in High School. Glenn found a project to keep him busy and make our second annual Thanksgiving camping trip more “luxurious” for me by purchasing a Westfalia. For those of you who don’t know what that is, think 1960’s hippy surfer van that is a camper. The girls think we are crazy as we are affectionately referring to it as our Retirement Home.

Home seems to be the word that keeps popping up of late. Kohl shared with me this past holiday that for her Huntsville, Canada is home and she misses the friends and familiarity of there. Keaton tells me often that she isn’t sure of where home is, she doesn’t feel like she really has a home (her words people not mine). I don’t doubt all of that having to do with her moving from place to place from the age of 10 to well, now. And then there’s Glenn, when he calls from work and says guess what… that usually means something is up and something usually means a move. He still works for the Stewart Company but because he works closely with Toyota when they announced that their corporate headquarters will be moving to Texas that means the we Steeds will be moving to Texas as well. 2016 is the target for that so for now here we are, home in California.

So all and all things are good although conversations deep and not always without tears we can look back at this past year and say that God has been faithful and good and full of wonderful surprises and blessings. We went camping in Yosemite this past summer and that had us reminiscing about…you guessed it, home, yes our Canadian home. It is never a bad thing to remember where you are from, what you loved about being there and what that place and the people in that place taught you. Not only did Kohl and Keaton do a fair bit of their growing up in Huntsville, Glenn and I did too. Yosemite with it’s big open skies and larger than life trees reminded us of how God has always provided for us, not just the big deal things, like a roof over our heads, jobs and healthy kiddos but how he has provided just the right timing in those just right places. We were reminded under those starry big skies of Yosemite, that looked just like those over Huntsville, how being with friends around the table, picnic or kitchen is one of Gods best gifts and that although the world is really big there are lots of places that can remind you of home and even become home if you’re willing to slow down and take a look around and most importantly risk opening your heart to the change that is on your doorstep. The truth is, we have been here now for two and half years and we have some history here, some moments that have been take your breath away beautiful, gut wrenching frightful and silly stink’n funny and with all of those moments, each and every one has made it feel a little more like home. Each and every moment here has reminded me that home is not necessarily a building or something you can hold in your hands or even capture in a photo (although I will keep trying and argue that I have caught glimpses) home is really about where you are and who you are with and the moments you are sharing, both good and hard, that build up a life and thus a home is created and felt deep within our soul.

Our moments from 2014 have been wonderful as well as hard, they have flown by and taken forever to pass. Some have been too good to put into words and others, the trust me you don’t even want to go there moments. But, they have all been our moments and we have lived them feet planted right here in the present of where we are. My word for the year of 2014 was Still… with the idea that I was going to take the days slowly to really pay attention to what God was doing in me and around me. I wanted to not rush ahead to the what ifs and if only’s but instead savor the moments laid out before me and take it all in and learn from each and every one of them. So here I am at the end of the year…. and the word that seems to be on the tip of my tongue for 2015, present. Not the kind that comes with ribbons and bows the kind that comes with the slowing down and being still and not planning ahead and rushing into what will be but actually sitting still in the NOW of the moments given to me. It seems silly, didn’t I just do that? It also seems like I’m getting a second chance at something that maybe I didn’t really understand the first time around. OH, and don’t think for a moment that it doesn’t stop me in my tracks that this too, this word, means gift, an offering.

I will admit, I do have a tendency to plan ahead, to look to the what ifs and if onlys. I like to say it’s the planner in me but really the truth is, I often think that right here, right now isn’t enough, perhaps a little boring or even worse I’m doing it all wrong, I’ve really messed it up and so I need to just move from here to somewhere, anywhere else and I will do it much better there. It’s kind of like the grass is always greener over the fence scenario, only it isn’t. So, yes it seems silly and somewhat interesting to me that the word that would be on my heart and mind for this coming year is one that is oh so very similar to the word I had for last year wrapped in something even deeper. Apparently I’m a slow learner.

OR, perhaps because this last year was one of such surprise and so many beautiful unexpected moments (gifts in disguise maybe?) that when woven together all of those moments began to feel a bit familiar, a bit like home and maybe I am being reminded not to take that gift too lightly. That perhaps I need to keep carrying on with that which I am just learning how to do…. be still, be present and notice all the great things, the offerings that are right here in front of and around me. Perhaps I am suppose to realize that we, Glenn and I are doing okay, exactly what is needed for now and that the girls are going to be okay and that although there will be surprises, because there always are, it’s all going to be just fine, maybe even great here and eventually there.

2014 was good, so full, so crazy, messed up in some places, really messed up. But here’s the thing in all of that, all of the messed up crazy I don’t understand how or why this is happening moments, God was there, no more or less than when all the good amazing star gazing, sitting at the table sharing a meal with friends that now are like family moments. He was there, the same, every. single. minute. He was and is present. He had our backs.

2015 will be another year of surprises, of crazy, amazing wonderful things and there will probably be some messed up unexpected heart wrenching things. But here we are, home for now, present and thankful.

Happy New Year from our home to yours.

IMG_0155

Summer lessons

 

IMG_1110

I’ve been quiet for a while. My only excuse is that it has been summer and with summer comes lots of lazy, crazy away from the computer days. This summer was all of that and to quote my 17 year old “this was the longest summer I have ever had.” And that people is said not in the complaining whining way you might think but instead, in the coolest, so very thankful of ways.

Past summers have flown by, all too quickly we are back to school shopping, planning fall meals and belly aching about the things on the “to do” list that didn’t get done! Not this year, nope this year was LONG and LAZY and WONDERFUL. Well except for the not so long, not so lazy and the less than wonderful days but I’ll keep those for another post.

This summer taught me stuff and reminded me of things that I have known for a while but forgot that I knew. So here you go, lessons from this summer.  I will try to put them all in a bullet form but you get the point sort of way:

  • Two years is how long it takes to feel like you are connected in a new place.
  • The social calendar of a 17 year old fills up quickly once that two-year mark is met.
  • Missing your oldest who is away doesn’t get easier the longer she is away.
  • Campfires are the best places to drink coffee and chill out with people that are cool.
  • Ice cream is better with friends.
  • Reading on the porch should be on everyone’s summer to do list.
  • Red wine in stainless steal camping wine glasses makes for great conversation.
  • Surprise phone calls with no purpose are the best.
  • They say there are bears in Yosemite but I’m not sure if I believe them.
  • You’re never to old to learn how to play the guitar.
  • When hard things happen it’s best to be in the company of those that can make you laugh and are okay if you cry instead.
  • Napping is good for the soul.
  • Toilet training is always more fun when it’s your friends child.
  • The best of friends are sometimes found in your forties.
  • Celebrating the birth of a long awaited for baby is simply THE BEST THING EVER!
  • Music makes the day brighter.
  • Being married is hard but so good.
  • Sometimes God places you where you are for such a time as this.
  • Everyone is growing up, me included.
  • No matter whether its mule hiney or bike hiney both are bad.
  • Practicing for the empty nester phase is fun.
  • God is still God and man, no matter who that man is, is still, just a man.
  • Laying on a bridge and star gazing with friends is the only way to star gaze.
  • We are blessed.

IMG_1171

So now it’s official, we are all back doing what we do the rest of the year but this year we are taking all the above into the year with us and that means we are walking rich in thankfulness. Knowing that in a few short months – okay, maybe not short but you get what I am trying to say, before we know it, summer will be back and things will have definitely changed but lots of things will still be the same the most important of those; We are blessed.

 

IMG_1124

My Battle Cry

All I know is this: I don’t know a thing.

It has become abundantly clear to me in the last several weeks, okay maybe months, that I am really just winging this parenting thing. Just when I think I’ve got it figured out it becomes abundantly clear that I really don’t. It’s like I’m on this high of: “woohoo look at this, I am rock’n this thing called motherhood”, and then I don’t see the big pile of teenager emotions, college age drama right in front of me and I fall flat on my face. Really, really HARD, and it hurts. This is usually about the time when like I said I think things are going okay, quite well in fact, like I am totally nailing it. You’d think I would have learned by now, not to think that because usually when I start thinking that, well that’s when things go wrong, really, really wrong or at least that’s how I picture them; the kids dropping out of high school/college, seeing no need to work right away, marrying too young, calling from a mountain top telling me they eloped and are moving to…. okay maybe I’m a bit dramatic, but you get the picture.

My battle scream is a loud “Help me Jesus and Help me now” no “please”, no “thank you” just a demand that He step in and set things straight because it is quite apparent I have no idea what I am doing. I have had moments like this before, outside of parenting; there was the blue house, the house on the hill and most notably China. All of these things were “things” that I entered into with the conqueror’s mind; you know the one, bring it on! This is easy, no worries! And my favourite, this is going to be an ADVENTURE and it will be great, yes GREAT! And it all is, for a while until reality sets in and I am exhausted and depleted of all my strength and realize that I can’t do this alone. My battle scream goes out and although I picture God shaking his head and rolling his eyes wondering what on earth took me so long and when exactly I am going to figure it out, this going to Him first, leaning on Him and not on my self. Lets face it; He, of all people should know I am a slow learner. All this said, He hears me, hears the scream.

I will admit that in all of these, lets call them “life’s little adventures” I have entered in with an outlook that is positive more so than maybe realistic. I have taken hold of that which has been given to me and said, “I can do this”! Enthusiastically, most of the time and I will admit that now. In hindsight, I can look back and say that in most of those situations that attitude got me through the rough spots kept me hanging on even if just barely, and now, in hindsight I can actually say that I liked the experiences, the time and maybe even me a little bit better than when I entered in to the adventure.

So what does this have to do with the winging it and parenting you ask? Well, parenting is in fact an adventure of sorts and if you know me at all and have read my other bits about life and how Glenn and I parent you might be thinking: Joy, there are no surprises here. And you would also be right to think that I shouldn’t be so worked up about this realization that has been slowly creeping its ugly head at me over these last few months. But here’s the thing: when I am looking at it from where I sit right now, this stage, it is harder than those other stages and I did okay with them. Letting them spread their wings (at least I think I did), but boy this stage, the letting go and releasing them to experience life on their own, making their own “terms” that may look somewhat like mine but could and probably will look a whole lot different. This stage, well lately I feel like I suck at it, and I don’t use that “s” word lightly and I guess that is what makes me feel like I am “winging” it.

My head is a mess really almost as much as my heart is mush. I want to see them take flight, to discover and explore and to be amazed at all that God is doing and has done. I want to watch them fly, soar actually, but then as quickly as that emotion takes hold so does the one that says I want them back. Close to me. Needing me, for the simplest of things that seem like the biggest of things. You know them too, the chew with your mouth closed please ‘cause that will really help you later on in life, and close the door behind you because we aren’t living in a barn conversations that often got the response “that would be so cool to live in a barn!” Oh and to have those simple demands of “can I have some fishy crackers and watch a video (yes a video) and the best “tell me about your day” conversations that went something like “ Emily and Paige didn’t want to play together so I had to decide who I wanted to play with so I played with Emily and Paige was mad at me for first recess but she liked me again at last recess”. Those were the days where I don’t remember feeling as though I was winging it, but hey I could be in denial.

Now they aren’t so much as asking about things, instead they are telling. And the stuff they are telling me is big stuff, big to them stuff, maybe not earth shattering life changing stuff in my mind, but it’s earth shattering big stuff in their minds and that they are telling me, well that’s important to me. It’s the kind of stuff that really they don’t want to know what I would do, they just want me to know what is going on. Don’t get me wrong, I like that we are talking and sharing, no I actually LOVE that they are talking and sharing, only this is where the head and the heart of mine mostly collide and get overwhelmed and wonder how on earth I am going to make it out alive from this place because here’s the thing: I don’t think I am a really good listener and I think, at least this is what my heart is telling me, they need me to be a good listener.

And this is where the winging it comes in, my battle scream is becoming my battle cry – it’s changing. Instead of demanding a miracle in them, a change in who they are or where they are or who they are spending time with. Instead of those demands I am crying out “help me listen more (and first) and talk less and only when necessary”.

I try to keep my mouth shut, and my ears open. I try to not allow my eyes to get bigger and bigger as details flow freely from their mouths and I want so badly to say things that would just well, they would just be bad and wrong and perhaps shut down the dialogue all together and that I don’t want.

So I spend my days praying, walking around praying. I am the walking around, multi tasking praying Mamma Warrior and I don’t feel like I am necessarily doing a great job of it, in fact I feel almost helpless in it, like I really don’t know a thing, but something tells me that is exactly where I need to be to get the job done.

I cannot do this alone. A battlefield does not have one warrior walking around defeating the enemy; I am no warrior at all without Christ by my side. Without Him I am a Mamma that is scared and alone, a Mamma that has bled her own well of strength dry and what happens then, the result of thinking I can do this without help well it’s just plain ugly and I miss out. I become so concerned with how well the wings fit that I may miss the flight taking place and the beauty that comes with letting go and releasing and I don’t want to miss their journey, the soaring, the beauty they make.

I am waking every morning amazed and thankful that I am able to do this again, try again to be the mother I want to be, the mother I was made to be. I am amazed and beyond thankful that they, my two sweet and beautiful girls who are becoming young women are still alive and wanting to talk with me and if I am blessed enough in the days ahead to share with them how we made it through. All I know is that I really don’t know a thing other than a battle cry that helped this mom ensure that not only their wings fit but that there was always a safe place to land.

Waiting

It’s been a while since I have been here – in the writing seat. I’ve been busy with stuff, mom stuff, friend stuff just “stuff”. Enjoying spring break, two separate weeks of spring break as having both girls have the same week would have been way too convenient. So spring break stretched out and so did I with the girls and Glenn, taking it slow and easy. That slow spring break pace always gets me excited for summer and the ease and relaxing that comes with it – the slow sweet pace of warm lazy days, with no where to be if we don’t want to be anywhere but here. I can’t wait for those days.

That’s what I find myself in the middle of lately – waiting, trying to understand it, sometimes waiting is good, sometimes it isn’t and other times it is just simply that, waiting without much attached to it. I know people right now who are eagerly waiting for their wedding day, I know those that are anxiously waiting for news that will allow them to get on with life and I have a good friend who is just waiting for news about her sister and a diagnosis that doesn’t look good no matter how long or short the wait, a wait that is completely out of her control. That’s what I find waiting is a lot of the time, hard and uncertain and something I feel like I have no control over, waiting for words and direction, understanding to help form and complete “what if” scenarios in my head. My waiting, at least right now is doable, there is nothing that is pending on my waiting, it really is just day-to-day waiting of simple day-to-day things. I don’t necessarily love waiting – I wonder if I will be in this “waiting room” indefinitely and what that time frame looks like and if so what does that mean exactly. But still my waiting, this waiting right now, I can do. I know the others though, those friends that are anxiously waiting, and while some of their waiting is easy, days full of reminders of Gods’ faithfulness and his truth, other days though have been longer, full of the waiting – those days where the clock doesn’t seem to move a minute and the hours weigh heavy and hard in your stomach.

My friend who is waiting to hear news of her sister and her diagnosis, her younger sister with younger children and husband, I am sure that every time the phone rings my friends’ mind and heart go to all the worst places and I wonder if she wishes the clock would just stop and the minutes would take forever, days to pass, that there would be more time. I bet she would tell me she could wait forever for her phone to ring for that news to not come.

“We can make our plans but God determines our steps”. Proverbs 16:9

This verse came to me this morning as I prayed. I am not sure what it has to do with waiting really but I am certain He, God is trying to tell and show me something and I am waiting to learn.

This is waiting that’s not easy but I know that I need to learn it. Wait on God Joy, there’s something good in that. Wait on God and could there be joy? When my waiting, waiting on my life to happen or not, when my waiting gets heavy; waiting for the answer, the call, waiting to understand, whatever it is that I am waiting for that’s when the waiting on God is a balm for the soul perhaps even nourishment. I am hungry for this, to understand this. I want to lean into this, to understand this kind of waiting. I want to soak my soul in this kind of waiting, in understanding what it means to wait on Him.

While I am sitting and ironically (or not) waiting for Keaton I read this paragraph in Emily Freeman’s book A Million Little Ways:

God does things differently. He said, Let there be light, but then he waited a full day before he spoke again. And on the last day, he rested. He built waiting into creation. From the incarnation to the resurrection, divine creativity begins and ends with waiting.”

I read this over and over again and something in me feels a little lighter, it’s like my heart has heard something it has been searching for, something it knows deeply but lost along the way. From the very beginning God knew this would be something we struggle with, I struggle with and so he built it into the days – a reminder that He knows what it is to be where I am, here in this waiting room. I mean lets face it who hasn’t been on edge, the very cusp of creativity, the making or putting something together that is just so incredibly beautiful and mind blowing and you know it is going to be amazing and you just keep at it, you don’t stop, you work for days, long days through nights even or at least till the wee hours of the night and your eyes can’t focus anymore even though your mind can’t stop. You have to make it happen, why wait? The idea may stop, the art, the beauty, the answer may vanish! Waiting is just not realistic – it doesn’t make sense, yet it does.

God was right there, in the thick of His creativity, of His creation and He stopped.

He waited.

He knew we would need to know that He knows what it is like to wait.

He wanted us to know that sometimes the waiting is good. Sometimes the waiting is needed. Sometimes it is in the waiting that you come back to Him.

My prayer of late has been that God would be with us in the waiting, because that is where it is hard – we know he hears us, we hope he sees us, we want to know that He is with us while we wait in what seems like more anxious waiting than eager waiting.

I think incredible things can and will happen here in the waiting. History proves that. There’s creation, and God said after he waited that He saw it was good – what he created was good and the waiting, that must have been good as well. Abraham and Sarah, they waited and then didn’t but God still did and didn’t forget them and blessed them with a son at just the time He said he would. Joseph waited in prison, trusting God while there and then waited to reveal who he was to his brothers and be reunited with his father. Ruth waited with her mother-in-law in a land she didn’t know with a people she wasn’t one of. Elizabeth and Zechariah waited for a child. Mary waited, 9 months she waited and gave birth to Jesus. Jesus waited. Over and over and over again He waited.

He waited for the blind to see, the deaf to hear and the sick to heal.

Jesus waited thirty years to begin what we call his earthly ministry. But really, wasn’t he always being God in the world, from his first breath to his last? He was crucified and waited till day three to resurrect. Don’t lose hope on day two.” Emily Freeman

Jesus waited. He is still waiting.

Don’t lose hope on day two. I have lots of day twos, day two where I lose hope, I throw in the towel, scream at the heavens and say that I am too tired, too old, too stupid, that I don’t want to wait for them to grow up, become more responsible clean their rooms without me asking. I don’t want to wait for what might be just around the corner. There are days where I say I just can’t do this anymore. No. More. Waiting.

Don’t lose hope, God sees it all and He knows because He too waits.

I am seeing waiting in a whole new light this morning as the sun rises. I am learning that waiting, this hard and heavy waiting does not take away the joy but if I allow it to, if I sit and quietly listen, if I wait on God the joy is not taken but woven deeply into my heart, nourishing my soul. In this, my waiting I am reminded that others wait too, wait on Him and God has heard our cries and will answer at just the right time. He is reminding me, He has done this, He knows this room in which I sit, this waiting room, and He wants me to know not to lose hope, waiting can be a holy thing.