A letter

When spring feels like winter.

In Entering Spring on May 19, 2017 at 11:54 pm

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Friend! Spring is finally here, and unfortunately, I’m not referring to the weather. It’s still quite cold. I guess May didn’t get the memo regarding spring. So, while I’m layered in a sweater and coat, breathing in the almost frigid air, we are stepping into the warmth of the sun after what seemed like an unending season of darkness and pain.

Thank God I didn’t know long it was going to last. I probably wouldn’t be sitting here writing you. I would have quit. I would have gone back to our old life. I would have gone for something simpler. I would have opted for something free of pain, struggle, heartache, and agony of soul. I would have picked paved. I would have picked safe. But, I would have died there— craving this adventure my heart was designed for. I’m glad I didn’t know. But mainly, I’m glad I didn’t quit. 

This past season striped us. It’s stripped me. I told Marge the other day that there have been many seasons where I could have sucked it up and put my best foot forward, so-to-speak. I’m not sure I even have a best foot anymore. I feel so bare. But, In a strange way, in my bare-ness, I feel so free. If only I could learn this kind of surrender more easily. I think it’s what His goal is with me—surrender—but I fight it so often. I strive to keep it all together. I strive to show my strength and put-together-ness, when He’s just waiting for me to let go. 

So, here I am, in May entering spring. Eh-hem, in spring, I should say. It’s all around me. You would think after such a long winter season I would run into spring with abandon. But I’ve found myself reaching for a winter coat most days, preparing for the elements. It’s like a knee-jerk reaction. Bracing myself for pain, when the path is clear. It’s like carrying an umbrella when the forecast says sunny.

I remember—you remember, the times I thought “easy” was just around the corner, but never came. The times friendships seemed to be blooming only to mirage away. So now, things are easier, but I don’t always live easy. I find myself looking around the corner in defense of whatever might be hiding. David shared last week that the initial bud doesn’t look like the fruit, and if you don’t have eyes to see it you can miss it. I think we feel like we have PTSD after this last season. I guess that’s the going-for-the-coat thing I was trying to describe. But, the truth is, spring IS here. And, I will not miss it!

We bought these little flower and leaf decals this week to remind us! We put one right on the light switch by the door, so we see it many times a day. Winter may have been long, but the trees are heavy with buds. It says it so perfectly in Isaiah, “See, I’m doing a new thing! Now it springs up, do you not perceive it?” That means there is the possibility of not seeing it. We might be PTSD-ing, even though it’s in front of us. So, friend, buy some flowers, open a window, put something on your mirror, do what ever you have to do to remember: it’s spring.

Love,

Bep

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Thirty-three

In Bloomfield on December 31, 2016 at 7:58 pm

  

Tomorrow I’ll be another year older. Three-hundred and sixty-five days will have passed, and I will get to start again. Sigh. 

I would be lying if I said the past year was easy. If I said it was free from heartbreak. If I said it was free of disappointments, loneliness, anger, and struggle. There were more days than I can count where all I wanted to do was hide and come out again when it was easier—when the road was less rocky. I feel emotional ending this way. I feel fragile looking back.

But, I’d also be lying If I said there were no joys. If there weren’t victories. If there weren’t graces that kissed us. If there weren’t hands that sustained us. If there weren’t three little people that gifted us with uproarious laughter and delight. If there weren’t milestones to be celebrated—mountains we have climbed. If God didn’t give us His gold in Goldie. If there weren’t wildflowers all along the way.

Pain makes beauty more beautiful. It’s the contrast that highlights. It makes me appreciate the treasures, and savor the richness in life. And, it’s in my broken and fragile state where I find myself really leaning on Him. Not able to contribute a thing to His many graces. Not bringing my own mercies to the morning.

Sometimes life is a fight, and the fight is what’s beautiful. It’s beautiful because it’s real. It’s beautiful because it’s not easy. It’s beautiful because it takes courage. It’s beautiful because it’s what we’ve been given. Not something perfect, or flawless, or easy, but something rugged and dangerous and defying. And it’s in this nitty gritty that it’s most beautiful.

If you want to know where to find me this year, it will be here: back up, stabbing at dreams, peeking around corners, daring to fly, out on a limb, standing at the edge of cliffs. And, I’ll be soaring, because there is always a brighter day. And He who holds the future writes a good story with our lives. And one thing I know for sure is that he’s not done writing yet.

The best days are always ahead!

Love, 

Bep

 
  
David gave me this necklace on our anniversary this year. It’s a stirrup. It’s been years since I’ve ridden. Sometimes dreams feel like lifetimes ago. They feel out of reach. This was our reminder to keep dreaming. A symbol of the “better” still ahead. Both old and new. 

When living takes courage.

In Bloomfield on July 29, 2016 at 11:48 am


Certainly odd for me, but I just finished reading my second book on death. I sat alone in a quiet, sleeping house sobbing, barely able to read the last chapter. His (the author’s) story hit me at the core of my being. Maybe because my mom has had two brain surgeries this year. Maybe because we just had a baby, and I can’t imagine a goodbye like that. Maybe because the author that passed was only a year older than David. Maybe because we’ve said two painful goodbyes this year already. Or maybe because life is fragile, laced with unbelievable joys and aching tragedy. But maybe mostly because life is a gift, and I want to keep seeing it that way.

It is easy to forget that life is a gift, especially when it’s hard. I’ve wanted to hide from life many days this year. I hate to even admit it, but it’s true. The urge to crawl back under the sheets has been all to frequent. Life has been hard. I’ve felt so bare. We’ve had conversations, asked the difficult questions, reminded ourselves of God’s goodness and cried bottles full of tears—mainly mine. We’ve thought about giving up on dreams and leaving the mountain climb for something easier. As tears continued to fall the other night, I think what gripped my heart the most was realizing not my fear of death, but my fear of life.

In difficult times it’s not the uncertainty of life that makes it hard to keep going, but its seeming certainty. In the face of hardship, it’s the living of life I fear. I fear that there are too many hard days still in front of me. Grappling with death these past few months, as strange as it may seem, has been freeing. The worry about getting through tomorrow is suddenly relieved when I realize all I’ve been given is today. In facing death or life, I’ve only been given today.

There is a peace in surrendering to life as it is today, even through pain. In beauty or mess, in plenty or lack, in joy or pain, the only thing that is certain is today. I think God told us not to worry about tomorrow to protect our heart in times of trouble—to not worry about bearing the weight we feel today, tomorrow. There are no guarantees. Tomorrows aren’t given to us today.

This man’s courage to live while dying challenged me.  It challenged me to live my todays more fully—more yielded and present. It’s challenged me to soak up baby kisses, savor late-night chats with my hubby after long workdays, and to have too many scoops of ice cream. It’s also given me courage to face challenging days, knowing I only have to tackle today for now. This man’s courage also reminded me of another Man we know, who courageously faced death so we could have a better tomorrow. And, it’s because of Him that we do not have to walk alone.

Love,

Bep


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