A letter

Posts Tagged ‘Faithfulness’

The Getting back up: Staying the course.

In New York Summer on July 29, 2015 at 4:24 pm

I seem to be circling the mountain of a wintery soul, and I am SO ready for spring. It’s odd to be in the blazes of summer and be struggling with a wintery soul. It’s also odd to experience a winter season that has lasted so long. We’ve never known a winter to last forever, but still have no immediate promise of its end. I keep telling myself that our spring MUST be around the corner. Winters don’t last forever, they just don’t. This is yet another week where leaning has been my habit–a tired, full-body-lean in to the person of Jesus who is our Rock. Thank God for Jesus.

I have been thinking a lot about endurance this week. People throw that word around a lot, right?  But what does “running the race with endurance” even mean? Is it the ability to last long? Does endurance mean running well? Does it require beating everyone else? Does it mean I feel like a champion at all times? Does it mean that I feel like running? Does it mean that I run with full speed at all times? What is this endurance I’m supposed to run with? I decided to look it up and was surprised that it was far different than what I imagined:

Steadfastness, constancy, patient continuance, a patient enduring, steadfast waiting for

It also said it is the characteristic of a man unswerved from his deliberate purpose and loyalty to faith and piety by even the greatest trials and sufferings. If all that is true, It’s staying the course that counts. It’s the continuing that counts. It’s the patient waiting that counts. It’s not how many times I’ve fallen, but that I get back up again and again and keep going.

Most days my run is very slow. It’s often a slow methodical walk. Some days it’s standing still and simply not exiting the track. And, if I’m really honest, some days it’s sitting down in the track through tears until I have the strength to rise again. Thankfully it didn’t say anything about being a super hero to fit the bill of endurance. It just said to keep going!

Cheering you on, friend,

Bep


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Doing the hard work of–work. Baby steps.

In New York Summer on June 12, 2015 at 7:27 pm

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I woke up yesterday with housework staring me straight in the eyes. I decided it was a stare-down I wasn’t going to lose. I swear half the household items snuck out of their places and scattered themselves throughout the house while we slept. I still don’t understand how a house that was clean days ago can suddenly be a clutter. My finish-by-lunch-goal was a complete failure. You can only push lunch so far into the day and it becomes dinner. At 2:30, nowhere near being finished, we ate lunch anyhow. I know you didn’t believe me before, but you probably do now–my house really was that dirty. See, I am growing in mess.

My hardest chore yesterday was getting the boys to do chores. Lord, help us! As we both know, it’s so much easier to just do it yourself. However, if we want boys that have work ethic–if we want them to be men that conquer mountains–they’ll only learn to work hard by–working hard.  Thus chore training, and many conversations on what it costs to buy something you want: bucks.

Speaking of things wanted, Leon has decided he would like a pair of Air Jordans.  In pursuit of this desire, we had a business meeting earlier today to talk about their summer lemonade stand. We’re hoping this equation is a success. I’ll keep you posted. “Two bucks for one cup and three bucks for two cups.” He’s got it all figured out. He also wants people to be able to buy a toy for only a quarter more. He said he wants to be generous. I’ve been trying to explain to him the importance of “profit” while still encouraging generosity. As you can see we’ve got a ways to go, but we are at least on the journey.

I’m journeying in my own life as well.  If I want abs, I’ve got to do the sit-ups.  If I want a clean house, I’ve got to pick up a rag. If I want a smokin’ hot marriage, I best be tending the fire.  We all want the goods, right?  We want obedient children, but don’t want to discipline or instruct. We want great relationships, but don’t pick up the phone or invest the time. Leon frequently quotes “Do not fear the man who practices 1,000 punches in one day, fear the man who practices one punch for 1,000 days.” Bruce Lee is on to something, something real good. The little things equal the big things. I will not be the sloth who refuses to roast his prey. I’m going to do the work. And, I’ll start with what’s in my hand, for it’s the diligent hand that will rule.

So, how about it, want to baby step with me this weekend? I’m starting with sweets. Not eating them that is! How about you?

Bep

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Proverbs 12

Earthly scars. This side of heaven.

In Spring in New York on June 5, 2015 at 1:31 pm

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I’m thankful it’s this week. I’m thankful my Mama is here and that last week is over. I’m thankful–the spilling and brimming kind of thankful. I’m not sure any of us were prepared for last week. I thought I was, but I was proven wrong.

It’s not that we haven’t had to trust before. You know we have. This side of heaven we have faced the possibility of loss before, several times. This time felt different.  Maybe it’s that I’m more adult now. Maybe it’s because we had a few weeks to think about it. Maybe it’s because we knew too much about the surgery and what she was going to endure. Maybe it was because it is my own mother. Maybe it’s because moms aren’t supposed to suffer. Maybe it’s because I wanted to remove her from the experience altogether. Maybe it’s because I didn’t want her to have this scar. Maybe it’s because I wasn’t prepared to imagine life without her. I guess that’s not a maybe.

I realized, tears pouring last Tuesday, that I wasn’t actually fearful. I felt peace. Yet, through peace, I knew there was one outcome I didn’t want to face, even if He was with us. I was trusting. My raw emotions weren’t the absence of trust but the reality of my human heart. I know God holds us. I know He was holding her tenderly through the whole process. He was holding us each so tenderly. I know He knows the times and seasons. I also knew there were no guarantees other than His goodness. I’ve known His sustaining grace in so many paths. I was just not ready to walk that path. Seeing her face across the screen just wasn’t enough. I wanted to touch her and squeeze her so tight. We both sat the night before, with dad, tears streaming, trusting Him with the gifts most precious this side of heaven, each other. This loan of life we live on earth, isn’t what we are ultimately made for. But it is what we are living now. And though one day it will seem short, our earthly days are real. Though one day we’ll feel no pain, we experience both pain and joy in the most tangible ways right now.

That our hearts were made to love this deeply is amazing. And to think that we are only tasting a touch of its wonder, halting. The beauty of loving even through tears, is a gift. And His heart for us so much more than we could ever imagine. Eternity will be incredible, but earth a gift. In the deepest sense, I’m cherishing these earthly gifts.

Brimming in multiple ways.

Bep

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Visiting the past.

In Spring in New York on June 1, 2015 at 10:23 pm

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We just drove past a huge COOK OUT billboard and instantly we were taken back to Bonte’ and Lee’s front porch.  Hickory, how we loved you and the life we shared in that season. David can still remember the feeling of the wood on his bare feet, and I can feel the heavy moisture clinging for dear life. Those were the days. It’s been eighteen days shy of a year since I’ve seen Bonte’. I’m not even sure how that happened. Well, actually I do. My heart might burst seeing them tomorrow, and we get to meet Ms. Margot James Watson for the very first time. We might just eat her.

Driving those roads again, the ones we drove so many times before, is strange. It’s an achy, happy feeling. Our life in Virginia and law school seems so distant, though some of its memories still feel near. As you well remember, those years for us were laced with hardship and surprises, with loneliness and life-long friends, with beauty and pain.

Familiar places are good for our souls. They remind us of things forgotten, and give a peace to our hearts that few things can. I was realizing during our drive that the best thing they do though, is remind us of where we’ve come from. The good times in life then, were gifts hidden in a challenging season. I didn’t even want to go to Virginia. But, then in the end, though I was elated law school was complete, much of what Virginia held made it hard to leave. So much richness was waiting for us there. So many friendships that surprised me. So much growing we didn’t know we needed. So much steel being built in our bones.

Revisiting this chapter, put wind in my sails.  It reminded of the goodness that waits for me in this season, too. We can so easily forget the faithfulness that carried us to now.  Right?  We might not be able to see all the goodness just yet, but we’ll for sure look back and see it.

I know we are both good at reminiscing for the sake of nostalgia, but I think we need to revisit the past from time to time in a different way. Not because it’s always pleasant, not because it’s entirely good, not because it was perfect or pain free, or that we did it all right. We need to look back and see the faithfulness. We’ve made it a long ways. We’ve gained strength, we’ve grown, we’ve loved more, we’ve grieved, we’ve rejoiced, we’ve conquered mountains, we’ve aged and grown in wisdom, and though we have some scars, they even prove that we have healed.

I guess this might be the very reason they built altars of remembrance with stones. So they didn’t forget the goodness.

What do you remember?

Bep

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