The Other Side

download (1)As I sit here writing this blog I am looking across the room at my daughter who is on her computer catching up with friends.  She’s not supposed to be here – she’s supposed to be in the bush in Kenya on a homestay with a Maasai family practicing her Swahili, eating lots of ugali and drinking Chai, and visiting each night with other members of the community around a campfire.  But she’s not.

Like the rest of us her life has come to an almost screeching halt in the the past week.  I was talking with a friend last night who said that she was grieving and wondering if life will ever look like it did just a week ago. I really related to what she was saying.  I don’t think I am allowing myself to live in a lot of fear from this pandemic, though there are definitely times when I lose myself to panic for a few moments – particularly about my children.  But I am grieving – for my daughter, whose experience was cut short, for all the seniors whose years are coming to an abrupt and unmarked end, for the small business owners whose hard work is spiraling down quickly, and for a future that I know will be changed from what I had envisioned.  I don’t think there are many of us that will come to the other end of this unmarked.

I was having another conversation with a friend about the idea of God redeeming all things.  While we are in the middle of a situation we can admit that it is hard to see how God is going to make beauty from things that, in the moment, feel like destruction.  And let’s just be honest – sometimes it’s not that things just feel hard or destructive, but it’s that they are.  Sometimes we have situations happen where even when we are days, months, or years away from them we still cannot see the good.  We have trouble believing that he really does work all things out for the good good of those who love him and have been called according to his purpose, or that he will redeem.  Notice I didn’t say we struggle to believe he can redeem, but rather will he?

I want to believe that redemption means the pain is gone.  I want to believe that it means the situation fixes itself, or something bigger, better, more beautiful comes along in place of what was lost.  I don’t want to believe and live in the truth of being a Christian – that we are called to walk with him in his sufferings.  Sometimes it seems too much to ask us to believe that scars that can be so terribly ugly can be breathtakingly beautiful at the same time.

As I worked through some very real issues in my own past that turned from bleeding wounds into thick scars on my heart I have understood a little better what it means to have God work things out.  I can see a purpose in spite of the pain for most things.  It doesn’t mean that I would choose it again – I am not sadistic.  But I can see his fingerprints on the healing nonetheless.  He doesn’t have to show me anything – any peek into what he is doing is a gift of grace.  So in those places where I still can’t see even a glimmer of beauty I sit and wait.  I may never see it on this earth – I understand this now, even if it does frustrate me.  Redemption will only be whole and perfect in heaven, but sometimes he allows us glimpses of it here.  There will come a day when he makes all things beautiful and right again.  His way, his time.

And that has to be enough. Because it really is more than enough.

So I grieve now, being older and experienced enough to know that no, I will never be the same after this.  The world will not be the same.  We will all carry scars of grief and loss – some much more so than others.  When I came back to the States after our evacuation from South Sudan I didn’t fit anywhere.  I couldn’t fall back into patterns of who I was before I left.  I had to grieve the loss of the comfortable old me and start to be ok with the new scars and bruises that I might never have an answer for.  I wrote then about this concept then, quoting a passage from The Hobbit.  Gandalf is telling Bilbo that he should go on this incredible adventure. Bilbo, being the cautious hobbit that he is says, ” Can you promise I will come back?”  Gandalf responds in his usual honest way by saying, “No.  And if you do, you will not be the same.”

We will not be the same after this – but somehow there is beauty and hope in that.  I still believe that he will take these wounds and heal them, but even if we cannot see it, we can stand in the truth that we have been shaped to be more like him.  Crucifixion hurts.  The fire burns as it shapes the iron.  Dying to oneself is never uneventful or painless.  However, he will shape us to be able to better show him to this world because we have walked in his sufferings with him and know him even more intimately than before.  Our scars from this time or any other area in our lives where we have known pain are real and permanent while we are in these bodies.  But it is about his glory more than our comfort, and  I think he is calling us to remember that again.   When we reach the other side we will be able to say that we have sat with him in a depth of darkness that we had not yet experienced, and we are better for it. Because of that I do not mourn like those who have no hope.

So I leave us with this, because truth is truth no matter how we feel, and praise and thanksgiving are powerful weapons.  “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God and the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:6-7) (emphasis added by me.)

 

Ramblings of an ADHD Girl Doing C25K

(WARNING – this is NOT a serious blog like I usually do.  Please take it with a good dose of humor.)  😉

 

Getting dressed to go run:

“I don’t understand sports bras.  How do you get into these things?”  Getting frustrated, pulling it off and googling how to run as a big girl.   Wishing I was a guy while I ran so I didn’t have to worry about it. Feeling smug when I research and see people say to just wear two normal ones. Forgetting that meant I sweat through two bras instead of one and just made twice the laundry for myself.

Finally out the door.  Turn on spotify and the 5k app.  DING “Start your five minute walk to warm up.”  Cool, I got this.  I start walking quickly to the beat.  I feel like dancing down the street

Wait. When did these mountains grow here?!  Huff, puff, pant…  This is not a good sign of things to come.

DING “Start running.”  Here we go!  OK, I got this,  I can do this.  Oh snap – there’s construction workers up ahead and I should not be wearing these leggings in public.  My options are ignore the construction workers and run by like I own the place or choose the side road that is an uphill battle.  My pride wins and I turn to run my first leg of the journey up Mount Everest.

DING  Yay!  Walk for a minute and a half.  OH!  Who knew they put the Olivia Newton John song, “Magic” to a techno beat.  Also, how old am I that I know ONJ?

DING Run the second round.  Think, “I’m killing this!”

DING Walk it off, become aware that there are a lot of teenagers out walking around.  Shouldn’t they be in school??  Get extra self conscious.  Avoid eye contact.  Go into my own teenage mind set as I am sure everyone is looking at me and laughing.

DING  Can’t. Do. This.  pant, pant, die…

DING Hallelujah.  I love walking. Walking’s my favorite.

DING What was I thinking?  Fight back tears.  I am worthless, I am too fat, I am not a runner, this will never happen.  Suddenly as if reading my irrational thoughts my app pipes up, “You’ve got this!  You are worth it!”  What???  Creepy… but, thanks!

DING!

DING!  New song comes on. “Girl. look at that body.  I work out.”  Yeah I do!  Then the part of the song comes on that says, “Wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, wiggle, wiggle” and I know there is more than a little truth to that phrase.  So much wiggling and jiggling.   It makes me laugh out loud maniacally.  I might be a bit delirious.

DING

DING  (Temporarily blacks out from lack of oxygen.  Not really.  But I have no memory of these moments.)

DING I start singing Flo Rida out loud as he comes on my spotify running list.  This is helping me breath better!  Yay! But I have headphones in, so I am aware it can’t be a pretty sight or sound for anyone looking at me.  I don’t care. I’m breathing again.

DING  I think that girl walking on the opposite side of the street is lapping me.  Is she laughing at me?  Just give it 20 years, sweetie!

DING Wait – I almost feel normal.  This must be what I’ve always heard of – the elusive “Second wind.”  I could do this foreverrrrrr.

DING  Never mind.  How can one minute be so long?

After many more DINGS and cycles of emotions my app pipes up with, “Good job!  Walk and stretch it out!”

I get back to my house, sit on my porch depleted of energy but feeling strong.  I stretch and feel relief that tomorrow is an off day.  48 hours of no-running bliss!  I don’t know that I will ever like running, but I like who I am when I do the hard thing.

Wanna join me in my run in June?