Favorite Tree

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Have you every waited for a ginkgo tree to turn colors in the fall? It stays green as long as it wants, and then all at once, it turns bright yellow. Sitting under then feels like sitting under a canopy of tiny suns. And then, after all that waiting, after a few days, all of the leaves fall off. Usually, it happens in an unexpected Kentucky fall rain, and the next time you can visit your tree, it’s completely bare and the ground is covered in a blanket of brilliant yellow leaves.

I wait every year for this tree to turn, and this year is even harder because it’s my first year of not being on my old campus. But, Husband-Man works there, so he’s promised to watch my tree for me so I don’t miss the days of bright yellow leaves.

What do you wait for in fall?

This post is part of the 31 Days Writing Challenge, in which a group of writers post a piece every day for the month of October. If you’re interested in catching up on the rest of it, click here.  

 

Clock

Leaf-Day 8

Do you want to know a secret?

It’s not a happy one, I’m afraid. It’s not something that I tell many people.

I have trouble sleeping. And I know that everyone has trouble sleeping at some point in their lives, but I’ve had trouble sleeping for almost four years straight.

It all started when I was a senior in college. I was trying to figure out what I was going to do after I graduated. I was planning my wedding. And one night, I just couldn’t fall asleep. And the next night, I was scared that I wouldn’t fall asleep. So I didn’t. And it went on and on and on.

And at one point, at about two o’clock in the morning, after months of not getting good sleep, I thought about if it would be easier for me to die than to go through another night of sleeplessness. I thought about hurting myself for a brief second. And I got on Facebook, and saw that one of my dear friends was up as well. She lived in my dorm, and she came and sat with me when I asked her to. She brought down a bucket of soapy water and a warm towel, and she sat down on my dorm room floor and washed my feet. And she slept in the top bunk in my room so that I didn’t have to be alone.

I was so ashamed. I thought “I’m a Christian. I shouldn’t be thinking things like this. This is not good. I need help.” So the next morning, I called my then fiance and now Husband-Man and told him that I’d thought about hurting myself. And I scheduled a visit to the counselor on campus.

And I was so scared to go see her. But, I went. I thought she would tell me I was crazy. She did quite the opposite. She sat and asked me questions and listened to me. She drew pictures in her notes and didn’t look down her nose at me. And when I was done, she said, “Honey, no wonder you’re having trouble sleeping. Anybody would. Here are some things that you can do to help.”

And I tried those things, and they did help. My issues with sleep aren’t over. And I’ve not talked about that dark night to many people. But a lot of that is pride. I don’t want to admit that I’ve been to such a dark place. I don’t want to admit that I still struggle with sleep, and that I don’t have  clock in my room so that I can’t count the minutes until I have to wake up while I’m trying to sleep.

But, God is honored in our weakness. He is glorified because every night, I fall asleep and trust that He’ll still be God even when I’m not awake to make sure that everything is okay.

This post is part of the 31 Days Writing Challenge, in which a group of writers post a piece every day for the month of October. If you’re interested in catching up on the entire series, click here.

Psalm 27

As much as I enjoy writing, sometimes, I don’t have the words to express how I feel. Sometimes, I can’t encourage myself, because I can’t find a way to express myself. And in those times, I find that the Word expresses everything that I can’t. And the Psalms are one of the first places I turn when I can’t quite get it out.

Leaf-Day 7

Psalm 27 (ESV)

The Lord is my light and my salvation;
    whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold[a] of my life;
    of whom shall I be afraid?
When evildoers assail me
to eat up my flesh,

my adversaries and foes,
    it is they who stumble and fall.

Though an army encamp against me,
    my heart shall not fear;
though war arise against me,
    yet I will be confident.

One thing have I asked of the Lord,
    that will I seek after:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
    all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord
    and to inquire[c] in his temple.

For he will hide me in his shelter
    in the day of trouble;
he will conceal me under the cover of his tent;
    he will lift me high upon a rock.

And now my head shall be lifted up
    above my enemies all around me,
and I will offer in his tent
    sacrifices with shouts of joy;
I will sing and make melody to the Lord.

Hear, O Lord, when I cry aloud;
    be gracious to me and answer me!
You have said, “Seek my face.”
My heart says to you,
    “Your face, Lord, do I seek.”
    Hide not your face from me.
Turn not your servant away in anger,
    O you who have been my help.
Cast me not off; forsake me not,
    O God of my salvation!
10 For my father and my mother have forsaken me,
    but the Lord will take me in.

11 Teach me your way, O Lord,
    and lead me on a level path
    because of my enemies.
12 Give me not up to the will of my adversaries;
    for false witnesses have risen against me,
    and they breathe out violence.

13 I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord
    in the land of the living!
14 Wait for the Lord;
    be strong, and let your heart take courage;
    wait for the Lord!

Often times, I find that I stop at verses and don’t read past them when they really touch me. But, I’ve been reading Jen Wilkins “Women of the Word” with some good friends, and I wanted to share this chapter in its entirety.

What scripture has been speaking to you in your time of waiting?

This post is part of the 31 Days Writing Challenge, in which a group of writers post a piece every day for the month of October. 

Worn

Although I adore writing, music speaks to my soul. I have been singing as long as I’ve been talking, and I have different songs that mean different things to me. Every Sunday this month, I’ll be sharing a song with you that has spoken to me.

When I first entered this season of waiting, the song that spoken to me the most was “Worn” by 10th Avenue North.

I cried every time I listened to it. (“Cried” is an understatement. “Wept” is more accurate.)

With this song, I cried out to God day after day. And day after day, He has seen fit to calm me instead of the storm. He reminded me in my pain and my sorrow that He was right there with me. And that He knew.

Today, as you listen to the words of this song, may your heart be mended. May you reach out to God and ask Him to comfort you.

This post is part of the 31 Days Writing Challenge, in which a group of writers post a piece every day for the month of October. Want to read all of my posts in this series? Click here

Morning Coffee

Morning Coffee

 

If you imbibe in caffeine, namely coffee, you will know what I’m talking about. When you wake up, you want to hold something warm. You don’t hide when your coffee maker makes sputtering noises as it draws the cool water into the heating element. You look forward to the nutty smell that comes from the coffee pot as your cup is filled up by the dark liquid. And you savor the warm, bitter flavor as you drink it slowly, watching the sun come up.

And you will know why I ask Husband-Man some mornings to wait to talk to me until I make it half way through my cup.

Do you sometimes as your loved ones to wait while you drink something hot in the morning?

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This post is part of the 31 Days Writing Challenge, in which a group of writers post a piece every day for the month of October. 

Getting Sick

This post is part of the 31 Days Writing Challenge, in which a group of writers post a piece every day for the month of October.Want to read all of my posts in this series? Click here

On Fridays this month, I’ll be telling the story of Husband-Mans journey through illness this year. This post is about when we first found out that Husband-Man was sick.

At first, we just thought it was post-graduation exhaustion. I had just finished a part time MBA while working full time, and Husband-Man had just finished two bachelor’s degrees and a minor. We traveled a lot while preparing for finals to see family during Thanksgiving. Family had just come in for graduation and Christmas, and we had spent days at my parent’s house.

So when Husband-Man said that he didn’t feel good when we were supposed to go to our friends’ for New Years Eve, we didn’t think much of it. We were sure that he was just getting some winter-ick and settled in for the night. He fell asleep at 10:00 PM and I stayed up watching chick flicks. It felt pretty normal.

But his midsection kept hurting. He went to a retreat with camp friends, and his midsection was sore. His stomach hurt. He felt a little bit slow, but we didn’t think it was a big deal. He was just tired from too much school and not enough rest.

He still wasn’t feeling good. We were starting to get worried, but Husband-Man hates going to the doctor. He kept putting it off and putting it off.

And then, one morning, something else happened. His urine was the wrong color. (Don’t get offended. Everybody pees.) It turned the color of orange Mountain Dew. And we both got scared.

So, he went to the doctor. She ran test after test, and discovered that his liver was inflamed. Really, really inflamed. Almost to the point where he would need to be put in the hospital. His levels were so high that she called him every day to check and see how he was doing. She sent him for tests every other day to make sure that his liver inflammation was still within “acceptable” limits. (“Acceptable limits”= not quite to the point where he has to be put in the hospital.) She consulted with specialists at university hospitals and called us with updates. She researched and ran more tests. The tests continued, and eventually, he got referred to a specialist.

And the whole time, Husband-Man was getting worse. We didn’t know if what he had could be spread, so we stopped visiting friends. He didn’t hold new babies, just in case. He got off the couch less and less. He watched a lot of Star Trek. He played a lot of games on the Wii. He didn’t want to eat anything. His skin turned yellow. And one snowy day when I made snow cream, I noticed that his eyes were yellow.

He didn’t want to tell people that he was sick because we didn’t know what was wrong. Our families knew that he was sick, and my coworkers knew because I would burst into tears when on the phone with him after he got more news from a doctor and because I took so much time off work to take him to the doctor.

I was terrified. I would cry at night, worried sick.

And so the waiting began. “Life” kept going. I still had to work. People got married, had parties, and went on with their lives. I was consumed with the fact that my husband was very ill, but that we couldn’t do anything about it. There was nothing that we could do but wait.

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Have you noticed that when you’re in a crisis, it seems like life should stop? When has your life seemed to stop while the “rest of the world” keeps going?

 

Waiting for Prince Charming

I am, and have always been, obsessed with fairy tales. I love them. I love how I feel when I read them. (Yes, present tense. Read them. Have you read Gregory Maguire’s retellings of fairy tales? I didn’t care for the Wicked series, but I LOVE the rest of his work.)

As I’ve gotten older, though, I can’t buy into them as much as I used to. I get tired of the princess character.

The basic plot of almost every fairy tale is:

  • Princess character (oppressed in some way) has a problem
  • Prince is introduced
  • Struggle
  • Prince fixes things
  • Princess character becomes an actual princess is whisked away to a life of luxury and security with Prince character

On the surface: emotionally exciting and very easy to escape into. At it’s core: boring. No one grows in this story. No one experiences much character development. Especially not the princess.

Think about it. Cinderella, my favorite princess, was a crazy hard worker. She cleaned, she put up with a lot of stuff. But she had spent her young adult life not sticking up for herself. I always wondered why she didn’t tell her stepsisters off. Why she didn’t grow. And when her prince shows up, the guy she didn’t even know before she married him, magically, because he came looking for her, her life was better. What even happens after the wedding? I don’t believe Cinderella II & III. There had to have been some issues.

Lies. All lies. If I had sat around waiting for my “Prince Charming”, I would be fat, immature, and unemployed. I would be sitting on my heels, waiting for someone to come and magically make my life without any effort on my part.

I had to grow as a human being before I was ready to get married. I had to, and still have to, work hard to make money and keep my apartment clean. I have to work hard to honor God and to keep growing. I have to work hard to be a woman who is pleasant to be married to, who continues to grow.

And that desire for someone to come in and save me is caused by my need for Christ. I was made to be redeemed. But He doesn’t come in and fix everything in an instant. He loves me too much. He loves all of us too much. He makes us go through the hard stuff to refine us like gold in the fire, and walks with us through everything. That’s a real story with character development. (And lots of crying on my part.)

My story wasn’t over when I got married. My story isn’t “on hold” because I’m not a mother yet. I had to actively wait. I have to live my real, messy story with Christ and be thankful for today.

What do you think about our cultural fairy tale obsession?

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This post is part of the 31 Days Writing Challenge, in which a group of writers post a piece every day for the month of October. 

Theme of the Year

Are you one of those people that name a year before it begins? I have friends that will declare the theme of a year on January 1st. I used to think that you could name a year, but this year, I was learned differently.

I could have never guessed what the theme of this year would be. I wouldn’t have guessed how hard it would be. I wouldn’t have known the fear and the panic that I would face, or the sleepless nights. I wouldn’t have known the pain that I would feel as I waited for the one thing that my heart longs for the most.

The theme that has emerged, the theme that I have wrestled with in hospital waiting rooms and in the middle of the night in my home, is “wait”.

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Webster’s Dictionary defines “wait” as

: to stay in a place until an expected event happens, until someone arrives, until it is your turn to do something, etc.

: to not do something until something else happens

: to remain in a state in which you expect or hope that something will happen soon

Those definitions feel so hopefully. They are not close to what the Psalmist feels about waiting.

Psalm 130 (ESV)

Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord!
    O Lord, hear my voice!
Let your ears be attentive
    to the voice of my pleas for mercy!

If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities,
    O Lord, who could stand?
But with you there is forgiveness,
    that you may be feared.

I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
    and in his word I hope;
my soul waits for the Lord
    more than watchmen for the morning,
    more than watchmen for the morning.

O Israel, hope in the Lord!
    For with the Lord there is steadfast love,
    and with him is plentiful redemption.
And he will redeem Israel
    from all his iniquities.

From the Psalmist’s account, waiting is to be full of hope.

Do you normally have hope when you wait?

This post is part of the 31 Days Writing Challenge, in which a group of writers post a piece every day for the month of October. 

31 Days of Writing

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Every day, we spend the majority of our time waiting. Waiting for dinner to cook, waiting for the stop light to change, waiting for work to be over, waiting for the moment that we can finally close our eyes and fall asleep.

I’m not in the minority when I say that I loathe waiting. I want projects to be done yesterday, my coffee to be handed to me from the drive through window as soon as I pull up, and my life goals to be accomplished in a month. I want to grow and be closer to God now, without the pain of waiting and being purified.

This month, I have the privilege of participating in The Nester’s 31 Days challenge, in which a community of writers write on a topic of their choice every day in the month of October. Over the next 31 days, we’ll be exploring waiting in a series called “Wait”, where we share the pain, joys, and silliness that waiting entails. I’ll be posting a link to each day’s writing below, so be sure to check back here every day of the month of October.

Day 1- Theme of the year

Day 2- Waiting for Prince Charming

Day 3- Getting Sick

Day 4- Morning Coffee

Day 5- Worn

Day 6- Food

Day 7- Psalm 27

Day 8- Clock

Day 9- Traffic

Day 10- Sleep Apnea Man

Day 11- Favorite Tree

Day 12- Oceans

Day 13- Selfishly Clean

Day 14- Renew

Day 15- Get Fit

Day 16- Nails

Day 17- Gaining Weight

Day 18- Go for a Walk

Day 19- It is Well

Day 20- Peace

Day 21- Wait for the Lord

Day 22- Baby 

Day 23- End of the Day

Day 24- Results

Day 25- Date

Day 26- Vision

Day 27- October. It’s been ugly.

Day 28- Endurance

Day 29- It’s not “Going to be Okay”

Day 30- Still Sick

Thank you so much for joining me on this journey. I look forward to exploring waiting with each and every one of you.