Sitting here in my tent as the rain falls and it’s pitch black except for random waves of flashlights amid the campsites. I haven’t been camping in over a decade; the man I was married to didn’t like camping -it was my friends who I went camping with when I went rock climbing in Kentucky. I love camping. I love the freedom of just being out in the midst of non-organizational anything. Just gotta eat, play, sleep and be. I love that.
Bummed about the rain, but kind of love having the tap, tap, tap of the drops on my tent (please stay on and not come in) and just be free.
My friends gave me my own tent this weekend for privacy. My girl is with her dad this weekend. It’s going to be a quiet weekend of me and God and my friends. I look forward to tomorrow when I get to explore and think by myself.
A new journey has begun. First steps.
I stood watching the typical Times Square shenanigans tonight, all while spending time with good friends in the comfort of our 2-family house on this side of the river in a quiet neighborhood. I was wearing my cozy pajamas and slippers; that’s what I call a new year’s celebration. I stood there as the ball dropped and found myself saying good-bye to a year that was one of the hardest of my life. I was teary, but it was a different type of tears than the new year’s usual. I didn’t spend time reflecting and wishing I could have done some things differently. Instead, I spent the last few moments of 2016 saying good riddance, and moving on toward 2017 with my head held high. I have no idea what this year holds. I never knew what last year held. The roller coaster began on January 4. Where am I a year later? Still on a roller coaster, but not as intense. Sitting in a holding pattern as I wait for the next move; will the move be mine or his? I will not miss the heartache, the pain, the tears, the anxiety, the fear, the frustration that I felt this past year. Battles fought, words hurled. I won’t miss any of that. However, I wouldn’t trade anything for the closeness I felt to Jesus through all of this. Time and again I felt His faithfulness shine through on my cold dank heart like a refreshing ray of light. He got me through it all the while saying, “I love you. I have plans for you. I see you fit to stand this test.” I am thankful for His goodness, His grace, His mercy.
I was 7 years old. I was in first grade at Leesburg Elementary School in northern Indiana. I had one of the most remarkable teachers on the planet. Her name was Judy Frank. There was something about her. She was amazing. She was caring, she was sweet, she was no nonsense. Even after I left first grade, I still visited her classroom to say hello. There was something about her. Even after leaving elementary school, I visited her classroom to say hello. We talked on the phone, sent letters and cards to each other. She was funny, caring, a great listener, and that adult that God places in your life when you’re in junior high and high school and you think your parents make no sense at all. All the while she said the very same things they did. She knew what she needed to say. She was a parent after all; had two sons of her very own. She came to my high school graduation open house and wouldn’t sign my guest book until the very last. She said to me, “I was there at the beginning of your education and I will be there at the end.” Yep – she was the last person to sign my guest book. I hold it dear.
It was that Christmas back in first grade when we had a Christmas convocation in the gymnasium and Mrs. Allen our librarian led all the songs. We sang everything from Frosty the Snowman to the First Noel, and Mrs. Allen would solo Let There Be Peace on Earth, and then bring us all in to sing through the song with her again. I still love that song. The last song we sang was Silent Night. We got through a verse or two with Mrs. Allen, and then as we were dismissed, she had us sing as we were walking back to our classrooms. I was 7, but I have not forgotten that voice. I looked to my right and there she was, singing with a voice that rang sweetly in my ears, and to this day it rings sweetly in my memory. Mrs. Frank – I have not forgotten. In 35 years I have not forgotten that moment in first grade. Silent Night has never been the same.
I hold that moment especially dear since my dear friend left this earth nearly 23 years ago. While I sing that song today, I think back in time to that little town of Leesburg, in a little school on a cold December day, and I smile. My heart is tender and I find myself thankful for the person God sweetly placed in my life so many years ago.
Merry Christmas, Mrs. Frank.
Still the desire to run with freedom;
to fly like a dove and be at rest.
Still the yearning to protect my heart
so I won’t have to feel more pain.
I’ve been asked to move on,
but there’s something in my step
that just won’t let me;
a pebble in my shoe that keeps
nagging at each step I take —
reminding me that there is not
yet resolution that I feel deep
inside needs to take place.
Still restless. Still unsettled.
I desire the calm that I can sense
is hovering, and I’m waiting
for it to settle in.
It’s called the war room. Not just a movie I watched, but also a place in my heart where I give to God the things I cannot fight against. I feel as though I’ve been fighting someone’s physical presence, yet all the while I’ve been fighting against things in the heavenlies. You see, his heart isn’t won over by a thing that I can see. His heart is won over by the one whom I cannot see but is the ruler of this earth and its dominion. The one who wants nothing more than to hold peoples’ hearts hostage from the One Truth who is the Giver of life abundant. So while I’ve been trying to fight the unseen ruler of hostage hearts, I have neglected to give the war over to the One who can win. The One who reigns over the heavenlies with His angels who are warriors who fight the good fight.
My war room needs to be filled with prayer, forgiveness, love, grace and mercy. My war room needs to be equipped with the gospel of peace, the belt of truth buckled around my waist, and the breastplate of righteousness in place. For the only way to battle the one who is fighting to keep David’s heart hostage in darkness, fear and worry, is to use weapons from the One who has already won the battle for my heart; the One who saved my life, the One who is the Lover of my soul.
The war room. It can be a place of brutal battle, but oh how I have seen the goodness that comes from sitting with the Giver of life and what battling in that room can do to someone’s heart.
Thankful for a war room. Thankful that I don’t have to battle alone.
It’s a wall made of skeptical bricks.
Bricks that have been created
as mere protection of being hurt
over and over and over again.
A wall made to shield
from a force that is sly;
a force that is trying to penetrate
in order to form a peaceful front.
The builder can only trust the One
who really has her best interest at heart;
her interest because He loves
and truly wants her to heal.
What is the time period for this wall?
When does the wall come down?
Will it need to be in place for
days, months or even years?
The builder can only muster
so much strength in maintaining the wall.
Time will tell the builder when to let it go;
when to remove the wall until all the bricks are gone.
Until then, the wall will remain.
The bricks will be skeptical.
The builder will endure.
Protection is what the builder’s heart desires.
When you’re not exactly sure what step to take but you feel a nudge that is steering you in the right direction… I think that is guidance.
When people give you common advice and it coincides with the step you feel you need to take… I think that is orchestration.
When you feel the step you’re supposed to take is “so out of your character” but you do it anyway because it really feels right… I think that is courage.
When making a move knowing that Someone’s got your back no matter what happens; that He’s sent people to walk along side you to make that move… I think that is faith.
After spending days and weeks and months asking for wisdom, and things begin to click… I think that is an answer.