Monday, September 21, 2015

Taste and See

Growing up, I loved adventure and exploring. The world was a different place and I would roam grassy fields, picking flowers, living in my imagination. We'd toboggan through apple orchards, never worrying that we could hit a tree. Getting "too close" to the pond  beside my grandparents' house was something I did often. I loved to swim and to run as fast as I could, and was convinced I could do anything. At age five, I ran away and just knew I could make it on my own (you know, at the corner store where there was plenty of candy and a playground across the street).

My confidence made me dream big and live large and loud. I was sixteen the first time I went to Europe. The thrill of exploring old cities with friends and meeting new people and being Jesus to those who may have never heard His name was immense.

There's another side of me -- one I buried as a teenager, that often rears its ugly head in adulthood. The same little girl who could do anything, also clung to her daddy in fear, at the bottom of Niagra Falls on the Maid of the Mist; and when looking up at the Canadian Rockies said "If I went up there, I would fall."

The two -- the explorer and the timid child have been trying to co-exist for a long time. I love the adventurer and I want to tell my fearful self to get over it. Fear can do nothing but hold me back. These days, the adventures and the worries are different in form, but they are ever present.

When I comfort a child back to sleep, I pray I would not pass on my fear -- that it would have no stronghold in our kids' lives. That they would "taste and see that the Lord is good" and that He "has not given us a spirit of fear ..." and that we can trust Him (Psalm 34:8, 2 Timothy 1:7).

As a mother it is my constant challenge to not parent out of fear and to open my children's eyes to the wonder of the world around them, but sometimes their independence and fearlessness frightens me. I am keenly aware of the worst case scenario in any given situation, but I am learning to let those thoughts work themselves out internally.

We recently discovered that Mary Elena (our baby, who is now three) loves the thrill of a rollercoaster -- high speeds and steep, sudden drops. She just barely reaches the height requirement for these rides, but once in her seat, she's all in ... all thirty-six inches of her. As we went on her favorite rides at Disneyland, she'd throw her hands in the air and laugh until the end of the ride, when she'd declare the experience "totally awesome!" The drop on Splash Mountain is over fifty feet and the speed is forty miles an hour, in a log without seatbelts, and she squealed in delight and wanted to go again. My little dare devil!

Our five year old, Nicholas, loves to swim. He's in and completely under, oblivious to the perils of the water. Up until last week, he'd only gone swimming in small groups of either close friends or family. Now that he swims, I've been less nervous about taking all four of my kids to a pool on my own, but last week we went to a party and there were few places he could touch the bottom of the pool. Even so, he was in and he was swimming -- until he wasn't. So I jumped in, fully dressed -- in one of my favorite outfits of the summer with accessories and shoes still on, surrounded only by people I don't know -- and lifted him out. When I asked him what happened he said "I just forgot to swim." As full as that pool and yard was, when he was in trouble his eyes found me, and even if they hadn't, my eyes were on him. That's what a mama does.

As I spend time with my kids, I realize that the part of me that anticipates danger is a positive thing if I direct it and use it well. That part of me remains vigilant so that my kids can have their adventures. My arms are around them as theirs let go, wildly waving in excitement; my eyes are on them when the waters overtake them, and my hands reach down to lift them up; my prayers surround them when we're apart.

In this new season of parenting when my kids are grasping for independence, it would be easy to think that the hard part of my job is over, but then I'm reminded that I am still being guided ever so gently by One I cannot see (Isaiah 40:11). And His eyes, His mind and His heart are on me and for me; That He created a world of places and ideas for adventuring and He wants us to taste and see that He is good.

Is there anyplace I can go to avoid your Spirit?
    to be out of your sight?

If I climb to the sky, you’re there!

    If I go underground, you’re there!

If I flew on morning’s wings
    to the far western horizon,
You’d find me in a minute—
    you’re already there waiting!
Then I said to myself, “Oh, he even sees me in the dark!
    At night I’m immersed in the light!”
It’s a fact: darkness isn’t dark to you;
    night and day, darkness and light, they’re all the same to you.
(Psalm 139:7-12, The Message)

In the fear, in the adventure, He is there.

I am excited to write with an amazing and diverse group of women this year. Read what Susan has to say about adventure unlimited, and then click through the rest of the blogs.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Mourning Into Dancing

You did it: you changed wild lament
    into whirling dance;
You ripped off my black mourning band
    and decked me with wildflowers.
I’m about to burst with song;
    I can’t keep quiet about you.
God, my God,
    I can’t thank you enough.
Psalm 30:11-12

It has been a full summer. Yesterday, as I was looking over some paperwork I was reminded of what this time of year last year and the fall was like for our family. We were all feeling so beaten up. I was living with unexplained pain. Our kids were transitioning to a new school. We were trying to understand our son more and exploring possible reasons that may play a part in how challenging every day life can be for him. We had lost approval for speech therapy for our other son, and he was still struggling to be understood. And our extended families were also experiencing stress that we felt keenly. Not least of these, my sister-in-law was in a battle with cancer that was about to end and change our lives forever. If I'm honest, I found myself constantly questioning the goodness of God.

We are far from having all the answers to all that made life hard last year, and yet as I look back on the past two months, I realize how far we've been carried

In the thirteen years that we've been married, Matt and I have experienced high highs, and the lowest of lows. We've moved away from all our family, worked plenty for-now jobs, not known how we were going to afford to eat as we worked Matt's way through graduate school, lost grandparents, an uncle, suffered a heartbreaking miscarriage, experienced and bore the pain of the struggles of our siblings and parents. We've loved being married and hated being married. We've looked at each other more than once and asked "What are we doing here?" We've been blessed with four children, Matt's job, our amazing church community, a love that perseveres through the hard times and embraces always, God's constant provision, supportive families, the generosity of strangers and faithful friends.

What I'm [finally] realizing is that I'm not doing this life alone. I'm not even making it through the day alone. The broken parts of my life, the darkness in me -- they are not being healed because of my efforts.

"He is before all things, and by Him all things hold together." 
Colossians 1:17 HCSB

Isn't that just like Him? And if I never experienced the heartaches of this life, I would never be drawn to Him, nor would I notice the stunning beauty of the world and the people around me. 

In the last two months, I have gained two sisters-in-law. I have participated in and witnessed both their weddings, with tears of joy streaming down my face, not only because weddings do that to me, but because these weddings -- I know the stories behind them -- are evidence of a loving God, working "all things together for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose" (Romans 8:28, NIV).

My brother-in-law who lost his first wife to cancer is still healing -- we all are.

My other brother-in-law reached his lowest years ago and has been doing healing of his own.

When I look at their lives, what they've been through, what they've lost and I remember their faces as they said their vows to my new sisters, I know there is a God. A good God.  And He is working all things ...

When I think of the stunning beauty of the two brides, as they pledged their love to men that they know -- brokenness and darkness, strength and passion melded together, I see evidence of a loving God. And He is working all things ...

When I look at Josh and Trakena and Joey and Rachel, I am blown away by the faithfulness of a God who does not want man to be alone. He is faithful. He is for us. And He is working all things ...

A pledge to love someone in the highs and lows, for better for worse, in sickness and in health -- that is no small thing. When I witness the joining of two lives at a wedding, I am reminded of a God that comes close. A God who laid down His life, to save mine. A good God who sees my mourning and breaks through with gladness and joy. A loving God, who does not want us to do life alone, but calls us into community. A faithful God, who sees our brokenness, and says "Watch what I can do!"

As Joey and Rachel's wedding was winding down, the DJ called everyone on the floor for a line dance. Erin, Matt's cousin, was encouraging me to join in, and I just said "I can't dance." Erin said "The way I see it, is everyone who I'm going to see again has already formed their opinion of me. So it doesn't matter what I look like." I was thinking good Erin, now you go dance. I'll stay here. Then she said "Lindsey, I've already formed my opinion of you, and I like you. Let's dance!" And I did. It was a blast! But as I reflect on that evening and that moment, I know that is also God's heart for me, for you. "I like you. Let's dance!"

He is the God of Job and the God of the Psalms. So today, as I muddle through the ins and outs of life, as I consider all the unanswered questions, I choose to dwell on the goodness, the love and the faithfulness of a God who constantly turns mourning into dancing, because He likes me. He likes you and He invites us into a life where mourning may last for a night, but joy comes in the morning (Psalm 30:5).

Monday, July 13, 2015

Take Your Sweet Texas Time

Others are sown among thorns; these are the ones who hear the word, but the worries of this age, the seduction of wealth, and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.
 Mark 4:18,19 HCSB

We just got back from nearly four weeks in Texas spent mostly on JMJ Ranch, my in-laws' home and land. Once I am there, life immediately slows down and there is a deep, deep peace. It is rustic and romantic. There are cows and horses and soon there will be chickens. In every way, life on the ranch is different from our life in Los Angeles.

All year long, I'm holding my breath. With every unexpected turn of the road in parenting, I tell myself a break is on the way. Each time I rush out to the car to run another errand, to pick up kids, to play my role in the hustle and bustle of the city, I am subconsciously hoping for a slower existence.

A week before we began our eastward trek, I told my friend "I am a better version of myself in Texas ... a better wife and mother, calmer, less worried, more comfortable with myself. I trust easier, I love deeper. I am slower, deliberate, more relaxed. I am closer to the person I want to be." It is true that everyone is different on vacation and it really isn't fair to compare your everyday self to who you are when most of your responsibilities fade, and yet there is a deep desire to be the Texas Lindsey in California.

Leading up to our departure, Matt and I created a playlist of favorite country songs as we revved up for our trip. (This is the only time of year when he indulges my love of country music.) The closer we got to the ranch, the more I "serenaded" him with the words from a favorite song.

I wanna walk and not run
I wanna skip and not fall
I wanna look at the horizon 
And not see a building standing tall
I wanna be the only one 
For miles and miles
Except for maybe you
And your simple smile
Oh, it sounds good to me

Cowboy, take me away
Fly this girl as high as you can
Into the wild blue
Set me free, oh I pray
Closer to heaven above 
And closer to you

And it's not that I don't love my life. I love this adventure we started on thirteen years ago, the children we've been blessed with, the home we've made, the church and friends we love -- it is all grace. It is just that there are things that are done better in Texas that I want to be part of my reality in Los Angeles.

If I want to live well in the place God has called me -- if I want to be the person He created me to be, the best version of myself where He has placed me, provided for me, commissioned me, than I have to learn to be my Texas self here.

I love the bumper sticker that says "I wasn't born in Texas, but I got here as quick as I could." There is an enchantment in and for Texas. I admit it drove me crazy the first time Matt launched into what can only be described as a Texas Pride monologue, but I had lived there less than a year and we'd been dating a month at best, and it had yet to capture my heart.

Then as a college student I was required to take a Texas history class and it was during that semester that I fell in love with both history and Texas. I mean seriously, only Texas has existed under six flags, and that is only the beginning of its charm.

Oh, Texas.

I have so many memories from our trip this summer, but one that I will always remember is when in the middle of a conversation, my father-in-law said "Just let him take his sweet Texas time." A few days later as we were driving out of Texas, Matt read to me an account of John Ortberg asking Dallas Willard what is needed to be spiritually healthy, and his response resonated with me.
"You must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life."

I worry that in this season of my life, with four kids, a husband in full time ministry, in a city with no family, with my (impossible to attain) shadow mission of becoming super mom; in a world and a culture where achievement, possessions and image reign, that I might lose myself -- that I will become so preoccupied with my outward life, that my heart gets lost in the shuffle.

So as I return to real life, I am determined to slow down ... to know that life isn't about reaching a destination, but like a good road trip, it is about the journey. It's as much about the music and the snacks, the conversations and the company. Yes, there is an end goal, but how much sweeter life would be if we allowed ourselves to slow down, to be distracted and amazed at the unexpected.

How many times and in what ways does God speak to us and we're so blinded by the world around us and by what we think we want, that we fail to see Him and the ways He longs to satisfy our soul hunger?

"Slow down. Take a deep breath. What's the hurry? Why wear yourself out? Just what are you after anyway? But you say, 'I can't help it. I'm addicted to alien gods. I can't quit.'" Jeremiah 2:25, MSG

It is impossible for me to spend hours silently fishing, lost in prayer everyday like I can on the ranch. I can't walk out into open fields with only the sound of crickets, birds and cows for company. There are so many buildings in Los Angeles and rainstorms are so few, that I will not hear His voice often in crashing thunder or feel His breath as the rushing wind forces an afternoon rain across the pasture, but He is all around and if I slow down I will find Him.

He speaks in the silence of the morning when I'm the only one awake. He is present in the belly laughs of my kids. He breathes peace when I respond and not react to a sibling conflict. I feel His presence as I set aside the press, and take the time to mince garlic with a sharp knife. I can't deny His goodness when I splash wine into a sauté pan and that glorious aroma fills my senses.

As I come home, I am determined to take my sweet Texas time, knowing I will find God there.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Box of Darkness

They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord.
Psalm 112:7

This Fall.  It held so much promise and potential. The evening of September 2nd, found me packing lunches in anticipation of the start of a new school year. A year where my kids would go to school and be in classes, learning under teachers that I had prayed for the moment we knew they would be in school. Of course there was the nervous anticipation as well. Had I prepared them well enough? Would they fit in? Are they going to succeed? But all in all, the beginning of school went without a hitch and we were on our way. Until we weren't.

Life has a way of slowing us down -- slowing me down. I get so caught up with the routine and meeting expectations (hopefully surpassing expectations), so I need life to do that and when it does I am shocked.

One week after school started, I was on a plane to Texas without my kids and with Matt and my brother-in-law and his future wife. After a year and half of praying and believing for healing, we had to do the hard work of trusting God's plan for Tiffany as he took her Home. 

Our sweet Bethany is an achiever, but after visiting with the doctor it seems she was, maybe still is, experiencing some anxiety over her entrance to second grade.  She's had almost an allergic reaction to this period of transition but curiously she outwardly thrives.

And our precious Lucas? Well, school hit him and me like an unwelcome wake-up call and we've been challenged to figure out exactly what makes him tick. Socially all is well, but that kid is a d.r.e.a.m.e.r, and every period represents some random thought that he follows down a rabbit hole and forgets to capitalize the beginning and punctuate the ending of the trail.

Oh, my heart.  To see your children struggle and to be grieving in the midst of it, that is a duty of adulthood I was not expecting.

There are these moments that seem so laden with darkness, you fear suffocation and I'm there. I experience that heightened heart beat and quicker breathing accompanied by a flutter in my stomach as I try to figure out how are we going to do this life.

I get tired of talking about seasons of life because I find myself wondering if Spring will ever come. Just when I think we're going to get a bit ahead there is a new twist in the plot and I'm physically raising an eyebrow and audibly saying, "Huh."

This is the Fall of hellos and goodbyes, of transitions and take out as I basically quit making dinner in order to tediously encourage fourth grade homework 26 years after I did it myself.  This is the season of one sickness circulating multiple times through the family and bed wetting and sheet changing and then the stomach bug and the three days where I did laundry 18 hours a day and still had six loads left to do. It is a time of busyness and traveling and loneliness.

And in the middle of all this dark that threatens annhililation with its density, I realize that without it I couldn't see the light.

“If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant: if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome."

When we made our quick trip to Texas and had to leave behind four kids, we had these incredible friends who took our kiddos in and loved them, kept them safe and worked through their various quirks and schedules in the first week of school. Friends who didn't just provide beds, food and supervision but who told stories and played games and included our four in their family-life. We had another friend bring reprieve through playdates and doing preschool drop off and pick up, and yet another who picked our oldest up from school and got to know them and made memories over frozen yogurt. We were surrounded by the prayers of an amazing group of women who had also been praying for Tiffany since her first diagnosis and encouraged me with calls and texts while I was processing and trying to figure out exactly how to grieve.  A staff of friends who encouraged us on our way and gave immeasurable support in this unchartered territory.

And those kids who were struggling to adjust to school? How grateful I am for the extra love they received from the teachers that God prepared for them. How incredible it's been to see how well they know B and L already, and how they are on Team Price for the win, partnering with us as we figure out this new place of parenting.

What a gift it was to be completely present and mostly undistracted to grieve the loss of the sister-in-law that I thought I'd have years to really know. To grieve the loss of a dream of sisterhood. To mourn the loss of one I had prayed for first to come into our lives and second that her life would be spared. And in this season where sadness comes in waves, I am grateful that I knew Tiffany for three years and that the mark she left on me and our family is one I wouldn't get rid of to spare the pain, because Tiffany could light up a room and truly lived.

And on the evenings when the three younger kids are undoing all the cleaning I've spent my day doing and I'm trying to explain the ins and outs of common core math to an uninterested fourth grader who's swishing water in his mouth, and I lose it and demand through clenched teeth that he focus and fill in the right bubble ... when I have to get off my high parenting horse and apologize for being harsh and impatient, the light pierces even that darkness. He says to me, "You don't have to say sorry. I think you're the most patient person." And I'm humbled, because those prayers that God would grow patience in me (but please, oh, please don't give me cause to be patient) are being answered, and my 9 year old sees the work He is beginning in me and grants a forgiveness I don't deserve.

In the hours of tending to the sick and wondering who's going to catch it next and as I carry the lysol can around and boil water to disinfect; as I cry in my laundry room over the mounds of germ induced laundry and I wonder how I will ever finish, and why me, Lord -- even in the darkness of the grime and gross I find the light.  It comes in songs and psalms and breath prayers.

In Matt's absence and long hours and on the evenings when he's home but still working it suddenly and completely hits me and it's blinding. And he's confused and wonders how I've never really thought of it before. That man I started dating when we were both really still kids? He may travel the world, but he's never leaving me. It is grace and it is light.

“Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this too, was a gift.” 

I can get so caught up in wishing for the Spring and Summer of life that I fail to see the beauty in my Fall. It is forever constant and is always there, that Light that spoke the light into being and we miss it when we focus on the darkness and not the beauty in the ugly. 

It's the living and loving that happens in the little moments, whether many or few.

It's the mourning and rejoicing and the promise of eternal life and sweet reunion.

It's the intricate workings of each of our children molded and purposed for His plan.

It's the ability to be fully present.

It's His gentle work and His still small voice and their presence in my kids' lives.

It's the hard work of mothering, both loving and fierce -- vigilant and relentless.

It's the revealing of His covenant of Love in the comfort of marriage.

“In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.” 
― Albert Camus

Sometimes 'mid scenes of deepest gloom, 
Sometimes where Eden's bowers bloom,
By waters still, o'er troubled sea
Still 'tis His hand that leadeth me.

Lord, I would place my hand in Thine,
Nor ever murmur nor repine,
Content, whatever lot I see,
Since 'tis my God that leadeth me.
Joseph H Gilmore

Join us as we explore darkness this month. Start with Allie at A Hopeful Place and follow the links.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Disappointments and Thunderstorms

"Disappointments are to the soul what thunderstorms are to the air." 
~ Friedrich von Schiller

I've spent the past few weeks in Texas, which has been a breath of fresh air for this girl, her kids and husband.  It is great to be with family -- wonderful to look out on land with not a building in sight.  What a gift to be able to walk the dog, hands phone-free because I'm just on this glorious stretch of land in east Texas -- a haven of safety.  To allow my kids to go off and explore on their own and not worry.

After a year when nothing seemed to go my way, this time away has been a quiet reprieve.  

Texas is a place like no other.  From the huge baked potatoes to high school football; from animal print to southern hospitality, when you've truly lived in Texas, you love Texas.  

I remember moving here as a twenty year old, taking a year off of school to live with my family again, and being completely startled by many things -- the size of the cockroaches and how they take flight, the confusing configuration of feeder roads whose absence I now realize is one of the major deficits of Los Angeles, Texas pride, and the thunderstorms.  

The first time I experienced a Texas thunderstorm was in the middle of the night, and even as a young adult the crash and subsequent roll of the thunder was so startling that I ran into my parents' room.  I had never heard anything like it.  

As a college student walking across campus, it didn't matter the size of the umbrella, if it rained between classes, I was soaked from head to foot for the rest of the day.

A storm can be anticipated or it can explode on the scene taking you off guard.  There have been several times on this trip where flashlights and candles are pulled out as lights begin to flicker and a storm rolls in.

I. love. it.

Probably because I can remember only a handful of times it has rained in Los Angeles since we moved there twelve years ago.  Rain, thunder and lightening have become a novelty.

I love the anticipation and nervous excitement, the preparation or lack there of, the crash of the thunder and the flare of lightening, the immediate cool down and decrease in humidity, the way plans change or get a little more interesting in the face of the weather, and the way everything looks greener after the rain.

But what can bring life and energy can also cause devastation. 

When we arrived on JMJ ranch three weeks ago there was a tree that had been virtually destroyed in a storm. It had crashed into a fence and created more than a day's worth of work -- from cutting it down, to chopping it up, stacking the wood, and mending the fence.

The rain storms, the tree, this year and this trip have my mind racing with what-ifs and why nots and the pains of life ...

How the chopping, cutting, throwing, stacking and mending sent my now city-boy husband into days of discomfort, all because of a storm.

Like I said, I absolutely love Texas and every time we are here it is difficult to leave. This time, the night before our departure I decided to stay behind with the kids for a couple weeks while Matt gets back to work.  We both knew that this decision was right for the whole family, and yet as I was separating our suitcase into two and dropping Matt at the airport yesterday, I got a familiar knot in my throat and hot tears in my eyes, because even though it's only for a matter of days, when you've made a life with someone it becomes inconceivable that you should ever be apart. For us, that's what love is: Joy in each other's company. Happiness in memories. Pain in absence.

My older kids had the opportunity to spend a couple days on the ranch just with Papa Price. About twenty-four hours into the separation of kids from parents, I got a phone call that Lucas had been stung by a yellow-jacket.  Lucas is very allergic to bees; within minutes he goes into anaphylactic shock. When your child is in danger, you want to be with him to bring comfort and search out all the help you can -- a parent is a warrior, but two hours away, worry was quickly setting in. Luckily, we discovered Lucas is not allergic to all stings, because one antihistimine and an icepack later, he was fine.  Never have I been more acutely aware of the space between us, as I tried to care for him one phone conversation at a time. There is pain in distance.

As I raise my kids and they reach milestones and grasp for more independence, I realize that my life as a mother will be filled with moments of holding on and forcing myself to let go as they become the people they were created to be and reach for the dreams of their hearts.  There is pain in growth.

In little and big ways, our lives are filled with pain.

Matt's Memaw is ninety-three years old. Over the past fourteen years I've experienced her as an amazing cook, welcomer, reminiscer and story-teller, faithful wife, advocate of her children and grandchildren, grieving widow, grieving mother, but always a joy finder.  On this visit, I've noticed her pain as she realizes that she can no longer do the things that used to be easy, to host and serve, to hoist grandkids on her lap, to walk unassisted.  There is pain in aging.

My sister-in-law Tiffany will turn thirty-seven in a few weeks.  A year and a half ago she was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer.  Despite many prayers and rounds of chemotherapy the cancer has spread and the doctors don't have much hope.  Tiffany is living in a lot of pain right now, but through all of the ups and downs of her journey, she has chosen hope and clings to faith -- hope and faith for healing, yes, but more than that.  She hopes and places her faith in her God.  Because when bodies fail, there is pain.

"Though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet." 

It's strange that in nature, I can experience a storm and anticipate the greater good, and yet when storm clouds come my way in life, I get so quickly thrown off course and flounder and wonder and doubt.

And yet, just as thunderstorms can cause fear and destruction while bringing relief and life, so disappointments can cause pain and suffering while increasing our faith and making us strong in ways we didn't know possible.  

"When darkness seems to win we know that pain reminds this heart that this is not our home." (Blessings, Laura Story)

"For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come." (Hebrews 13:14, NLT)

How grateful we can be that in the midst of a world where trouble seems to take up residence in the most unlikely of places, we are eternal beings, not created for a fallen world, but for a world of perfection, where sin and pain and death cannot reside.

What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can't satisfy
What if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are Your mercies in disguise
(Blessings, Laura Story)

Start with Susan and follow the links as we talk about pain this month.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Whispers in the Waiting

When I was waiting for my first baby to learn to go to sleep on his own, I would sing songs to comfort and read the same books nightly to create a sense of security.   From one of those books filled with the rhyme and repetition that only Dr. Seuss can do so masterfully, come these words:

The Waiting Place ...

... for people just waiting.
Waiting for a train to go
or a bus to come, or the rain to go
or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow
or waiting around for a Yes or No
or waiting for their hair to grow.
Everyone is just waiting.

Waiting for the fish to bite 
or waiting for wind to fly a kite
or waiting around for Friday night
or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake
or a pot to boil, or a Better Break 
or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants
or a wig with curls, or Another Chance.
Everyone is just waiting.

excerpt from Oh, the Places You'll Go!

It's fun to read those words and laugh at the nonsensical pictures, but how often do we really find ourselves in an endless holding pattern?

When we moved here twelve years ago, the plan was clear and simple.  Matt would go to seminary for three years while I worked, and we would move (most likely back to Texas) and continue on our simple life.  I waited for this for almost eleven years.

For much of that time, I was busy planning out the rest of our lives according to the plan and vision we had when we first got married.  The only problem with that is that the plans of two 22 year olds often don't match up to the weight of real world responsibility, let alone calling.  

For the past year or so I've been attempting to set aside my plans and dreams from long ago, and have a more hands off -- hands open approach.  I'll be the first to admit that it's been messy and many times reminiscent of a game of truth or dare, wherein I dare and He reveals truth.  

"God, you're going to have to make it very clear that ..."
"God, I just don't think I can do another year of ..."
"If we're supposed to stay here then ..."

And as He responds with provision that I cannot deny is from Him, with peace and with plans, and with a love for my kids greater than I can bestow on them, my prayers are slowly changing ... I am realizing that a life entrusted to the Author of Life, is never anything less than an adventure and that trusting the One who has never failed brings the rarest kind of simplicity.

Even youths will faint and be weary,

    and the young will fall exhausted;
but those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength,
    they shall mount up with wings like eagles,
they shall run and not be weary,
    they shall walk and not faint.
Is. 40:30-31, NRSV 

So whether I am waiting for a full night's sleep or the realization of a dream ...
No matter if I find myself consumed with teaching my kids or looking for a new way of educating them ...
When I struggle to have meaningful interactions with my loved ones or I can't wait to have alone time ...
If work is all consuming or I'm looking forward to a week of ceaseless quality time with my husband ...
Wherever I find myself, I'm not waiting alone.

"For it is the Lord your God who goes with you; He will not leave you or forsake you."
Deut. 31:6, HCSB

I am so aware that God knows me better than I know myself, and that He is aware that I don't wait gracefully, and yet He meets me exactly where I am, and He does the same for you.  And when He does, there is no doubt that we have experienced the presence of God.  The presence that reassures, protects, heals, restores, builds faith, and always places glory where it is due.  How thankful I am that even when I doubt, when trust is anything but easy, I serve a God that looks on the heart, and meets me in quiet moments with perfect peace and clarity.

At that moment, the Lord passed by. 
A great and mighty wind was tearing at the mountains 
and was shattering cliffs before the Lord,
 but the Lord was not in the wind. 
After the wind there was an earthquake, 
but the Lord was not in the earthquake. 
 After the earthquake there was a fire, 
but the Lord was not in the fire. 
And after the fire there was a voice, a soft whisper. 
When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle 
and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave.
I Kings 19:11-13, HCSB

I'm so honored to be blogging with a group of amazing ladies this year.  To read more on waiting, read Staci's blog.