Laughter regularly splashes over my life, such as when my three-year-old mischievously puts his clean clothes in the fridge, and when my six-year-old exclaims, “Mama look in the mirror! Your eyebrows are bushy.”
I find joy in new friendships and new opportunities. I am forever grateful for a good family and a cozy nest to call home. I like my books and coffee on sleepy mornings, and I even like to see the cat swinging precariously on the porch swing, dutifully cleaning her face.
Most of all, I love talking about Jesus to people who are yet unsure about Him. I love showing kindness and feeling that kindness returned.
Still, the life I have chosen brings sadness that sometimes seems disproportionate to everything else.
Will senses the pain gnawing at my insides and kindly suggests, “Go for a walk around the lake and cry it all out.”
I wish he could go with me, since he is such a solid and comforting presence, but someone has to watch the kids so I go alone.
I’m barely out of the house before I break down. I think of all the pressing problems in my life, and my inability to do anything about them.
My children are unreasonably needy, and I don’t always give them enough attention. Will doesn’t have enough paying work. The tightly-knit social circles of this town don’t include me. I weep and wish I had a friend who would say, “Hey, would you like to walk around the lake with me?”
(Don’t you know that I might not look smart, and I might be terribly busy with my herd of kids, but I would find it easy to love you if you would just give me a chance?)
I think of all the unfinished things in my life–the unfulfilled dreams and the perilous future of my foster child and the partly read Bible-books and the half-written blog posts.
The questions cut into my heart, “Am I going to make it? Is God going to provide?”
I walk through the uneven, cedar-lined trail by the lake, hearing the brown grass shivering and crying with me in the wind. I remember my friend’s words about her husband’s season of agony, and am unexplainably comforted. Maybe this is only a season, and maybe waiting on God really is agony.
Partway through the second lap around the trail, I sit down on a creaky bench and feel the gentle sunshine on my tear-stained face. I read Hebrews 12, and let the words soak into my soul.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
Hebrews 12:1-2 (ESV)
I can’t stop thinking about it. Let us run with endurance; looking to Jesus, bearing the shame, enduring the cross. He is the founder and perfector of our faith. Let us run…
Let us run with patience.
Sometimes running is glorious, like a child flying over a green hill with the wind in her golden hair and laughter on her lips.
Other times running feels like a wounded soldier stumbling through the darkness in a knee-deep bog. Even then, as God’s children, we bravely wipe the tears off our faces and don’t give up. We run.
How is God testing your endurance today?