I'm Talking in a Forest Even if No One is Listening

11:31 AMHeather

Sometimes, when I am talking to my children and they aren't listening, I'll start saying crazy things like we won a million dollars or I grew a second head or I gave away all their belongings. I've been known to go on for a bit before they finally realize what I'm saying and they look at me. Ever had one of those moments? I think my insecurities have gotten the best of me, because I'm kinda feeling that way this week about this blog. Honestly, I write this blog for two reasons. First of all, to be obedient to a task I think God wants me to do right now. Second of all, to say what I think He wants me to say. I pray every day about what to share, and as with most reflective exercises, He is working in me through what I am writing. So, alas, even if no one is reading, and even if only for my own good, I shall press on with my Top 40 life lessons.

17. When someone is hurting, they just need you to be there. My migraines first started when I was 12. During my junior high and high school years, I didn't have much success with treatment meds. I learned that when my vision started that freaky spotty thing (AKA a "visual aura"), I knew I had about 30 minutes before the pain hit. During those episodes, my dad would sit next to my bed, holding my hand and praying with me. He would put a cold wet rag over my eyes, and just sit with me until I could finally relax enough to fall asleep--no matter how long that took. He couldn't take my pain away, but having him with me was enough.

18. We all need someone sitting in the stands to cheer us on. My high school years revolved around all the great activities I got to be part of--another advantage of living in a small town. My main thing was drill team. The Lampasas Flames. Woo hoo!! Oh the memories of early morning practices, long "discussions" of uniform choices (why did we ever wear those leotards without the skirts?!), hours of kicking and stretching and dancing, and the fun of riding on the bus for hours on end. At every game, the butterflies kicked up in my stomach as we marched on the field to perform. And it was a great feeling knowing that someone was in the stands cheering me on.

19. Sometimes we hit the gas when we should be putting on the brakes. For all those parents of drivers-in-training, you may want to skip to #20. Because the first time I got behind the wheel, it did not end well. Dad took me out to the industrial part of Lampasas (yes, that is sorta an oxymoron). He parked and had me move into the driver's seat. We went around the parking lot, and I practiced just the feeling of being at the wheel. Then, Dad wanted me to practice parking. So, I turned the wheel, and as we throttled forward, my dad gently said, "No, the brake, Heather, the brake...NO THE BRAKE!" Yep, in my panic, I was putting on the gas. The car stopped when we went through the wall of the corrugated metal building and I finally found the brake. Unfortunately, many other times in life since then I throttle forward, full steam ahead, when I should really be putting on the brake and slowing down.

20. God gives you moments to remember as signs of His faithfulness. When that terminal diagnosis for Dad came in December 1988, I can remember wondering if Dad would even see me graduate from high school. And, God in His goodness, not only allowed my Dad to see me graduate, but Dad got to preach the Baccalaureate service AND give the invocation at my graduation ceremony. Those are precious memories to me--signs that sometimes God shows up just to show that He can. Not only that, Dad lived long enough to take me off to Baylor with my mom, sister, and best friend--and to see me wrap up my freshman year. He lived on "borrowed time." 18 months of precious borrowed time to see me into the next chapter of my life.

21. When the unimaginable happens, God holds you tightly. I love the song Held by Natalie Grant because it so summarizes this life lesson for me. Just read these lyrics: This is what it means to be held/How it feels, when the sacred is torn from your life/And you survive/This is what it is to be loved and to know/That the promise was that when everything fell/We'd be held. Losing my dad was a turning point in my life. It was where the rubber met the road. It was when my faith became my own and I had a choice to make. Let God fill the emptiness and test His sufficiency--or rely on my own sorry limited self. I found that when the sacred was torn away, and the unimaginable happened--I was held. And it was enough--as I wrestled through one day at a time.

22. It is possible to have the worst and best of times all at once. No laughter is as significant as that offered in between tears. While my college years were marked by grief and depression, oh my gravy--they were some of the most fun years of my life! Theme dances with my sorority sisters, eating raw cookie dough with my roommates and neighbors, pulling pranks on the boys who lived in our 8 apartment complex, Sunday night roomie dinners, late nights at IHOP, Monday nights at CHOICE, Spring Break ski trips, baseball size hail storms, and a very memorable trip to the backwoods of Louisiana. [Bronzy--are you reading this?!] A cheerful heart is medicine for the soul--and finding a reason to laugh reminds you that life will go on.

23. Prince Charming isn't a fairy tale. Okay, another sign that I'm nearly 40--I find myself repeating myself. I'm SURE I've said much of this before. But, bear with me if you've heard this story before. On May 5, 1990, I was studying in the library (yes, on a SATURDAY night, which was a sign of my dating life). Someone was SO LOUD that I had to move. As I started to stalk past them, I realized it was my friend Laurel and her boyfriend, John. They introduced me to John's high school friend, Chris. And, the rest is history. I had been praying for my future husband for nearly 3 years. I didn't know it immediately--but there he was. And, Chris was and is my Prince Charming. He is a sign of God's unmerited favor--given to me at a time to show the hope of my future. Sure, my happily ever after includes reality like quarreling children, late night stomach bugs, and sometimes not seeing eye-to-eye. But, it is a blessed life to be sure.

24. Carpe Diem. Dead Poet's Society was released during my Baylor years. What a great movie! And, yes, yes, yes--CARPE DIEM! It is true that when Chris and I first were getting to know each other, I told him in all seriousness that I could be spontaneous if I had time to plan for it. Yet, he patiently led the way to help me embrace the idea of going with the moment and just seizing the joys of the day. Whether that meant (gasp) skipping class to go on a picnic with my boyfriend or ditching study time to go grab a Health Camp shake. Or--I just remembered this--the time we had a spontaneous Sunday picnic IN the middle of the circle (not an easy task)--thanks to a scheme of Michael Johnson. I am glad that my man continues to patiently lead out on this type of fun for the sake of our children! It's a good balance for this pragmatic planner.

INTENTIONAL challenge: I think my late teens and early 20's can be summed up with one idea. Just taste and see that the Lord is good. Try Him out--I dare you. Ask Him to show up in the middle of your mess. Ask Him to show his sufficiency. Rely on Him--see how faithful He can be. When life is hard and circumstances are bad--I can promise you this. God is good. And, God is enough. Think back. When has He shown up for you? Write it down so you can remind yourself of it next time a trial comes at you. Or as you ask Him to show up now, keep a pad and pencil handy!

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