Day 31: The End of our Journey

As we complete this series, I want to say thanks to you, Fellow Wanderers, for joining me on this journey. I hope you come away from our 31 days together feeling encouraged as you face the inevitable bumps on the path.

This month swelled deep and wide with beautiful gifts, but working through this journey day-by-day alongside you, was the greatest of them all. Let us continue to dream together about our future, rejoice in our present, and receive grace for our past.

You might be wondering what comes next. For now, I intend to take a few days off from this lovely little space and spend some time thinking and praying about my next steps on this writing journey. I also plan to catch up on my ironing and Downton Abbey. Chocolate chip muffins may also be involved. And for you? I hope you might dream bigger, laugh harder, and take the next step in your journey with ever increasing courage. Together, let’s link arms and swap stories, as we walk each other home.

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Day 30: Grace for the Journey

It took a lot of grace for me to make it to day 30 of this series. You offered grace to me when you showed up to read, and God lent me even more by keeping me sane for the better part of it. I find as I write, I have to live everything twice. Once in real life and then again on the page. Writing about the journey as I’m actively living my own required me to re-visit a lot of junk and live the rest of it out in real time. Some of my paths look a little messy at the moment, and I suspect yours might too.

Grace is defined as unmerited favor. I return to this definition of grace most often because it reminds me that I can’t earn my way into it. God extends grace as a gift. His favor–His mercy, compassion, and privilege–are not promised when I choose the path well, or when I make it to the end of the journey without stumbling. Grace doesn’t show up when I tick all the boxes, and love all the right people, and remain steadfast in faith and courage. God offers grace for the everyday. For the times I stumble here and fail there, for when I refuse to move forward or fight to go back.

Favor, unmerited, every single day.

Thank God.

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Day 29: Rest for the Journey

I grew up in a family of hard-working folk. There isn’t a lazy one among us, however once we finish the work, there isn’t much energy left for anything else. As introverts, no one ever accused us of being over-committed, over-involved, or over-stimulated. My husband grew up in a family that never met a hobby, person, or extra-curricular activity they didn’t like. They are extroverted, high-functioning people with a few ADHD’ers thrown in to liven things up at the annual family Christmas party.

When I married my husband, my Dad gave me this piece of advice “Honey, don’t try to keep up with him. It will burn you out. Just let him do his thing.”

Truth.

I tend to surround myself on my life journey with high-functioning people. My best friend once told me “I’ll rest when I’m dead” and my husband once famously referred to me as “medium-functioning”. I know, sometimes there are no words. These are my people, and I invite them in hoping their superior high-functioning-ness  will rub off on me, and other times I hope they’ll take come up with the grand ideas, the know how, and the energy to see them through, while I sit in my hollowed out spot on the sofa pretending to have an opinion.

I believe I require a lot of rest, but too often I mistake inertia of the body for rest of the spirit. My mind doesn’t stop. Ever. I can’t turn the incessant internal chatter off and I often think if I sit still enough or watch enough TV or go for a long enough run, I will find rest. At times I do, but it’s as short-lived as the activity.

This journey can wear us out. The work, the people, the never saying no, the hobbies, the thoughts, the stories, and the obscene amount of laundry can make rest seem unlikely at best and impossible at worst. I want to learn how to embrace the necessity for rest, while remaining engaged in the work and play of life. Tara wrote beautifully about it here, and my soul recognizes this call to rest.

I don’t have any answers, really. I only want to acknowledge the need and see where my heart goes from here. How do you find rest on your journey? Do you need more physical rest, or do you long for the rest of a weary soul?

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Day 28: Change for the Journey

When I signed up to run the half-marathon today, I didn’t plan on temperatures plunging into the 20’s. I also didn’t plan for snow. I thought of last year’s running shorts and the sun-kissed view of the lake and I emailed race officials my entry. I then spent eight weeks, many hours, and my extremely limited supply of energy training for a race I might not run. I’d love to sound all poetic and profound here, but let’s be real.

Change sucks.

Especially when you work hard to stay on your current path, keeping the finish line of your journey firmly within sight, and without warning something causes you to pull up short as the path falls away beneath your feet. A change in weather patterns rates fairly low on suckable situations, but job loss doesn’t. Illness brings us right low. As does a wayward child, an unfaithful spouse, a bad decision, or a lost friendship.

Change softens.

It refines and reshapes us into something new, but only if we allow it. Change can teach us love or hate, judgement or grace. It leads us to self-pity or it leads us to prayer. It can file down our sharpest edges and rub us raw until a tenderness of the soul appears.

Change saves.

Some change removes us from the wrong path and places us on the right one. The broken engagement that saved us from a more broken marriage, the loss of a job we hate leading to the discovery of a career we love, the unexpected pregnancy with its equally unexpected joys.

I’d like to say our response to change is a matter of perspective, but I don’t think we can always”perspective” our way into a new journey, especially if the change is life-altering. I think then, it becomes a matter of faith. Do we have the faith to see ourselves coming through to the other side, walking a new path, succeeding on a different journey? We might only see as far as the next step, but faith helps us to take the first one, then another, and a few more until the path rises to meet us.

May the path rise to meet you today.

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PS After much debate and a full twenty minutes of staring out the glass doors willing the weather to change, I decided to run the race today. My husband and kids stood pink-nosed in the snow, shaking mini-maracas, and cheering me on. They are all kinds of awesome and deserve finisher medals of their own.

Day 27: Inspiration for the Journey

“Many people die with their music still in them. Why is this so? Too often it is because they are always getting ready to live. Before they know it, time runs out.” ~
Oliver Wendell Holmes

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