“But those who trust in the LORD will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:29-31
Having recently watched the Olympics, I liken my life lately to the event called the Luge where the athlete throws themselves onto a small plastic square before hurtling down a sheet of ice along the way praying that they don’t smash into the walls or flip over or have a catastrophic equipment failure. Every morning I get up, trip over the starting line only to find myself finishing the race battered and bruised, wondering what happened to my sled all the while picking ice slivers out of my nether regions.
Truth be told I never signed up for the winter Olympics. I don’t like the cold. I don’t even own a snowsuit. When I left home I was headed for the summer Olympics. I brought shorts with flip flops. There was suntan lotion in my luggage. I even had a pedicure so that everyone would be impressed by my cute toes. Socks were not on my shopping list.
Yet here I am. Standing in the snow with my flip flops on. Freezing. Nose running, finger numbing, just put me out of my misery cold.
Years ago I read a story titled Welcome To Holland. It describes what it feels like to suddenly find yourself dealing with a child with disabilities. Each time I come to a place in my life that is not where I planned to be, I recall that story. This isn’t what I wanted. I did not sign up for this trip. I did not bring anything with me so that I can enjoy my surroundings. I feel so exposed. So vulnerable. So cold.
I left last year with every intention of heading into a new direction with my writing. New people, new places, new things. Excitement wrapped itself around me as I headed out into the bright sunshine. But within days I found myself on a whirlwind trip down a path filled with blind turns and high walls while an increasingly heavy snowstorm blanketed the world around me. As each step became harder, I slowly came to a halt, unable to move forward as the unbearable cold seeped into my soul leaving me surrounded by the darkest of shadows.
To my surprise the shadows turned into women who wrapped my shivering body in warm blankets, pressing hot coffee into my frozen hands. Gently I was led to an inviting house I had not noticed on my wild ride down the slope. The snap and crackle of a fire brightened the room chasing shadows into the corners. Voices clamored together softly as prayers were offered over my weak state. The weariness melted away. Soon I found myself dressed in appropriate attire for cold weather. Thankfully my strength had returned as I realized I had to head back outside.
But this time I was ready. I was prepared. I faced the freezing cold of my journey knowing that, while I had not intended to arrive at the winter Olympics, I could now move forward to view the events taking place without fear. Better than that, I had guides; new friends who showed me the hidden beauty of my new surroundings. My trust in them made each step easier. Soon, instead of careening wildly down the slope, I only occasionally hit the wall. I realized that perhaps, while I still dislike the cold, the path was becoming a little easier to navigate.
I don’t know how long I will have to stay in this season or in this place. I have begun to venture out occasionally, becoming stronger as I lean on the One who knows when the cold of winter will recede, leaving the warmth of spring in its place. I still slip. I still fall. I still try to wear my flip flops when I should have on my overshoes. Some days I find myself flailing wildly. Just before I fall on my face, strong hands reach out to steady me. To stand with me. To whisper words of encouragement. To be His hands and feet. To share the warmth of His love. I am grateful for these people whose lives are spent in the cold of winter for without them I would not have the strength to continue.
Father God, the Everlasting God, Your love and mercy wraps itself around me. I pray that I will continue to learn on You. I pray that Your strength will deliver me from the weakness that threatens to overwhelm me. Let me take care of Your child. Let my heart be open to Your Spirit as I take this journey down an unfamiliar path. Let doors be opened to doctors who can heal, to wise counsel, to increased moments of clarity. Show me what I need to do. Open the hearts of those who walk with me. Let the words of those who do not understand slip past me unheard. Cover me in Your precious grace that I am in need of. In Christ I lay my life before You. You have given me this task and I pray that I will cross the finish line having completed all You have asked of me. In Christ I pray, Amen
For a season I must lay my writing down. I have no doubt that my Adonai will allow me to take it up again someday. But for now He has asked me to care for a family member with overwhelming personal issues that require my full attention. Our family has been thrust into a world we knew nothing about. I would ask for your prayers on our behalf. I am so grateful for the friends who have stepped up to share this journey with us. There will come a time when I know God will let me share the issues but for now I can only say that without God we could not take one more step. Our needs go unspoken but God knows them.