Day 12: Holding On
Isaiah 40:31: But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint”
Psalms 32:7-8 You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance. I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my loving eye on you.
Happy Twelfth Day of Thanks Everyone!
I'm always grateful for the big and small things in life and can readily thank God for them. However, it is a completely different ball game when you have to turn that thanks into a vulnerable reflection and write about it. I have a list of themes on which I could have written today but for some reason none of them seemed to "fit" this day because it was meant for me to discuss this theme of thanks.
As I was talking to my friend Fabian and asked for some suggestions, he shared an experience that he had riding a horse for the first time by himself. He shared that at one point of the experience he was scared because he thought he was going to lose control and fall off the horse. But, he chose to hold on tight and draw closer to the horse so that he could become one with it. As he let go of his fear and got into the rhythm of the gallop, he started to enjoy himself and realized how much he loved the experience. "Now that's a sermon all by itself," I told him. He gave me two titles as suggestions on which to reflect: "Holding On" and "When life wants to gallop." "Aha," I thought! There it was. No escaping it! My thanks for today, whether I wanted to share about it or not, was supposed to be about holding on. God has a way of always confirming something and nudging one to answer the call of His heart.
I woke up to a dream this morning that showed me something beautiful and exciting in my future. Originally, I wanted to talk about the dream because I was so excited about what I saw. But, because it required me to be vulnerable ("the icky feeling of exposure"), I decided not to share and started to think of something else to share as a reflection. Then here comes Fabian with the titles "Hold On" and 'When Life Wants to Gallop' which leads me right back to my dream, it's vulnerability, and a nudge to share anyway.
Have you ever wanted something so badly and after many years of waiting for it to happen and not seeing it, you slowly start to give up on it? If you're like me, you've put up a barrier around your heart not to hope for that thing anymore. You may have even started to make declarations about it saying to the outside world that you "don't want it anymore" because it's too painful to hope for it. I haven't gotten to the point of declaring that I don't want it but it is painful to hope for it, especially not knowing when it will happen. I believe God, in His faithfulness, gives me little nuggets like my dreams to tell me that my somethings are coming and that I should still hold on to my desire for them, because they are going to happen. I'm always amazed at how my heart leaps at one of those nuggets, although there is no real timeframe attached to them. As much as I don't want to get my hopes up, I can't help myself. I start to believe again, when everything in my reality tells me to give up because of the long wait and the ever increasing hard work to pursue the dream. Talk about those that wait on the Lord get renewed strength!
I think my issue is that I find this "long wait" scenario to be true in so many aspects of my life. I could imagine, if it were in one aspect of my life, maybe it wouldn't be so hard to endure. But, when I assess my life: my career is still not exactly where I want it to be, I don't have the kind of wealth I want yet, I haven't met and married my king yet, Lilah is still not fully healed yet, and my ministry is still hidden. That's a lot of things to want to wave a white flag on! But, the nuggets keep coming and driving hope.
Yes, life is bumpy. While many things are beyond our control, God still has complete control of situational outcomes. I never thought while I was studying that I'd have to sacrifice my medical career to be a full time mom to my special needs child. I never thought I'd see my typically growing and developing child regress into aphasia and then autism. I never thought that at 7 and one half years old precoz puberty would bring about catamenial seizures on top of autism for my daughter. I never thought I'd spend over ten years fighting for a community center that would focus on health, education and the arts for my community. I never thought that it would take so long to get my book off the ground and have people buy or share it. Let's not even talk about love and marriage. In my mind, that should have happened over 15 years ago with a second male child over 10 years ago. (A biological child is definitely out of the question now and no longer on my list of desires!!!!)
For all these scenarios, I could have let the chaos of life completely overwhelm me. But, instead, I chose to lean in to life, hold on real tight through the storms, and find life's rhythm. I learned so many things on my journey with autism and epilepsy. My medical studies weren't wasted at all because it has been what has actually allowed me to get Lilah closer and closer to healing. I am now the queen of keto cooking and dieting (many things from scratch) after having Lilah on this diet for six years. I've been able to share with and help other families who are going through what I've went through. Concerning my career, I'm loving my community work and public health research. After ten years, we are finally closer to getting the building we want to be a community wellness center. The RFP was announced on Oct 6, 2022 and application deadline is January 2023. In those ten years, my organization has developed a tight environmental justice platform, established a community land trust, have done amazing research within our community and won several grants for our campaigns. After five years, Thirty Days of Thanks has a paperback book and an audiobook. The Thirty Days of Thanks journey is in it's fifth year and has given over thousands of dollars to amazing charities.
I don't have all that I want yet, but because I've held on, found my rhythm and am willing to put in the hard work to persistently pursue the dream, it will happen. The career will come. Lilah will be healed. Love will come. The money will come. I no longer worry about timeframes or setting deadlines of when it has to happen. I hold on to life. Now, I pray that God prepare me to be ready for the open doors when they come. After all, success happens when preparation meets opportunity.
Today as I give thanks for "holding on" I ask that you consider paying it forward to someone you know who is struggling or in need of something that you once needed and received. Last week, a friend shared with me that she wanted to get her media business and podcast off the ground but had no equipment and couldn't afford any. Last year for Christmas, my friends bought me basic podcasting equipment because they believe in me and want me to start my own podcast. That equipment allowed me to narrate, record, and produce my audio book. Soooooooooooo, Thirty Days of Thanks paid it forward and as a surprise we bought her some basic podcasting equipment (audio-tecnica microphone and headset). She should be receiving her presents within this week. I pray you consider paying it forward as well.
Have a Great Day of Thanks!