Staying Thankful: Focusing on the "here".

6:00 AM

I have a hard time focusing on the "here". As in, I'm always looking forward to something else. I'm always looking to the "there". Do you have the same problem?

As I mentioned in a personal post last month, we're going through a challenging period as a family. Clark tends to be gone more than he's home, and every time he's gone for a long stretch (we're a little over a month right now), I start imagining life when he's home for longer periods of time. I start thinking about "there", wishing that time would pass quickly by so it will be the first week of November, or will be a year or two later when we are at a different stage of life (hopefully).

When that happens I have to stop, breathe, and turn to God.

One of the worst words to me is "wait". At my women's Bible study right now we're doing Twelve Women of the Bible, and we just went through Amena Brown talking about Hannah. She said the word "wait" should be put in with all the other four-letter-words, and I would have to agree with her. I feel like I've done nothing but waiting for the past six years.

We waited for me to finish college, and I did.

We waited for things to work out so we could move and Clark could start school, and they did.

We waited for Michael to be born, and he was.

We waited for Clark to be in school, and he was.

We waited for Clark to get a job because he could no longer do school, and he did.

We are waiting for a different job, so we can be together as a family more consistently.

Wait. Wait. Wait. Wait.

You see what I mean? But in-between all of that waiting, we were flooded with blessings and plans that were clearly not our own unfolding. So many things that we wanted didn't work out and then we experienced better. So many things we weren't expecting happened but God saw us through them. Sometimes, when we're in another waiting room, I forget all the wonderful that we saw before when we were so anxiously focusing on where we were rather than what was happening due to God's Grace.

So what do you do when you're sick of waiting? When it feels like what you want is never going to come, and you want to scream and cry and get angry at God?

Stop, breathe, and cry out to Jesus.

I've touched on this before, but see these words of wisdom from Amena Brown.

"God doesn't want your happy face. He wants your real face. He wants you to be honest. He can handle it."

Waiting, well... it sucks. But what we have to keep reminding ourselves is that if we always focus on the "there", we really are missing out on some extraordinary things that are happening here and now.

When crying out doesn't seem like enough, whip out a sheet of paper (or open a note on your phone, or a document on your computer, or whatever) and start listing things you're thankful for. Ann Voskamp who wrote One Thousand Gifts had many life struggles, and turning to God and really putting in perspective just how blessed you are always reminds you that what you're waiting on, well... it can wait. God's timing is THE timing. It's not always never easy for me to remember that. But if I have learned anything over the past few years, it's that I really am blessed and I have so much to be thankful for.

I am thankful for Clark, Michael, for my friends, my family, and for Clark having a job. Without having things to do and people to share this life with, I really don't know what I'd do. Almost two weeks ago we had this sweet outing to a local park with two of our closest friends, and it just opened my eyes to the fact (once again), that all moments count for something.

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