There has been a theme pounding in my head for many days in a row. MANY.
Face reality. Deal with reality.
It's like those crazy numbers on the ceiling at night. Kevin's vision has declined greatly over the years and mine is heading that way as well, so last Christmas I bought one of those atomic clocks that projects the time and temperature on the ceiling in large enough numbers that Kev doesn't have to scramble around to find his glasses to check the time on the normal display or on his phone. In other words, lots less things get knocked off the nightstand now!
They stare at me with reality.
I hate winter. I hate winter. OK----I was taught not to say I *hate* anything. So, I have a very great, exceedingly abundant disdain for the frigid, brutal months that are stretching out before us that have started earlier than normal. Who am I kidding? I hate winter. I sometimes wonder what in the world Kevin must have done to convince me that we needed to move north when our requests with his headhunter had been to stay in TN or move further south when job searching. Yep, God must have been laughing when that phone call came through that started the ball rolling to move us...north. Now, I will admit that this time of year DOES have its perks (snuggles, fireplace, hot tea and hot chocolate, hoodies, blankets, and LOTS more snuggling). I even do enjoy a BIT of the snow---it's beautiful when it's falling from the sky and when it blankets the world in a fresh new innocence. It has its moments of joy and memories. But....I still....hate it. Sorry, Teresa, I'll rephrase that more apprioriately----I strongly dislike it.
The numbers on the ceiling have been reminding me of reality. Waking up and seeing that flash of 8, 10, 20....or whatever the way too cold numbers have already been early in November has been a HUGE dose of reality.
I want to hide from it.
I want to unplug the clock so I don't see those projections.
I can pull up another blanket or find another still warm spot on Kevin and wiggle in closer. But...
Reality is still there.
It's going to be cold.
It's going to get colder. Much colder.
This week as I've seen those numbers, God has been at work in my heart.
Reminding me that reality is sometimes hard, shocking, or not necessarily what we planned or hoped for, but it's reality and it has to be dealt with.
We've had some medical scares and wake up calls in recent months.
We've had the very vivid reality face us that time is moving on at lightning speed.
We've seen multiple families facing extreme medical crisis in recent weeks. We've seen countless friends be faced with heart-wrenching situations that are pulling apart their homes, marriages, and lives.
Yesterday, we got a phone call that a very precious family member is facing a very scary medical crisis. A very vivid reminder once again of how very far away home feels when crisis hits. A reminder of how important it is to make sure you love well, love deeply, and love without hesitation. Just a realignment of priorities, focus, and a gut check of faith. Reality that, once again, things are changing.
We've recently had to deal with some marriages ending with family members---and learning to navigate how that changes things and what our new roles will be, how to support and encourage all parties, etc... New territory. In other cases, some relationships have ended and in some others, new ones have started. Shifting and changing.
Wednesday, after 13+ years of home education, our daughter completed her last final. She's finished. Reality is here. There are more posts to come on that topic when my mind can wrap around the feelings I have about that! :) But reality is this: it's a new season. It's going to be a beautiful and AMAZING season, but that doesn't negate the reality of the closure of another one.
The list of different "big" things going on could continue....
But instead of looking at those, I want to focus on what reality brings.
Reality is facing truth.
THAT situation is here for a reason. God is good and HE can be trusted. I may not understand or like it---but there is no doubt that He has a plan and a purpose. My limited vision just can't always see what that is.
THAT person may NEVER show the love and acceptance I desire (or support, or ask for forgiveness, or any number of things....). Reality is this: I am responsible for how I react and my own heart. Not his/hers/theirs. THAT person is responsible for his/her actions and truth is, many times they are clueless to hurt they are inflicting on others. They are too wrapped up in their own pain, walking their own path, and are oblivious. Reality may be that I will never measure up to that person, my choices will never make them happy, or I may never find acceptance. Reality is this: it's THEIR problem. My reality is how I respond. What I do with that hurt. What I do with my reactions.
THAT relationship may NEVER be fulfilling or meet the needs that we feel like we deserve to be met. BUT...HE is the only one that can EVER meet every need and fill in every gap of our heart. Our spouse can't. Our friends can't. Our parents can't. Hurt is real. Scars are deep. Yet, He is the healer. He is the strength. He is the one that can hold a broken heart together with hope, acceptance, grace, mercy and UNCONDITIONAL love. He is the only one that can complete us. Reality is accepting that. Looking elsewhere for that full completion puts way too much pressure on another individual and sets them up for failure.
THAT new situation may be scary. It may be TOTALLY not what we expected. Yet, He is there to walk the path with us. Leading. Guiding.
THAT old situation may be frustrating and HARD. Yet, He has never abandoned. He never has failed. He has never left us alone.
THAT situation may require us to step out in faith, make some hard changes, or require some things that terrify---but HE is there with an outstretched hand if our eyes are FIXED on HIM.
THAT situation may be brought on by our own sin, our own mistakes, or our own poor choices. His forgiveness, grace, and mercy wash us clean. Yet, we still have to walk in the consequences. But...we don't walk alone and the things He teaches along the way are powerful.
THAT situation may be a result of refining. Refining, chiseling, reshaping, purifying---they aren't easy places to be. BUT---reality is that the final product is beyond our wildest dreams.
THAT situation may leave us feeling alone, abandoned, or ostracized from the "world". Yet, reality is that those situations are the ones that bring us closest to Him.
THAT situation may require some changes in us. We may have to make choices for our physical or emotional health that aren't comfortable. They may require us to do things that go against bad habits that we don't think we can break. I saw a facebook or instagram picture this week that said: "The first step to getting anywhere is deciding you're no longer willing to stay where you are." We're finding ourselves in THAT place on multiple levels right now and are beginning to take those steps. Whether it be health related, something in relationships, or something on an emotional level.
Reality is this...
Life causes us to have to confront some things we don't necessarily want to.
I don't want to confront the winter that has arrived much too early. I don't want to see those negative numbers on my ceiling. I don't want to deal with the brutal wind, the depressing gray days (yes, Dad----I'll be hitting up the Vitamin D supplements as I promised!), the inconveniences, the travel nightmares, the heating bills, etc.... BUT----I don't want to miss out on the beautiful things in life while I wait for the spring to come. Life is going to happen around me whether I am buried under the covers or whether I'm fully engaged in life around me.
Life ,with its situations and tough times, is the same thing. Bury under or engage? Let life pass by and hide....or face it square on with the power of heaven behind me?
Many times I've taken the duck and cover approach. I've slid into the darkness of despair or the chains of bitterness.
Missed blessings. Missed opportunities. Missed moments of being at the feet of Jesus. Many missed moments with being fully engaged and present in the lives of my children/husband.
That's no way to live. Because that's not living.
So, I'm bundling up. Turning up the heat (after all, I did concede and turn it on before my yearly quest to make it to Thanksgiving due to my frugalness---what choice did I have when the house was consistently below 60!). Adding layers of warmth. Just being brave. :)
Time to do that with "life" as well.
Digging into Scripture and His promises. Surrounding myself with those that speak hope and truth into my life. Allowing Him to work in my heart and chisel---even though painful. Learning to trust more. Seeking Him more. Trusting more. Shutting out the negative voices. Trusting Him more. (Are you seeing a pattern....apparently I have trust issues...ha!)
Facing reality. Not hiding under the covers figuratively speaking (though literally speaking, this is being typed from underneath a mound of blankets!). Maybe I'll even venture out IN THE SNOW this year for more than just 2.2 seconds at a time. Maybe. Just maybe.