It had been a year since I had seen the hill that stood before me. I knew the strength it took to climb it and I was hesitant. Do I really want to hurt and be exhausted the rest of the day? The muscle memory seemed to have not forgotten the pain of last year’s trek. But I knew the feeling of accomplishment that went with making it to the top. The view was breathtaking. So as I watched my kid’s and husband start-up I couldn’t say no. Mom needs to be brave too.
The beginning it wasn’t too bad. Adrenaline and excitement had me going at a pretty good pace, but then it got hard. Like really hard. Take two steps and stop because my heart was beating faster than my lungs could keep up with and my legs were burning. I looked down and could see I made it up a ways and then I looked up. Oh my goodness I’m not sure I will make it up there. By this point my oldest was almost to the top. He hadn’t stopped for air. Oh to be young and in shape.
This middle part of the climb was the hardest for me but the determined side of me didn’t want to give up. So I focused on what was in front of me and just took a step or two or three, stop and breathe and then go again. If I looked at the top for some reason it would get harder but if I stayed focused on just making progress even if it was slow I did better.
And then after step after step I looked up and I had about twenty more feet. The rest of my family was cheering and with a surge of energy I picked up speed and made it up quickly. Where that energy came from I don’t know, but I had made it to the top, alive! 🙂
Have you been to Pacific City, Oregon? If so, then you know the hill. If you haven’t been, I highly recommend going and climbing the big sand hill.
This climb it got me thinking about life. Maybe it’s just me but sometimes middles are hard. Think about when you start something it can be exciting. A new job, the start of a new year of school, getting licensed to take in children, a new ministry. We come in with some nerves yes but it’s new and we get excited to get going on our journey.
I have been there at the beginning of our foster care journey, the beginning years of homeschooling, or the beginning years of marriage or starting a family. Those beginnings are precious to me.
But now we are kind of in the middle of a lot things and sometimes I have to search for that excitement to keep going. I find myself longing for certain things to come to an end. When will we be able to adopt a child. I want to be in the courtroom where they say, will you love and care for this child as your own and then pronounce you the parents of a child you have loved on for months.
I think there are many reasons as to why middles become hard. Fatigue sets in, plans and expectations change and what we anticipated it being is not how the journey is playing out, conflict in relationships arise and it seems easier to veer off course then to stay on course. Health challenges take over or our fast paced culture of getting what you want when you want it sets in.
So how do we work through these mundane or messy middles? Well I’m not a pro by any means, but I’m learning there are a couple of things that can help.
One, ask the Lord to give you strength to take the next step. There was a time this past summer that I experienced a time of numbness. I had lost all passion for anything. I would daily ask the Lord for strength and for passion to come back. It took some time but He always gave strength to take the next step and still is.
Two, decide you are not going to give up. If God has called you to something it doesn’t mean it will be easy but He will equip you. I can tell you there have been moments I have wanted to give up on something that God has called me to. I have asked Him, why me? This person would do this so much better. Working for Him has been my greatest reward but I can tell you doing the Lord’s work is hard. The spiritual battles going on around us are very real when you are working for the King of Kings, but even in hard we can’t give up. We are called to persevere.
Three, don’t isolate yourself. Step into community. We are to pray and encourage one another. Find people who will be life givers versus those who keep your heart in the trenches.
And fourth which really should be first. Ask the Lord to fill you with Him. It’s the only way we can continue to pour out. We will become pretty empty if we are only relying on our own strength. Find scripture to memorize or find a quiet place to pray and be still.
Friend, are you in a middle? For most of us we are in the middle of something. That’s just part of life. May you find encouragement from this sister that you can do it. If you are going through something that is hard, or life is just feeling mundane. I pray that you would find strength in our Lord who sees you and has compassion for you and I pray that your passion for life would be revived.