Monday, July 20, 2015

Making Room

Today I will meet with my boss, a woman I admire, respect, and genuinely care about, to surrender a perfect job I was led to, have loved, and been so perfectly suited for.  12 weeks of medical leave have come and gone, which boggles my mind a bit.  The day I came home on medical leave I thought I’d be out for a couple of weeks, they’d "fix me," and I’d be back at work and good as new before I knew it.  Today, however, I have to really let go.  I’m turning in my work iPhone, my access badge, my company credit card, cleaning out my darling office.  My company was only required to hold my position for 12 weeks and it is unfair to ask them to wait any longer.  If I knew an end was in sight, I would ask them to hold on for a little longer, that I’d be able to come back after surgery, treatment, etc.  But there’s no surgery, no treatment, and no recovery timeline.  Letting go of this is so very hard, and I know I will grieve.  Leaving behind so many genuine friends and work that made the best use of my gifts and talents. Feels so final.  So now my calendar we be open for what’s next.  And God keeps impressing on my heart that He is “making room.” 

Last week I packed up much of my former life.  I spent time going through my closet, pulling out things I don’t love, don’t make me feel like a million dollars when I wear them, don’t work with where my life is currently going or  (sadly)don’t fit anymore. I had a giant black garbage bag for Goodwill donations and a plastic storage tub for, well, the “clothes on hold.”  The tub is now filled with pencil skirts, blazers, dress trousers, blouses, sheath dresses, button up shirts, sleek pointy-toe pumps, and memories.  The things I won’t be wearing in this new phase.  Wouldn’t make much sense to dress like I’m going to a business meeting to sit on the couch and write my blog.  Or to go to the doctor.  Or on my outings to Trader Joe’s. My closet is cleaned out of the things that would remind me of where I've been and make me long for that again as I move into the next piece of my story. The plastic bin of lovely workplace fashion will wait in my garage, as I make room for something else.  

All the other radical left turns my life has taken over the past several years have always been God leading me to a defined next step, something different that was fairly clear and tangible.  This isn’t.  Which is so strange.  So I am here at this strange crossroads of limbo, unsure of what my next phase will be.  As of right now, it could just feel like empty space.  I choose not to focus, though, on my lack of a 5 year plan (or one month plan for that matter).  I will dwell in the present, ready to listen, to hear, to be still, and I will look ahead to what's next, trusting that whatever He is making room for will be for my best. I will wait on the Lord’s leading as He makes room. 

But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead,  I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
-Philippians 3:13b-14

Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.

 -Psalm 27:4

Thursday, July 16, 2015


In most of my adult life I’ve been trying to impress someone.  Someone I worked for/with, some cute boy in high school (who actually did marry me, by the way), teachers/professors, my friends, my frenemies, someone in my church, total strangers, people I didn't even like, extended family, parents, husband, children, my kids’ friends’ parents, ministry leaders. 

I always felt the driving need to prove that I am “something (you fill in the blank) enough.”  Thin enough.  Fashionable enough. Fit enough.  Smart enough.  Well-read enough.  Home decorated well enough.  Home clean enough.  Kids well behaved enough.  Working hard enough.  Doing enough at church. Doing enough in general.  Creative enough.  Cool enough.  Pretty enough.  Spiritual enough.  Innovative enough.  Involved enough. Striving, striving, striving.  So much of how I felt about myself and my success was tied to someone else’s evaluation (real or imagined) of how well I’m doing. 

Now, in this strange/purifying season in which I currently live, I find that I am not trying to impress anyone for the first time in my life.  What an odd freedom.  I feel as though I am… enough.  I can’t DO enough, but the being still that is hallmark in my life is enough in this season.  All the other standards of evaluation fall away. 

I have set aside so much of my (considerable) pride in this season, not giving a second thought to using my new handy-dandy folding cane chair (we’ve come up with several creative names for it, including Cane-ye West, Cane-y Perry, John McCane, Cane-y Poehler) when needed, or riding in an electric cart in Target on a particularly bad day, or *gasp* asking for help.  Not worried about how anyone else sees me or judges me.  Again, so much freedom. 

Do I know what the next steps will look like?  Nope.  But I have found a place of freedom and contentment in spite of that.  I am enough because what God is doing in me is enough.  Sitting with my husband at breakfast, chatting and sharing coffee is enough.  Quiet times with my young adult kids just being there (something that is short-lived, I am painfully aware) is enough.  Sweet time with a precious friend is enough.  My slow pace is enough.  

Being in God’s presence, not running, not striving, is enough.  

Sunday, July 5, 2015


The past three days have been hard.  Very hard.  Feeling particularly bad since last Thursday and disappointed/frustrated in my lack of improvement.  Not my favorite.  But last night one of my dearest friends and closest confidantes in the wide world, one who sees me, knows me, and knows my struggle, challenged me to write something every day about how I am blessed or what I was thankful for. Not easy today, but a much needed paradigm shift.  So here it goes.  One blessing for each of these very difficult three days and one extra for tomorrow:

  1. I am beyond thankful for my husband of 25 years who stands with me and supports me through the hardest things.  He listens to my pain, sits with me when I cry, and loves me regardless.  He helps me wherever he can and encourages me when there are things only I can do.  I honestly don’t know how I would keep going without him. 
  2. Air conditioning.  It’s July in the Sacramento Valley.  Enough said.
  3. 3Exactly-the-right-level-of-ripe nectarines from a roadside fruit stand, just a few miles and a few hours removed from the trees that grew them.  Golden perfect reminder of teen summers spent working at a nectarine ranch fruit stand.
  4.  People from all phases of my life, near and far, who have reached out to me to encourage me in this part of my journey, share their own stories, and give me solutions/thoughts that worked for them.  It means the world that you would take the time to communicate and let me know you hear me, you see my challenges, and you care. 

The point in all of this is that God is good and faithful no matter what is hard in my world.  To quote my friend Susie, even on bad days, “There’s a lot of good.”

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” 

2 Corinthians 4:8-9