On the route that I run I see this yellow road sign
I’ve often thought about how this sign applies to my life and have wished that I could adequately express this notion. So today I’m going to write about how I’ve been feeling lately to try to process some emotions.
I have limited sight distance in my life. I wish that I could have this sign in my yard or wear it on a t-shirt. People in my life need to understand that I don’t have all the answers and I can only see a small distance in front of me. I wish I knew what was going to happen next, but I don’t. This is especially hard for my son Joseph to understand. He, because of his autism, likes to know EVERYTHING about an activity, experience or opportunity BEFORE it happens. He needs organization, detail and almost constant coaching through things. He HATES to hear the words “I don’t know”. I hate having to say them because I know the reaction I’m going to receive. I try to use picture or written schedules with him. We try to practice things in advance or talk through different scenarios. His ability to adapt is improving and I’m excited and hopeful that as he continues to mature his social skills and comfort in group situations will increase.
My other children are asking questions about “Why did we move to WA?”, or saying things like “It feels like we aren’t accomplishing what we came here to do Mom and Dad.” “How long are we going to live here?”, and “Will things ever change?” are also questions that we hear. These things are very hard to measure for two ten-year olds that are missing their friends in NC, struggling for connection and dealing with unmet expectation. I can’t relate because as a military “brat” I knew that moving was our lot in life and that it had a scheduled time frame. This is so different.
Missional work is very challenging and I’m not sure we are adequately equipped, but we feel called to serve here in WA and to come alongside the faith family at Restoration Church Mukilteo. We are all missing the comfort and predictability of NC and are looking forward to a visit this summer. We have lived in WA for 13 months, but it isn’t home yet. Today once again I am forced to retreat to living “One day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time…accepting hardship as a pathway to peace.”
Limited…I can’t see the future. I don’t know what’s going to happen. I only know who holds the future. I can rest and trust in my relationship with God. Jesus Christ has proven Himself faithful to me time and time again and I believe His word to be infallible and relevant to my life today. I believe that Jesus wants me to walk in expectant dependence upon Him and allow the Holy Spirit to guide my days. Proverbs 3:5-6 states “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make straight your paths.” So it’s ok that it’s limited…I can’t see the way, but I won’t fail because God is guiding me.
There is a saying that goes “Hindsight is 20/20”. I think what they are getting at is when you look back at the past you can see a situation more clearly. Perhaps there has been a lesson learned and applied. However, it is dangerous to spend too much time in the past. Even IT has limited sight distance. Details are forgotten. The mind can play tricks and things can be changed to fit into our life now or remembered in a way that makes us feel better about the past or ourselves. The past should be used to help us live a better present and to shape our future in a positive way. I’ve spent time revisiting my past through Celebrate Recovery and for the most part have dealt with the “demons”. Occasionally things pop up and as I’m haunted by the past I try and remind myself once again that I have poor vision. I pray for clarity to see my past, present and future through the lenses of grace and forgiveness.
There are days that the struggle is more real, more palpable. This dream, this blog, this weight loss journey….I feel as if it is slipping through my fingers like sand. I haven’t been able to have guest writers/bloggers, I haven’t kept any weight off since I started. In fact I’ve been at the same weight for almost a year and a half. I simply cannot have lasting success or get the numbers to budge and the number of people who follow my blog/like my FB page are fewer than I had hoped. I don’t have the time or funds to pursue this like I would truly like to and I’m becoming discouraged.
The methods I have used to measure my success or the success of my children (our home school) have been flawed and I’m praying for new perspective. It’s so hard to know if I’m doing a good job, a great job parenting, leaving a legacy, making a difference in five little people’s lives. This includes things like multiplication, long division, washing their hands before meals, being respectful of their elders and learning to make friends. It also encompasses do they know that Jesus loves them, do they have character traits that mimic a Christ follower, and are they honest.Test scores can’t measure all of that! The days of crying, screaming, wiping butts, cleaning up spills and staying buried in mountains of laundry aren’t telling me what I want to hear/see and I’m feeling inadequate ONCE AGAIN. But there is this still small voice reminding me….”Janelle you have limited sight distance. Just because Jesse and JoyAnn can’t seem to get along today doesn’t mean that they won’t be friends as adults. Yes, JoyAnn constantly leaves her dirty socks ALL over the house, but there will be a day when you won’t have to remind her 100 times/day. Joseph’s quality of life cannot be measured by the same standards and you must have faith that he experiences things that bring him joy even if he cannot communicate that adequately. James and Jonathan won’t always be unable to bathe themselves or wipe their own bottoms. HANG IN THERE…you have limited sight distance.”
When running, I’m always careful at the place where this sign is because I know cars/drivers have a difficult time in that area and I want to be as safe as possible. This reminds me that even though they know their destination and how to get there, there is a blind spot in that area of the trip. That’s how I’m feeling today. I know that my destination, my eternal home is heaven. Right now I just feel a little blinded by reality. I feel a bit distracted and am having to focus on every next step, knowing that I MUST walk by faith and not by sight. There is a heightened sense of awareness. However, I don’t want to live in a state of anxiety as I am prone to do and overcorrect making a blind spot become even more dangerous. I can exercise caution in both my physical and mental lives without becoming too obsessed.
To get through the spot where there is limited sight distance one must GO FORWARD. That’s what I’m doing. I’m not going to quit. I’m going to keep running, keep exercising, keep blogging and sharing, keep praying, keep memorizing, keep reading, keep crying, keep laughing, keep loving and living. Nothing can keep me from teaching, learning, growing, helping, and practicing. This is a temporary blind spot, but it feels dark. Emotionally, mentally, spiritually, physically I feel limited. A friend of mine told me months back “Feelings are damn liars”. Today I believe that. I can’t go by my feelings. I must go by the TRUTH. The TRUTH is a person. His name is Jesus and He DOESN’T have limited sight distance. He knows how my story will end.
My thoughts are jumbled. I’m not as eloquent as I would like to be in expressing myself. I pray though that anyone that reads my meager mumblings would be drawn to His story through me. I’m not who I want to be but I’m not who I WILL be either. I can’t see that final picture because of my limited sight, but my Bible tells me that I have the promise of hearing “Well done…” if I can complete the race and bring honor to Him. Holding onto another nugget of truth today in Phil. chapter 3 vs. 12-21 “Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you. Only let us hold true to what we have attained. Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.
Even in the limited, dark areas of my journey I pray that with confidence, boldness and grace I can keep progressing. Thanks for being a part of my journey….~Janelle