The Summer That Seemed Endless.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

The Endless Summer. A classic. 1966. Crossing the globe in search of the perfect wave. Relaxing. Adventurous. Exciting. The perfect summer. I wish that this was my summer.

My endless summer was not marked with excitement. Adventure. Or relaxing. It was met with waves, waves that knocked me over again and again. Waves that toss me into the jagged rocks of the shore. Rocks that tear your "flesh" and cause anguish, heartache and pain. The type of repetition that causes exhaustion to the point of stopping the fighting against the push towards hurt and allow yourself to be hit over and over again. I only wish that this was a slight exaggeration.

I have longed and missed the happiness of life. I have struggled to simply see the joy that God has given me. I know that it is there. I know that it is tangible because it is from the LORD, therefore I know it has never left. I just cannot see it. It's completely on me. I miss just laughing. Having fun. Enjoying life. Those are not characteristics that have marked the last few months.

This summer has been relentlessly brutal, but it has been yet another growing experience in our lives as individuals, in our marriage and in our family. I would not change the circumstances which make this our endless summer for anything, but it would definitely be nice to have it end.

The Summer That Seemed Endless. 
Because its tendencies have not ended. They are thriving. Strong. Harsh. Brutal. Steadfast.

1. Catapulted into chaos. On April 19th I boarded a plane bound for Ethiopia, I would not board another plane for 8 weeks. It wasn't technically summer on April 19th, but I would end up there through the start of summer (so that counts as the beginning of my summer). In the grand scheme of life, it was not a huge amount of time, but it seems to set our axis off its kilter in such a way that really affected all of us and still does to this very moment. I missed my kids last day of school and all of our last day of school rituals that started when Ash finished kindergarten. I missed those first sweet moments of summertime, sitting in the backyard with my kiddos, reading, going slow for a few weeks of the season. I lost big moments that I can never get back because I was not there to experience them. These moments became moments missed moments and it shattered my heart. It's difficult when hard is the beginning of something.  My summer was catapulted into chaos due to our circumstances and that chaos has not seemed to end.

2. Experiencing hardship. I am lacking. I have failed to focus on Jesus. I have failed to trust well. I am not opposed to hardship. I have learned to welcome it's presence in my life because I have finally seen how it allows me to turn to Jesus, refining my heart and soul. That being said, I still cannot believe my response to that hardship that continues to hit me wave after wave after wave. I felt like in Ethiopia I was able to completely fall to my knees and give it to Jesus. But that repetition of anguish, heartache and pain has not driven me closer. It sometimes seems to have beaten me emotionally to the point that I cannot turn to Jesus. I wrestle with that struggle daily. Why can I not always run to Jesus when it is hard? Why does it take so long to drop to my knees and give it all to Jesus? Why do i lack that ability to do away with fear and frustration and just stop and seek Jesus? "It Is Well" by Bethel Music has come to mind over and over again. I have listened to it on repeat. Over and over again I am drawn to the line, "So let go my soul and trust in Him, the waves and wind still know His name". The waves and wind still know his name. The waves that beat me into rocks- they know his name. The waves that drag me out- they know his name. The wind that makes the waves bigger still- know his name.

3. Constant battle. I have jokingly referred to this summer as the summer of fighting. The summer that most of my children decided it was time to become gladiators and battle each other over small, senseless issues. I cannot tell you the amount of times I have said, "everyone sit on the couch". The couch has become our family meeting spot. It is where we have our "come to Jesus" talks. Well, where I give them a come to Jesus talk. It's where I beg them to "stick together", to bless one another and to walk well through all of the hard that is defining our lives in this moment. I have struggled deeply with not encouraging them enough, not showing them Jesus enough, not praying blessings over them enough. I have watched friends send their kids off to college with profound blessing spoken over them and I am riddled with guilt. I have not done that well with my kids. I have not prayed deeply over them. I have not spoken over them in a way that drives them towards Jesus. I am failing. From the outside, maybe I am not, but I promise you, within the walls of our home, I am.

4. It is okay to not be okay. I am not okay and that truly is okay. Hardship is promised. Ease is not. As we wait tirelessly for a new job, we hurt. As we wait for healing, we hurt. As we wonder what is going to come next, we hurt. We long for change. We long for something to give. We long for anything to simply seem better. In the midst of it all, I am choosing to trust Jesus in these times of hurt. In these moments of not being okay I am choosing to trust what God is doing because God is doing something new. I am trusting in that with all my heart and soul. "Behold I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?" Isaiah 43:11 

I am not sure what your summer has looked like or if the waves that seem defeating have stopped, calming the storms that beat you into the rocks of the shore, but I do know something... you are not alone. Last October I wrote this blog post called KISS THE WAVE. As hard as it is, we must learn to turn and kiss that wave that throws us closer into relationship with Jesus. That causes that hurt, anguish and pain because it turns us towards Jesus. I truly feel like I have no other choice other then to turn to Jesus because the other choice could be tragic.

"I have learned to kiss the waves that throw me into the Rock of Ages." Charles Spurgeon

I am turning and kissing the waves that continue to throw me closer to Jesus. Demanding a deeper understanding of who I am in Jesus. The summer that would never end is coming to an end. The season anyway. However, the waves continue to come. They continue to be brutal and not let up. They continue to hurt and cause pain and anguish. They have become my constant. I continue to turn to them and kiss them.  Because God is molding us. Shaping us. Sharpening us. Creating in us a new construct that will make us stronger. So while I would love for the waves to end, for the things of life to relax, become more of an adventure, we are choosing to see that God is doing something new. Can you perceive it?

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