Work, Leadership, and Grace

Since leaving my previous job, I have had much more time and opportunity to write. I feel so much better about what I’m doing. Although my income may only come from my adjunct teaching positions, I definitely feel like I am working; I feel busy. For the first time in months, I am happy with my work.

I’ve had the chance to write things I enjoy writing, to pour myself into what I write, and to truly believe in what I’m working on. I’ve begun a short story series—Part 1 and Part 2 of which can be found here–which has given me the chance to experiment with my writing. I’ve actually started working on my memoir, which is something I never thought I’d do.

About two months ago, I submitted an article for the Virginia Maryland Washington D.C. Dog Magazine. The article was on how Belle helps me navigate and cope with my anxiety and depressive symptoms and episodes. This month, that article was officially published in the magazine.

Some of my writing assignments have been articles for the web portion of a local women’s professional and lifestyle magazine. The past week I have been working on two articles that highlight women in powerful positions in their profession—the Superintendent for the National Fire Academy, who is also the first female to hold her position, and the President/CEO of a county hospital in a neighboring area. Interviewing these two women has given me particular insight into leadership.

In my previous experience of having a direct supervisor (outside of academia that is), the supervisor acted more as a manager than a leader. I felt I was intensely and unfairly criticized. I was inadvertently told I could not be trusted to do my job. Because of the treatment I endured, I stopped trusting my own abilities, and it became a cycle.

In interviewing these women, I was taken back to my negative experience. Not because they mirrored that experience, but because they were so different. While each woman had her own way of responding to the interview questions, the themes were similar: community, “do not forget where you come from,” mentorship, and leading—not managing—your workforce. I couldn’t help but reflect. Here, I thought, are supervisors who know how to be leaders.

One of the things I took from these interviews was the concept of leading by example and learning through mistakes. These women don’t just tell others what to do or how to do it. They show their employees—through previous experience, commitment, and communication. I wondered if my experience at my previous job—personal situation aside—would have been better if my supervisor had exhibited different behavior.

. . . . . .

I teach about leadership in the Small Group Communication course I instruct, so I’m familiar with leadership from a theory and academic standpoint, but also from positive and negative personal experience. There’s one ultimate leader example, though, that I always think of but is usually frowned upon to discuss in academics: Jesus.

Jesus is the ultimate portrayal of leading by example and learning through mistakes. He tells his disciples and the people what they are to do, but He also shows them. He shows genuine love and compassion for others. He shows the people how to have faith. He also shows plenty of forgiveness to those who have strayed.

I found it interesting that as I was working on this piece we started a new series at church: “Jesus Is ____”. I had a plan for this particular post, but today’s sermon changed that, and, actually, it’s more connected than I thought.

Today, the series kicked off with “Jesus is grace and truth.” One of the tidbits from this sermon is the idea that Jesus showed us how to approach others. We read through the story of the woman accused of adultery in John 8 as an illustration, which brought about the pastor’s final point and the piece that stuck with me the most: the concept of “grace and truth” versus “truth and grace.”

Basically, grace should come first. Once grace is given, truth can follow and be better heard. It’s a balance of both.

. . . . . .

I don’t know about you, but I’m not perfect, either in my career path or in my faith. My story plot lines are far from J.K. Rowling-status. I tend to be a sappy, hopeless romantic in my writing, and my attempt to get out of that style doesn’t always go well. I’m not a perfect instructor by any means; I make mistakes. I “fail” at having faith a lot. I “fail” at believing sometimes. I “fail” at praying. But none of these makes me a failure, either as a writer, an instructor, or a Christian.

The reason is that balance of grace then truth.

If I had been shown a bit of grace in my previous work environment, perhaps things would have been different. But that experience taught me something not only about the professional world, but also about treating people: show grace. It’s okay to give second chances; in fact, we should. Because God gives us second and third and fourth chances all the time. God gave us the ultimate second chance in Jesus.

Jesus, though he gives truth, does so gently, as in the story of the woman: “Neither do I condemn you. Now go and sin no more.” The truth here is that, yes, according to the law of the time, she should have been stoned. But Jesus told the gathered crowd “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” The truth is everyone had sinned, so therefore had no right to condemn another. Jesus gave her truth in acknowledging her wrongdoing, but also granted her grace by lack of condemnation (read: death).

Christians are followers of Christ, signifying, simply in words, His leadership of our lives. If we truly are followers, then we must approach others the way He approaches us: with grace then truth.

. . . . . .

Thanks to my past experience, I know what kind of professional I want to be and what type of person I could or could not work for. But I’ve also had the chance to take a look at my values as a person, and I realized I want to change them.

I used to instantly go to condemnation and truth. Like the people in John 8, though, I have no right to condemn others when I myself have strayed from God’s path. Instead, I want to show grace first.

. . . . . .

In what area do you need to show more grace?

I pray God would guide you in showing grace to others and that He would speak to your heart when you are tempted off-balance.

 

Brokenness is Real

…and God is for the broken.

. . . . . .

This was today’s message at church. It seems like a difficult thing to admit, and it is. It is hard to acknowledge that just because we are Christian doesn’t mean life will be perfect or all happiness. It can be even more difficult to believe God is for the broken, especially when we experience brokenness and it feels like God is silent.

The message today was based on Luke 7:11-17—the funeral of a widow’s only child. The pastor gave 3 points that really struck me. (So far, it seems this church has some powerful and meaningful messages for me. Maybe that is God working…)

The first: sometimes life is hard. Like I said, just because we are Christian does not mean life will not be hard. Sometimes our brokenness comes from choices we have made, and sometimes it isn’t our fault at all. We all sometimes walk away from the alignment of God, trying to make choices we think would be better for us or others.

Just this made me realize that my brokenness is a mixture of the choices I made, choices I thought would be better for me and my family, and the choices he has made. As such, I can only take responsibility for my portion of it all. And I do. I acknowledge that perhaps it was not what God had designed for me, perhaps it was out of His will.

But brokenness is not a punishment. And I have spent all this time feeling like it is, feeling like what I am going through is God punishing me for being so stupid. Really, I am punishing myself. I realize now I can only do that for so long.

The second point was that Jesus hurts when we feel brokenness. This seems hard to wrap my head around, but the truth is He loves us, so of course He hurts for us. Luke 7:13 says “His heart went out to her…” He felt genuine compassion for her, He felt for her in the pain she was experiencing.

The third, and final, point was this: Jesus can overcome the pain of our circumstances. In the story in Luke 7, Jesus raises the son. That in itself is a pretty powerful illustration.

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. . . . . .

The pastor chose to read out some stories of brokenness from church team members. The stories were of deep brokenness, and I could feel the pain these people have suffered. Although their names were, of course, not mentioned, I couldn’t help but admire their bravery to not only admit their brokenness but to share it. That’s when I realized something.

I am afraid to admit and share my brokenness to others.

Notice I say “to others.” I willfully admit to myself I am broken—I know it, I feel it every day—but I am afraid to express it to others, even within a church. And the reason is because I have been burned. I am afraid to share because I am afraid of a lack of support. I am afraid of people trying to tell me what to do, of unwanted advice. I am afraid of being told I am being stupid or that I should just move on. I am afraid of judgement. All because it has happened to me before (at least, that is my perception).

And as I came to this realization, I also saw something else: that this brokenness had been coming for some time. The episodes I can now point out as having been depressive or anxious episodes; the feelings of worthlessness, because I felt like he was doing something so much better than me, that I wasn’t making a difference and he was; the loneliness, even when I wasn’t physically alone…I can see now it all pointed to brokenness in me, and it was inevitable for that brokenness to make an outward appearance.

While brokenness isn’t God’s punishment, I want to think He will use it to show me something, to teach me.

I know now I wasn’t supposed to take that job. Yet, God used that experience to point me back in the direction I had veered from. I know I made a mistake, but I think He is providing me an opportunity to take a step back to have a chance to examine my faults and my mistakes and decide who I want and need to be.

. . . . . .

I’ve decided not to give in. I know where my heart is. I know how I feel.

Recently, it feels like God has been silent, but maybe that’s because I’ve refused to open my Bible and pray and admit my brokenness. I can’t expect Him to speak to me if I’m not willing to speak to Him and open up.

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The only way to combat brokenness is to seek God, is to pray. It doesn’t guarantee that life will be perfect. It doesn’t mean that, poof, suddenly all the problems will disappear. What it does mean, though, is I acknowledge that God is on my side and has compassion for me in my brokenness.

I am broken. But I won’t give up.

When You’re Found

Have you ever encountered someone you “know” and they said they found you online? By “know” I mean you are familiar with them, perhaps talk to them, but you’re not intimate by any means. Perhaps you have told this person you write, you blog, without really thinking they’d ever even try to find said blog. Then, one day, they say to you “hey, I found your blog.”

How did you react? Did you panic? Were you totally excited? Were you torn between panic and excitement?

I fancy myself a writer. I want my writing to speak to people. As anything with communication and writing, the interpretation is up to the reader, the audience, but my intent is always to help others, to connect, to establish community. If those are my aspirations, then, of course, I have to be open to others, strangers and friends alike, seeing my work. All of it.

. . . . . .

Last night, one of my students told me before class that I was easy to find on social media, specifically Twitter. I laughed and responded that it isn’t that I don’t wish to be found, rather that I like to control if I would like to connect with those who find me, but that, yes, my Twitter is open. As our conversation progressed, he said he found my writing and he really liked my Bambi story. Of course, as a writer, I was thrilled. But then he continued.

“I’ve read the marriage stuff, too.” It was an offhand comment.

I paused. I felt my heart stop, just momentarily. I’m sure my face betrayed some form of emotion.

“Oh, you found my blog?” I asked. I hoped it came off as more curious than frightened, but I was definitely nervous.

“I think so, yeah.”

Eventually, I came to terms with this conversation, and I used it to discuss computer-mediated communication in society. But it got me thinking.

I have been honest about a lot of things on my blog. I have shared my story as it has unfolded; I have shared articles and stories I have written; I have been open about my faith, my desires, my goals, and my heart. And posting that online has the automatic assumption and understanding that anyone can read it.

As an instructor, I have always desired to keep my personal life out of the classroom, and  I’d like to think I achieve that. I share stories about communication as they are relevant, since sharing stories is one way I communicate. I use personal experience to relate to my students. At the same time, I don’t announce to the class what I battle daily. Yet, now this particular student knows, or knows at least more than any other student.

And as I’ve been thinking, I realize I’m okay with that.

As I said, I am a writer, and I always hope my work sees the light of day and can resonate with others. My tagline on my writing profiles is “sharing authentic stories.” I can’t achieve authenticity unless I am open. I can’t be open unless I don’t restrict access.

. . . . . .

This encounter really caught me off guard and had me thinking about my credibility and if my students would see me differently, negatively, should they come across any of my writing.

Would you? Would you judge your instructor off their blog or their writing? If they shared their life experience–good, bad, or indifferent–would you think them unprofessional or unworthy of respect?

That is my fear.

Yet, I am hopeful my own experiences will speak to them. I hope that if they encounter my stories, they will see credibility extends beyond academics. I hope they see that we all make mistakes, that we all make choices we regret. I hope they see that communication can play an important role in life and in relationships and that it goes far beyond just the words we use and how we speak.

I hope I can help them beyond the classroom. Because I am first and foremost a Christian writer.

. . . . . .

So, to that student, if you are reading this: thank you.

Thank you for telling me you found my writing. Thank you for making me question so I could come to my own conclusion, so I could stop questioning. Thank you for expressing that what I have written has helped you, even in a smaller way.

Thank you for showing me I am doing what God created me to do.

 

 

Burned

The church I have begun attending encourages what they call “Try 5,” which means to try 5 weeks of the church (so 5 Sundays) to see if it is for you. Well, today was my 5th week, and I’ve decided to make it “my church”. It was also the 4th week of the series God for the Rest of Us, and the message, like the past 3 weeks, resonated with me. The topic was those burnt by the church.

Have you walked away from a church because you felt you were being judged? Did you walk in feeling broken and leave feeling even more so? Were you told you couldn’t share your story to seek guidance?

This is for you.

. . . . . .

I wasn’t burned by my previous church necessarily, but something went wrong along the way that I began to feel unworthy. My husband and I were continually asked about when we would be having children, because others who had been married for a similar length of time already had at least one child. (We were in no place to have children. When we expressed this, people seemed disappointed, and I could see some sort of judgement in their eyes.) When I expressed anxiety or depressive symptoms regarding anything, even before all this happened, I was continually given the verse “be anxious for nothing.” (While that can be a peace-inspiring verse, it felt like I was being dismissed.) When things did begin to happen, I sought advice and the advice felt judgmental; no one offered up their story to establish their credibility with me (which, for me, is huge), and when stories did seem to begin being shared, it was “we shouldn’t focus on our past.” When more things happened, I was flat out told to give up, and it didn’t feel like it came from God; it felt like it came from that individual. No hope was offered, and nor was prayer.

I became disoriented and lost. I had trusted these people, and now I felt they were abandoning me in my time of need, in the time I most needed to hear and feel God.

. . . . . .

The message today focused on Matthew 7:7-12:

Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him! Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.

What came out of this passage was the message of the 3 ways the church should respond to those who are asking, seeking, and knocking.

The first thing is that anyone who wants to find Jesus should be able to. Simple as that. Individuals or church-specific rules should not get in the way of allowing and helping others to find Jesus.

The second thing is the church should not throw stones. Again, simple. We are all broken in some way, and no one person’s brokenness is better or worse than another’s.

The last thing is the golden rule: the church should do to others what you would have them do to you.

While my pastor spoke strictly from the perspective of this church and how our church, I felt it was a good message to take to heart for anyone in the church—anyone who is a follower of Christ.

. . . . . .

The first two verses of this passage tell us if we ask, if we seek, if we knock, we will receive, we will find, the door will be opened. Reading that, my initial thought it great! I’m asking for this thing, it’ll happen. Of course if I am asking, I desire that. Like now. I desire reconciliation above anything else, and I know God does not wish the destruction of marriage.

Here’s the thing, though, that keeps reverberating in my head: ask in faith, in honesty, to seek Him.

Am I asking, praying, having faith that God is a good God and is capable? Am I being honest in my prayer? Am I truly trying to seek Him and not simply satisfy my flesh?

The truth is, I’m not 100% certain. Not because I don’t have faith, but because I have been burned.

Because people have told me I’m too far gone. Because no one else offered the encouragement I needed. Because no one showed me compassion. Because I felt like I was just a problem to be solved. Because no one prayed with me to help me find the answers. Because I was left to do it all on my own.

And that’s what this message came down to for me: when you’re left to do it on your own.

. . . . . .

Have you been burned by a church? By people? Do you have a similar story to share?

Have you questioned your worth?

Have you loved God but hated Christians for these very reasons?

Unfortunately, people get in the way of a lot of things, and church and faith are no different.

. . . . . .

I’m glad I have found this church. I am glad I have been attending the small groups. The people seem open and honest. They seem willing to see and understand brokenness. They seem truly willing to pray with you and for you. They focus on their community, just eager to show love and compassion in any way possible. They just want the community to know there are people who care.

The last time, I became involved in church very quickly. This time, I’m going to take it slow. But I can feel God moving (I think), and I feel like something is about to happen. I can feel the excitement building for church things and these people.

I just hope I don’t get burned again.

Believing is Hard

Believing is hard.

Truer words have never been spoken by a pastor in my opinion, and it was a great introduction to the topic for the third week of our series: God is for the unbeliever.

It is obvious from my previous posts I am not an unbeliever, but that doesn’t mean I don’t encounter doubt. The great thing about God, though, is He is okay with that. John 3:16 tells us God loved us so much He sent Jesus. It doesn’t say “because the world loved Him” or “so the world would love Him.” It says “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (NKJV). He already loved us, whether we loved Him or not. Matthew 11:28 says “come to me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (NKJV). Again, it doesn’t say “only those who believe, come to me,” or “come to me only after you have accepted me as Savior.” No, there were no pre-requisites.

In other words, it doesn’t matter where we are in our belief of God, He loves us no matter what.

. . . . . .

Since first hearing it at my previous church, the story of Mark 9:14-24 has impacted me. However, since experiencing…what has been going on in my life, I view the story differently. I wasn’t at my lowest then, at rock bottom. Now, I feel I am. I literally have nowhere else to go but God, much like the father in the story. The father’s plea of “if You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us” (Mark 9:22, NKJV) hits me harder. Not because I’m a parent (unless you count being a pet-parent), but because my soul has that plea every day.

Jesus responds: “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes”  (Mark 9:23, NKJV). This doesn’t necessarily mean that everything we desire will happen; rather, that what we desire is possible if we would only believe.

The father cries out to Jesus in response: “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24, NKJV).

And there we have it. We can believe, yet still have unbelief, especially when things in life hit us hard. Sometimes we just have to cry out I need help believing!

And I do.

There are plenty of times I have difficulty believing something unless I can see fruit of the labor. While I have no problem attributing the good things of my past and present to God, I sometimes have difficulty in believing He is working unless I can immediately see something. My husband and I experienced difficulties in the past, but things happened that made it clear God was behind the solution. Now, though, I am struggling with seeing how He is working because things haven’t happened in the way I anticipated. At the same time, I do believe He is working.

So I cry out I believe; help me with my unbelief!

. . . . . .

A thought struck me during the message yesterday.

My parents divorced when I was 13. While it definitely wasn’t a decision made by both parties, it also wasn’t in any way messy (at least that I could see). There are two things I remember during this time. The first was a night my parents were arguing. I begged my mom to not divorce my dad, and her response was not “I promise.” I don’t remember the exact response, but the message was things are harder to do when you’re in the situation. I also remember begging God to not separate my family.

Obviously, that prayer was not answered. I was, of course, upset, and I blamed Him for everything. I then realized that was the beginning of my doubt.

But as I was listening to the message, I thought what if there was a reason that particular prayer wasn’t answered?

Since my life imploded (well, that’s what it feels like!), my parents have helped and supported me, but in their own ways. While my dad and I have been close since I was little, and we’ve always had our own way of bonding, I feel like I understand him a bit more now. And though my mom and I have always been very close, this situation has given me the opportunity to separate myself a bit and see things I didn’t before. I’ve realized I need to be me.

Perhaps it was part of a bigger plan.

. . . . . .

Believing is hard. Do you agree? Why or why not?

What helps you to believe?

I’m going to continue to work on my belief. I am going to continue to cry out to Him to help my unbelief. I’m going to keep praying, keep plugging into my church, and keep speaking life into what I am facing.

Because when we have nowhere else to go, we go to God.

Broken Together

How I wish we could go back to simpler times
Before all our scars and all our secrets were in the light
Now on this hallowed ground, we’ve drawn the battle lines
Will we make it through the night?

It’s going to take much more than promises this time
Only God can change our minds

Maybe you and I were never meant to be complete
Could we just be broken together
If you can bring your shattered dreams and I’ll bring mine
Could healing still be spoken and save us
The only way we’ll last forever is broken together

 – “Broken Together” by Casting Crowns

. . . . . .

I haven’t listened to this song in months. I don’t feel strong enough to. I break into a flood of tears each time, and I can feel my heart re-break with every line. Yet it has been circling through my head since Bible study last night.

We walked through and discussed the scripture from Sunday’s service: Jeremiah 29:4-13. I’ve already walked through the highlights of that message and what stuck out to me. But this small group allowed me to go deeper and to ask questions and share insight with others, something I’ve missed out on not having a church family. As we finished up the study, a question was asked about exile, since the Israelites were in exile in Jeremiah. Honestly, I don’t remember the exact question, but I remember thinking I’m in exile.

This seems both literal and figurative. I’m quite literally separated from my husband—while I lack the paperwork (which I have chosen to feel is a “good” thing), we are not speaking. At the same time, I also feel like this is the only way God could get through to me. If it weren’t for this situation, I wouldn’t have, as my therapist put it, taken a look to see “is what I’m doing working?” I would continue to act the same—demanding plans and timelines, making decisions for the both of us simply because I process quicker, never pausing in my view of adulthood. I wouldn’t be writing as I am, joining writing groups and letting my skills and passion flourish. I may never have even tried to draw near to God the way I am trying now.

I am now conscious of how me-oriented some of my decisions were. I was so desperate to prove myself in a world I didn’t feel valued me that I let what was truly important slip away. I pray every day I get a chance to make things better.

Without a sense of exile, though, I probably never would have grown in this way. For that, I have to thank God.

. . . . . .

One of the things this church reminds us is that brokenness is real. We are all dealing with something, but community makes dealing with those things better.

Even with that knowledge, I was surprised to find that song floating around in my head. The song is about a marriage, so of course, I instantly thought of my situation—yes, we are broken, as he had expressed to me before, but we can be broken together and work through it. I still feel that way, and I still want reconciliation more than anything.

But the same can be said for community. Brokenness can be easier to manage when you have a community surrounding you, when you have others who do not judge you but support you and honestly and powerfully pray for and with you.

I don’t know if that song suddenly coming to mind was God speaking to me. If it was, I wish the message of what I can and should do would be clearer; I wish He could just tell me what will happen. I would like to think, though, that it was Him, that He was telling me something. And there’s a part of me that thinks it was because as I climbed back into my car and turned the ignition, I took a breath, said out loud “it’s going to be okay,” and felt a small sense of calm.

. . . . . .

I’ve been pleasantly surprised at the Christian community in the blogging world, and even more surprised at how willing you have been to share your stories, insight, and inspiration. Like I said, community can be a great thing, showing us we are never alone.

In the spirit of community, I’d love to hear from you.

Have you experienced brokenness? How did you cope? Were you willing to admit you were broken up front, or did it take time?

Have you experienced exile? What happened? Did you learn something from it?

What can you take from Jeremiah 29?

. . . . . .

Maybe being in exile is okay if it means I am being guided and taught. Maybe, then, it’s okay to not only admit I am broken, but also continue to live in what I feel guided to do and not worry what others may think.

I am broken, but God can provide healing if I keep pushing forward.

Thoughts on Hiking

As my sneaker takes the first step onto the rocky trail, I hear a refrain of Frost poetry in my head:

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,

But I have promises to keep,

And miles to go before I sleep,

And miles to go before I sleep.

 

I seem to think of this poem every time I take a hike. I don’t know the full poem by heart, just this final stanza. It’s haunting yet beautiful, something I always remember thinking Frost did well when I studied his poetry in college.

The woods can be hauntingly beautiful, too. Even with the scuttling of squirrels (and my dog trying to chase them), I can still hear the swoosh of the changing leaves as they fall from the trees, and I can still appreciate the silence the woods bring.

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. . . . . .

Belle and I went on a hike today to get some fresh air. She was so excited to get back on a trail and in the woods, she was dragging me up the trail pretty much the entire time.

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I always love getting out with her. She provides a level of comfort, reminding me I’m not alone, and giving me a way to focus my anxious energy. Even though she gets so excited to be on hikes that she practically pulls my arm out of its socket, I always end up laughing and just in an all-around better mood after these outings with her.

Hiking is something we did a lot of with my husband, so it’s only natural I miss him when we go on our excursions. But hiking has also been cathartic. It’s the time that, even though my mind is inundated with memories, I don’t assign a meaning to anything.

. . . . . .

Regardless of the panting (and sweating) I endured, I felt at peace. For the first time in a few days, my mind was blissfully blank. That’s one reason I love hikes. Interestingly enough, my anxiety doesn’t act up when I’m hiking, and my mind doesn’t continue to recount my depressive thoughts; I’m just in the moment, enjoying the scenery.

Aside from church, I always feel closest to God when outdoors, and I don’t think that’s by accident. When I deny myself outdoor time, I become miserable, and I always feel better once I’ve been able to get out. I don’t mean just taking a walk outside around the block, either. I mean actually getting out into those hauntingly beautiful woods and experiencing God’s natural creation.

At one point on our hike today, I took a moment to thank Him. I looked up at the light-strewn tree tops and thanked God for the ability to get out and enjoy His work, for the ability to walk the trail, and for the companionship of Belle. This is something I typically do in my mind, in my heart, but today I felt compelled to speak it. And as I spoke, I could have continued recounting my thanks and praying for the desires of my heart.

As I felt the gentle breeze brush my face, I suddenly felt calm, like everything would be okay. It felt like the wind was whispering, it’ll be okay…

Honestly, it felt like He was right there.

. . . . . . .

Each time I come across a fork in a hiking trail, I hear another verse of another Frost poem in my head:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less traveled by…

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This particular poem ends with him saying taking the road less traveled has made all the difference. I think that’s true for anything in life. When we choose to stick to what we believe in, even when others are telling us it would be easier or better to give in, it makes all the difference in not only our lives but the lives of others.

I am reminded I am taking a road less traveled. Everything I have experienced so far are things others my age would probably not experience. Yet, I can’t help but feel I am experiencing them for a reason. Others may give up and even abandon their faith. While I do struggle to keep moving forward, I do not want to give up. I want to see the power of God through my prayers and in my life. And that’s the truth. I don’t know if it’s a selfish desire, but I also don’t know that desiring to see God work is necessarily selfish.

I’ll take these hikes as God’s reminder to appreciate His work, to thank Him even in the midst of woods that seem dark and deep because there’s still beauty there, to trust Him and take His path. Because that is truly the road less traveled.