November’s been a difficult month for me for so many years now, a painful anniversary of a loss that ended one of my most deeply held dreams. There’s some thing about the end of summer, the shorter days, the pinch of cold in the air, that seems to bring the sturdiest souls to their knees. And I’ve certainly never claimed to be one of the sturdiest!
The last two weeks of October were a roller coaster ride.
The night before we set off for our much anticipated trip to Bulgaria, I got an email from Harlequin’s So You Think You Can Write contest, telling me my Heartsong chapter Believe In Me was a semi-finalist and the full submission was due in five days. Now that should have been delirious-with-joy exciting, except my “full” was a half-edited first draft, nowhere near submission ready. I’d been so convinced my story wouldn’t be picked I’d been puddling along slowly at it, with the goal of having it done by the end of the month so I could sub it via slush.
Then less than half an hour after that, I got an email from the seller of the house we planned to buy in Bulgaria, the house I’d woven a huge net of hopes and dreams and schemes around, one of the main distractions that got in the way of me making more progress on my story. Family issues meant she couldn’t travel to Bulgaria as planned to show us the house and complete the legal paperwork. Basically, she wanted to pull out of the sale. Thank God I had the rush to finish edits on the story to distract me, or I might have been even more heartbroken over the loss of that dream.
Sometimes, just acknowledging to ourselves we’re going through a tough time and need to lean on the Lord more is enough. Sometimes, He sends out other help when we feel we’re hanging from a thread.
Photo by Helen at Renouf Designs, via Flickr
I’ve been blessed with a LOT of help! Today, this post from Ann Voskamp at A Holy Experience reminds me and renews my hope.
… if you write down 5 things a day you are grateful for? Your happiness set point rises like a flame in the dark: you feel 25% happier.
Like a pushing back of the dark…
How we behold determines if we hold joy. Behold glory and be held by God.
How we look determines how we live … IF we live.
The strange quiet paradox of this — our lives change when we receive life with thanks – and ask for nothing to change.
Something to remember. Something to live by.
I feel the difference when I end my daily morning pages with gratitude, no matter how many whinges and moans I’ve written down before that. God is blessing me, all the time; and He is teaching me, all the time. The lesson in the last few weeks is to focus on the things I can control, like my writing, and to trust in Him for the things I can’t control, like whether house sales will go through or pregnancies will end up in babies.
Sometimes the things that feel like the end of a dream are simply the letting go that opens the door to another, better reality. Whether we live life as blues or bliss, ultimately, despite our circumstances, is how we choose to experience it.
Because underneath it all, under the hopes and dreams and worries and pain and gifts and joy, one thing remains, steady, constant, certain, unchanging.
God’s love for us.