Thursday, August 19, 2010


From the heart of my sweet, Five-in-a-Row friend Paige---

For the past couple of years, my life has felt unsettled, as if I am just waiting around for something new to happen. The first 18 months following the death of my marriage, I mourned and grieved and literally focused on taking one breath at a time as I tried to figure out how to live again. Then, one day, I realized that I had entered a new phase. Joy and peace had returned to my life once again. And there was something new ... hope. I hadn't felt hope in a long time, but there is was and I was so happy to discover that glimmering friend again.

Hope brought an interesting response from me. As I began to hope, I began to dream again. And as I dreamed big dreams for my future, I began to feel as if I were waiting ... waiting on those dreams to become reality. It doesn't so much matter what the dreams are, for there are several dreams for my future that I hold dear to my heart. What does matter is that I put myself in a holding pattern while I was waiting, instead of embracing what my life is right now.

I will be the first to admit that waiting can be a good thing. After all, when we wait for something that we really desire, it is all the more precious to us when it finally is ours because of the wait that we endured. But waiting can also cause us to become inactive participants in life. Such was the case with me.

This past Saturday morning I had a big ole self-pity party going on before I ever even crawled out of bed. I was fighting off a lot of negative emotions, one of which was a feeling of being unsettled in my life. I cannot fully describe all of the ways that I feel unsettled .... there is my job and the sporadic childcare that I've had since I moved last summer. But perhaps one of the biggest reason for the unsettled feeling is the lack of close friends in the area that I am living currently. This is odd to me, for as a former military spouse I moved frequently. I have friends from every military installation where my ex-husband was stationed. I never had a problem finding friends, and have many close friends from those places. I cherish those friends who live in Virginia, Michigan, Washington and Texas. Obviously, though, all of these close friends live a little too far away to call up for a spur of the moment lunch invitation.

I've lived on both coasts and quite a few states in between, and yet by far the move I made last summer from my hometown to my current home in Jena (a mere 30 miles apart) has been the hardest move I've ever made out of 16 moves in my adult life. It's been 15 months since I unpacked the boxes in my new home, and I still cannot seem to find my legs here. I have no doubt about the fact that God wanted me to move to Jena. It's very clear that I was called to come live in this place for this season of my life. Truly, there is so much that I enjoy about life here. I love my little house. I go to a wonderful church. My kids attend a great school. I think Jena is a sweet and safe town. And I have many wonderful acquaintances that I've grown to love ... yet I do not have a single close friendship in this place, and as a result, I feel unsettled and a little lonely.

So Saturday morning, I complained to God about the lack of friends and the loneliness and the unsettled feeling I have about living here. And do you know how He responded? He said:

"Paige, I do not think people who have yet to hang up curtains should complain about feeling unsettled."

Me: "What do curtains have to do with me feeling unsettled?"

God: "You've lived in your home well over a year now. You haven't hung up any curtains. Are you planning to stay? Generally, when people plan to stay, they hang up curtains."

Me: "Well ... I'm not planning to go."

God: "That's not what I asked. I asked if you were planning to stay."

Me: "Okay ... here's the deal. My job isn't here. Child care has been sporadic and undependable. And I don't have any friends here. I keep pushing on doors and pushing on doors and pushing on doors ... but none of them open. And as a result, I don't feel settled. Why should I hang up curtains? What does that have to do with anything anyway?"

God: "The truth is, Paige, that you don't know how much longer you will be here ... it could be 2 days, 2 weeks, 2 months, 2 years or 2 decades. It really doesn't matter. I asked you to come here and live. So live here ... make yourself at home, Paige. Hang a few curtains."

So, I lay there and pondered curtains and why I hadn't yet hung any. There was a good reason. I had never hung curtains before and I wasn't really sure I knew how. I mean, I knew that it couldn't be that hard, but what if I hung them wrong. What if they were crooked and people came over to my house and laughed at my curtains hanging over the windows because they weren't even? I didn't even own a drill, for Pete's sake! How could I hang up curtains without a drill? And finally, what if I went to the store, selected some curtains for my windows, came home and hung them up and then hated the way they looked ... why, it would be a lot of money down the drain! I don't have a lot of money. It is just easier to have bare windows than to risk failure.

Somehow though, I realized that this really wasn't about curtains. It was about me choosing to LIVE my life, instead of simply BIDING my time.

As a Christian, I know that this world is not my home. My final destination is heaven. I long for heaven and to be with my Saviour. But we can't just sit around waiting for God to take us home. In fact, Jesus warned us about that in the parable about the talents, which is found in Matthew 25. When Christ returns, He wants to find that we have been busy working for His kingdom ... not that we have been sitting around awaiting His return. So as much as I want to go to heaven and live in paradise, while I am on this earth I need to be about the Father's business.

Mercy Me has a new album titled The Generous Mr. Lovewell that I've been enjoying lately. The first song is called This Life, and the lyrics have been haunting me for the past couple of weeks, encouraging me to make the most of my life ... make the most of where I am at right now. Perhaps you'll be encouraged by these words too:

This Life by Mercy Me

This is not my home ... this is not my space

This is not my style ... this is not my place

Can't get comfortable... can't get settled in

Simply dont belong ... can't get used to this

But I'm here right now ... I can hear you say

Make the most of Me ... this won't go to waste

If I'm out of my mind .... yeah it's all for Christ

If I'm making sense ...then get it right

Every moment is a chance to let your light break through

This life (oh oh oh oh)

This life was meant to shine

I don't have to stall ... I don't have to wait

Don't have to bide my time ... till I make my escape

Cuz heaven's in my heart ... I won't settle for less

I will lift your name ... by the life I live

Every moment is a chance to let your light break through

This life (oh oh oh oh)

This life was meant to shine

By the way, I hung some curtains this weekend. I'm feeling more settled already for I'm planning to do more than bide my time ... I'm planning to stay. It may only be for a short while longer or it could be for years and years to come, but let it be said that while I was here I lived, and I didn't just wait.

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