I'm not exactly sure how I managed to talk My Love into this muddy date BUT, I did!!!
This past weekend, we were invited to participate in the Mud Run with our friends as you "run" a 5k course with the one task of being upright on two feet. After days of heavy rain, the BMX bike track was saturated in soggy, puddled-up mud and slippery grass with areas of pond-like puddles as well. Tim was thrilled. (insert sarcasm)
There were race bibs, you did sign a waiver and yes, there was a small group of other crazy people like ourselves that were eager to
attempt this course. This was an official race!
The first lap, my girlfriend Christie laughed the entire time as Tim muttered happy thoughts which only made it harder to focus on staying vertical. I've never laughed so much during a race! Our shoes were seriously being pulled off as they got stuck in the thick mud then rinsed off as you splashed through deep puddles. The best way to explain my new running stance is arms out like you're walking a balance beam with occasional full arm waving to catch your balance once again. I can't tell you how many times I almost went done and watched others do the same. Addison was there to cheer Mommy and Daddy on as we
charged through the bike course.
In the end, all of us stayed pretty clean in relation to how sloppy the conditions were. Don't look too close at my toenails because
I may still have leftover mud under a nail or too!
Now, will My Love ever join me again on this sacrificial day date? Probably not. But, just as me strapping on a motorcycle helmet meets his love language, so does running behind me stomping through the mud.
When my husband I and I were in the planning stages of our adoption, busying ourselves with fundraisers and such, we had an unlikely "guest" appear at our front door. We were at a critical point in the paperwork and placement stages and needed $800 exactly to continue with our agency.
I don't remember where we had come from, but moments after coming home our door bell rang. I quickly ran to the front door to find no person; just a white envelope on the steps. I leaned out the front door a little more trying to see someone only to see a small figure running away.
When I opened the envelope I saw $800 cash with no name, but a message to put this towards our adoption. WHAT? Okay, now I really wanted to see who this figure running away was! I rant the end of our driveway and saw a boy pedaling quickly down the street.
Walking back to the house and yelling for Tim was when our rainbow floated by. You have to understand something here. We live in a small town, but in town. It's rare to see hot air balloons over the town skies. But, this day after receiving our gift, God promised us that this adoption, a child, was indeed promised to us as He sent a rainbow balloon directly over our home. It was so close it nearly brushed the tops of the trees!
It doesn't matter how you see the rainbow; it matters that God is still making you promises and wants to see that the hope of a desire; a child, a marriage, is still alive.
I know a few who need to see a glimpse of a rainbow today…Look up in the skies and maybe it will be a bold, huge promise or a quiet, private moment in prayer that God reveals His truth and promise to carry you, sustain you and walk with your through hurt and pain.
I would love to walk with you through this journey of healing as we dive into the Word and encourage each other through prayer and conversation. If you are interested in joining R-613 small group, please contact me for more details. We will start February 2nd and continue for 6 weeks.
“The best we can hope for in this life is a knothole peek at the shining realities ahead. Yet a glimpse is enough. It's enough to convince our hearts that whatever sufferings and sorrows currently assail us aren't worthy of comparison to that which waits over the horizon. “
- Joni Eareckson Tada
Telling someone who is in shambles to just have hope, is a loaded statement when all around them life seems to be falling apart at the seams. We all say the phrase “hope you have a good day,” or “hope you feel better,” quite casually these days as if it means nothing or maybe because we don’t have enough faith in the statement to say it and believe it. I’m guilty of it myself! Try saying that to someone whose life is lived through a wheelchair or a couple striving to have a family. It’s not wrong, but if you were to ponder on that thought, it’s very heavy of a word to use. Webster defines hope as a “feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen or a feeling of trust. Hope is a desire, a wish, an aspiration for something more, a goal, or plan. Hope is a verb; our faith being tested for what we can not control.“
I’m reminded of a story I recently read about a young couple who struggled with revisited addictions and failures over the course of eight years of marriage. This broken wife’s husband struggled with a sex addiction and over the course of their early marriage, deviled the marriage vow multiple times over in ways unimaginable . Hope seemed vacant as this wife endured trial after trial and became desperate to see a glimmer of hope for the future. It came after both had filed for divorce and God showed Himself in powerful ways in the midst of sin. It took a sliver of hope to rebuild this marriage and praise God, this couple stands strong in His rewards and blessings for obedience to His word.
During the raw moments of my husbands confession from his past sins and addictions, I never imagined to gain bushels of hope again in our marriage. How in the world could God take this disgusting situation and turn it for good? I saw no hope for our marriage to ever find reconciliation or a future together again. The emotions of the present clouded the possibilities for our tomorrows. Until, God shook me upside down and gave me a cracked window of fresh air. In the conversations just days later, Tim and I were able to speak more clearly than we had ever before in our seven years of marriage. When all I wanted to do was take him to the ground and beat him, God gave me control of my words, respect in my heart, honesty in my thoughts, and showed me where I needed to build character. I remember in one of these conversations, all I wanted was a hug; the need for touch and intimacy was strong and yet I despised him. I hated him in that moment and yet couldn’t let go. It was in that moment God showed me that I still loved this man who wrecked me so deeply.
Hope to me, is God taking the impossible and making you believe in the possible. I hope for my three year old to potty train herself, for my house to magically clean itself and for my laundry to fold and put itself away. I hope for my sisters cancer to flee from her body and restoration to find her in every aspect of health. I hope for my children to find Godly men and women to marry someday as they embark on this adult relationship stuff. I hope for Christ to come and save me from more
pain before I experience it.
Hope is real. Hope is within our reach and God wants us to hope with great excitement in His expectation. It’s what gets us to take that first step towards forgiveness, reconciliation, and sometimes that first hug we crave so intensely. Hope is part of a believers DNA and let us not forget it when life is completely out of control.
“I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His word I put my hope.”
If you were faced with a diving accident and forced to live your life in a wheelchair, would you be able to see through the obstacles as clearly as Joni Eareckson Tada has and use the new surroundings as positively as Joni has?
About the Author
Stephanie is a stay-at-home mommy to four little blessings. Married for 16 years, Tim and Stephanie find new ways to enjoy intimate time together while raising the young family.