Limbo

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I am not talking about the game where you duck under a broom to some fun music, I am talking about that in-between stage in your life when you know change is coming, yet you lack the details.

Limbo- an uncertain period of awaiting a decision or resolution; an intermediate state or condition.

You know something is coming, something big. Usually it involves some kind of change, maybe a promotion, or a change in lifestyle, or a new spiritual level. My husband gets excited in this place. I get scared. (Yep, God put us together for a reason.)

I have to admit, I don’t so much get anxious anymore, but I do feel like the “Velveteen Rabbit” the abandoned favorite toy. I feel like I should be doing something, but I don’t know what. I find myself feeling stretched, but I don’t know why. I feel like just around the corner is something exciting, but I don’t know what. If you know me at all, you know I hate change. I want to know the plan and there better be one. I am not real spontaneous. So this in-between time, this limbo is a very uncomfortable time for me. Another reason it isn’t a fun place is that there is just too much “feeling” going on which is made evident in this paragraph. It is a place where you have to bypass all of those feelings and stand in faith. You have to blindly put your trust in Him who is trustworthy.

Another reason I don’t enjoy this state of limbo is because usually it means letting go of something. I was in limbo right before I left my secular job and started in the full time ministry. I was in limbo right before I left the ministry of working at my Church. (I am still in the ministry, just not at my church building.) It took a while to know what the changes were going to be. It was scary stepping out into the full time ministry. Finances were slim, new enemy attacks were coming, more faith was required! It was just as scary leaving the place that I worked and ministered for thirteen years to begin working from home. Who would I talk to, who would pray for me on the spot when I needed it, how would I stay in the loop? All things that I fretted about. I have been in limbo so many times during my life and I am starting to get that feeling again lately.

I can honestly say that every time I made the transition from one level to the next, even though I thought it was scary and totally plan-less, God had a plan. He knew what He was doing. Even when I didn’t understand how, or why, or when, or pretty much anything, He did. My life was always better on the other side. There was greater faith, more blessings, more fruit coming out of the old and into the new.

And those times in-between of waiting and praying?

Those brought patience and maturity.

Are you doing the limbo? Do you feel like you are off balance and ready to topple, or ready to knock your noggin on that broom stick?

Don’t fret!

There is a promotion on the other side!

Isaiah 43:18-19 (NIV), “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.”

Book Review for “The In-Between: Embarrassing the Tension Between Now and the Next Big Thing” Non-Fiction

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I try to read at least one non-fiction book per month along with my fiction. Sometimes they end up being informational, but dry. This one is not. It’s a good read as Jeff’s writing style is that of a true storyteller. This book is full of true life stories, his own and some short stories of others. The book invites us to look at the waiting times in our lives in a different light. I found it very though provoking and encouraging. I recommend it for everyone, especially young adults fresh out of high school or college. I am giving it a strong 5 stars and will be reading more from this author.

http://www.amazon.com/Between-Embracing-Tension-Between-ebook/dp/B00BUOMM8S/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&sr=1-1&qid=1379346545

Seasons of Life

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I am about halfway through a good book. I love to read, fiction mostly, but I make sure I read at least one non-fiction a month. When I started to do the internet thing to promote myself as a writer, I stumbled upon a writer, Jeff Goins. He was full of good writing advice and encouragement. I downloaded several of his free “Manifesto’s” and liked his style. So when he offered his latest non-fiction book as a pre-order I jumped at the chance. I just now got around to reading it. The title is “The In-Between-Embracing the Tension Between Now and the Next Big Thing.” The book is great and it isn’t just about writing. Everyone should read it, especially those just out of college. It has me thinking.

My husband and I are (hopefully) coming up on an early retirement. We’ve worked hard for years. His first job at 13 and mine at 15. We have dairy-farmed together, made shake blokes, and logged, separately we have managed book stores, worked in factories, deli’s, taught school, worked in daycares, a hospital and remodeled 13 homes, just to name a few. My husband works harder than most men I know. He has worked most of that time with the results of a broken back at age 17, which resulted in crushed and missing vertebrae, as well as several fused. In the last 6 years he has had to surgeries due to a work related injury, one on his neck and one on his shoulder. He still works, hard, sometimes 60 hours a week in a factory. So we are looking forward to retirement. He’s a few years from 60 and I’ll be 50 next year, in today’s workforce that would be an early retirement.

Two years ago we took a trip to Georgia in February (our coldest month). We came back with a plan to sell our home and move south. We listed the house and started surfing the net for houses and business in the area, talked about it and got excited. Then a friend of mine who said she hated for us to move said, “Couldn’t you buy a house there for the winter and still stay here the rest of the year?” My reply, “Short of a miracle, we could never afford two houses.” But she got me thinking… (Thanks Sara). My husband for years joked around about selling everything and living in a camper, traveling like a gypsy. I always grouched and crabbed and reminded him how much I moved around as a kid, not to mention the 14 housed we have lived in since our marriage (which included several states). But after my conversation with my friend, and with some modifications, it wasn’t sounding so bad.

Now we are still showing our house, believing God is working in this less than perfect housing market. We still surf the net, but now we are looking at diesel motor homes with a slide out, a bedroom and a bathroom. We have family in Kentucky, and Tennessee, a daughter in Arkansas, a son 200 miles away (in Wisconsin), a daughter a few blocks away who can’t wait to get to someplace warmer, and our parents and siblings are in Washington state. We just got back from a 16 day trip to Washington to visit our parents and siblings. We hope to travel so that we can spend time with them all, and to see the parts of the U.S. that we haven’t so far in our travels.

So what does all of this have to do with Jeff’s book? We have been looking forward impatiently to retirement so much, that we have neglected the good things in our waiting time. My husband’s job is getting harder on his body, the sub zero temps and the long winters aren’t fun anymore. We miss our far away families in a way that we didn’t when we had kids at home. So “The In-Between” has reminded me of the importance of enjoying where you are now. Not that I’d completely forgotten, I just have been spending more time daydreaming about my future than looking for the blessings in my now. Jeff says in his book, “Maybe, I thought, God is less concerned with exactly what I am doing and more concerned with who I am becoming.” I have only recently started writing and have had some discouragements in the amount of sales. We are coming up on another winter and want to be out of here. But God has a plan. He wants us to continue to grow and stretch, and that happens just as much, if not more, in the waiting times, than in the active times.

When God’s chosen people were taken captive by Babylon, God told them it would be 70 years before He would begin to bring them back to Jerusalem. Now that is waiting. He also told them to build houses, take wives, and plant vineyards. He knew that they needed to be productive and provided for during their waiting time (Jeremiah). So are you waiting for something, a spouse, a great job, a vocation, calling or ministry? Are you impatient and spend more time in the future than in the now? Take Jeff’s advice and embrace the waiting. You’ll be blessed and way less stressed.

By the way, if you want to check out Jeff’s blog, here is the link.
http://goinswriter.com/build-popular-blog/

Yes, No, Wait

God answers prayer. Always. But not always the way we want or in the time we want. When we ask God and He gives a “YES” we get real excited! When we get a “NO” it is a little harder to hear, but we know we can change our plans and count on His Faithfulness to carry us through. (As long as we trust His answer and don’t run to ten people to get their advice, really looking for a pretend “yes” from our fellow human beings). Now on the other hand, none of us like hearing “WAIT” or in my case, silence, no “yes”, no “no”, just silence. After several mistakes I have learned that silence in these situations for me, usually means “wait”. I have lost patience, jumped the gun, and even gave up on getting an answer. I have begged for the yes, then even begged for a no, only to seemingly, not get an answer, or to be told to “wait.” Waiting wasn’t easy for me most of the time, and I still struggle now and again. But God gave us free will, and he allowed me to go my own way. It doesn’t take long to figure out when you are not in his perfect will! That is called the school of hard knocks, or a “wandering in the desert experience”. Ever had one of those? Sometimes God says “yes” but we never totally trust Him. Like those other ones who wandered for forty years in their desert experience. Sometimes we ask God the wrong questions, we ask for the plan of our whole lives, and He just wants to give us our next step. Ask Him a question that can be answered by a “yes”, “no”, or “wait”. Now, due to the fact that I have been told to “wait” several times, I do it much better. I am more confident in God. He knows what’s best for me. I’ve screwed it up enough on my own to know that His way is always better, no matter how hard it may seem, or how long it takes to see the fruit.