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15th of December

10,000 Steps


I read it in a magazine.

10,000 steps is the recommended daily dosage for health.  So I pull on my fleece-lined tights, tie my shoes, shove most of my curls under the hood of my waterproof jacket, and head out the front door.

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It’s a gray and drizzly December morning.  When snow ought to be sugaring fields in white, rain angles from the south, splashing my face, stinging my eyes.  I drop my head and watch my feet hit the hard black.

We all hit hard at some point, don’t we?

Clomp.  Clomp.  Clomp.

The third week of advent.

Preparing for JOY.

Advent.

Expectant waiting.  In the cold, wind, and rain.

JOY.

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I say the word aloud as I clomp past farm fields swollen, rivers running through where corn once grew, months ago.  Now, furrowed ground fills wet.  Earth is eaten.  Waters fall, gorging holes, rushing under asphalt, jumping rocks on the other side.

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Clomp.  Clomp.  Clomp.

My heart hurts from the thumping against my bones, the breathing hard.

JOY.

Where is joy in the cold clomping?  When your eyes are stinging, barely able to look up and out?  And the sky is a dark bank coming?

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Where is JOY?

Hanna sent words this morning.  My friend in the spring of her adult years, she aches sometimes, yearning.  I can feel her heart pounding the pavement of her path.  In every word.  In every phrase.

Many of Hanna’s friends are marrying.

She stands in their weddings, all blushed and coiffed, a pretty maid attending the bride.  With joy, she serves and celebrates their dream come true.

She watches.

And she waits.

Will her day ever come? 

Will she ever have a husband?  And babies?

I don’t know.

God does not guarantee some of our hopes, our dreams.

Ask me how I know.

I had a husband once.  Lost him to bipolar illness not properly treated.  Took his life, literally.  Didn’t know if I’d ever marry again.  But I did.  God gave me another husband, a gift I never imagined.  I am thankful.  Yet . . .

Clomp.  Clomp.  Clomp.

Those fields to my right?

They raised their crop.  Farmers harvested abundance.  Like many of the families around here with their kids and grandkids and great-grandkids.

But I have been a barren field, a Hannah-field crying, wetted with tears and prayers.  This year, the field dried up for good.  Never planted.  Never will be.  Forty-five years fertile.  Trying.  Waiting.  Hoping.  Seed never took.  Womb never swelled.  Waters never broke.  Five hundred and forty months.  I counted, even the weeks.  All the cycling emotions.  All the bleeding hopes.

Clomp.  Clomp.  Clomp.

Keep walking.

Through the wind.

Though your eyes mist and blur.

Curled tendrils uncovered, drip and hang heavy in the rain as I walk.

Clomp.  Clomp.  Clomp.

Where is JOY?

Where is joy when you ache with waiting, with wanting, with not knowing, with finally knowing you will never know the things of other women?

Where is joy when your hope becomes a “no”, a “not now”, a “not in the way you think”, a “not ever”?

Truth is . . .

Maybe what we want is not nearly enough. 

Maybe what we want stops short of joy’s gate.

Maybe God could ripple through our soul, swelling us, causing us to burst forth from our tombs of dissatisfaction, if only we would let it happen.

C.S. Lewis wrote . . .

“You must have the capacity to receive, or even omnipotence can’t give. Perhaps your own passion temporarily destroys the capacity.”  (from A Grief Observed)

If only we would receive what only God can conceive.

A puddle next to a driveway accepts a heavenly drop.  Just one starts a cycle of circles.  The ripples shimmer the glory of God, even in the rain.

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Beauty-FULL.  Meaning-FULL.  Joy-FULL.

One ring births another.  And another.  Gentle.

God gave me three, grown in other bodies.

All can be JOY as we step closer still to the Lover of our souls, the Filler of our longings, not worrying about what could have been, what should have been, what ought to be, what might be?

Could it be, we have no mind to conceive how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ for us?  (Ephesians 3:8)  Could it be, as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are God’s ways higher than ours?  (Isaiah 55:8)  Could it be, we don’t even know what would fill us full, what would birth something holy?  Could it be, we will not see, not fully, until the day of our meeting, face-to-face?  (I Corinthians 13:12)

Joy needs no human husband to hold.

Joy needs no body to birth . . .

Gray breaks open toward the end of my walk.  Streams of glory reach down through dark, through rain, dazzling me with red branches dripping 10,000 facets and more.

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He has lifted my head and removed my hood.

I taste salt but it’s sweet.

I return home.  I catch a glimpse as I look at that empty field, now on my left.  He shows me my barren, my ground where I thought nothing grew.  He shows me all he birthed through me in Spirit—the daughters and sons—the mothers and fathers—the sisters and brothers.

He has sown in me his pleasure.

I am harvesting his JOY.

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Indeed, I have seen God’s goodness in the land of the living, just as he promised.

And now, Jesus watches me walking, these 10,000 steps, one at a time.  I’m moving closer each day on the aisle he has ordained for me.  His eyes are fixed.  And I hear his heart tell me tenderly . . .

I am yours.  You are mine. 

10,000 years and forever more.

Will you receive me, your JOY, my lovely?

Will you hold hands with me and walk with me . . .

Even in the rain? 

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The sun comes up

It’s a new day dawning

It’s time to sing Your song again

Whatever may pass

And whatever lies before me

Let me be singing

When the evening comes up

 

Bless the Lord oh my soul

Oh my soul

Worship His Holy name

Sing like never before

Oh my soul

I worship your holy name

 

For all Your goodness I will keep on singing

Ten thousand reasons For my heart to find

(Matt Redmond)

 

 

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Come stroll the trails with me on our 44 acre Midwest horse farm where I seek God in the ordinary and always find Him--the Extraordinary--wooing, teaching, wowing me with Himself. Thanks for visiting. I hope you will be blessed!

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