This summer has come to an end, but the lessons learned will last a lifetime.
Wednesday was the first day of school for Truman and Roman. They each climbed on the bus without hesitation. Kayla and I walked back into an empty house and realized how much we can accomplish with the peace and quiet. However, the truth of how fast they are growing up sat heavy. Roman has started kindergarten. He has been my little buddy throughout all of my work-from-home lifestyle. Last year, he went to preschool from 8-12 and then I'd pick him up. I will have to wait for the bus to drop both boys off later in the afternoon now.
If I had to attach names to this summer, they would not all be positive. Without getting too personal, there have been several areas of my life that have not gone as I planned they would. I have always respected those focusing on their mental health and I have supported those seeking help. Honestly, I have always been the one people came to. I have never really struggled with anxiety in my life - until recently. This summer was full of moments where I had to learn how to manage not being the happy-go-lucky optimist that I typically am. While the trials seemed to be constant, so were the efforts of my King.
"in this world, you will have trouble. but take heart - I have overcome the world."
I found myself thinking about that verse a lot. "By all means, overcome this for me now". The funny thing about asking God to do things on your own time is about like Him asking you to do things on His time - it rarely times up the way you want it to. There were days and weeks where I felt lower than usual. Disappointments and failures seemed more frequent than victories. According to my own understanding, I was failing in literally every area of my life. Fortunately, my own understanding is so far from where I put my trust.
"trust the Lord with all your heart, do not lean on your own understanding, but in all your ways, acknowledge Him - He will keep your paths straight"
I have been going to that verse for strength and guidance since I was 15 years old. However, I will say, when you're in the trenches, the peace seems fleeting. I have always been good at the "trust in the Lord" part. This summer, I learned about the "do not lean on your own understanding" part - and that was hard. I'm a planner. I'm a go getter. I'm an unapologetic Enneagram 3 (The Achiever) with a motor. That's why I have been able to do all the things I have done in my life. Read any Enneagram article in the world and it will tell you that nothing is worse for a 3 than failure. It makes it even worse when those failures effect your family. I HATE LOSING. This summer felt like I would battle back from one loss just to endure another. My head space got worse with each one. Weak has never been a word I would use to describe myself, but that's what I felt. Weak. I have spent pretty much all of my 31 years on this earth pursuing a walk with Jesus. I have trained myself to rely on Him. He is my rock. Being in a storm where I couldn't tell if I was sinking or swimming was a new experience. It was a confusing time for me. A turning point for me was when a close friend said "you have been a spiritual warrior all your life. You are trained and equipped to protect yourself. But an arrow got through and you're going to have to deal with that. You're still a spiritual warrior - you're just hurt for now."
I realized that he was right. I was hurt. But I was also still trained, still armored up, still walking with the same God that has led me through every trial I have ever experienced. My ego was shot but my leader was still leading. I didn't really start to recognize the lessons learned this summer until the last few days.
It's quite possible that some of you have already learned these lessons. It's quite possible that some of you won't ever have to learn some of these lessons. But it means a lot to me that you've read this far.
My wife and I are making it part of our routine to spend time in God's Word every morning. The highlighted verses and the ones after set the tone for this day, and I am motivated to keep my walk with the Lord constant.
Stand firm alongside me. God cares about your worries. He is working to lift you up. Restoration is coming. Keep the faith. I will.