Wiping away tears, I tried to be strong and brave. Oh how this word brave, that we so flippantly float around, can be the biggest when we have to exert it in the smallest of things.
When you don’t want to release your child into the thrones of college, but do — that’s brave.
When you fight for your marriage when you can’t see any progress made — that’s brave.
When you show up to work day-after-day in excruciating pain praying for relief — that’s brave.
When you are afraid to enter chemo, but do — that’s brave.
Returning from a relaxing family weekend at the lake, my mind felt rested. The laughter shared echoed through my soul. After days on the lake enjoying nature and the fresh lake air, I finally felt like I was ready to move forward.
Something within me had died over the last year. The high-capacity striving-to-get-ahead way of life had dwindled and I was ready to embrace a new season of slower. I longed to breathe along my daily path and take in the moments where my feet were planted.
This slower paced living would be a breath of fresh air.
The wind had been howling at the lake and I felt as if I’d been tossed about by the weather. Hopping in the shower the warm water that trickled over my body was soothing and comforting in an odd way. Something new was coming and I was ready to breathe it in from the depths of my soul.
After shampooing and a deep moisturizer, I see hair falling by the fists full. Rubbing my eyes as if there were still soap in them and I wasn’t seeing correctly, I look again. Gobs of hair was pudding around the drain.
Rinsing the remaining conditioner out, hairs fell in chunks, this moment seemed surreal. The memories of the lake are replaced with shouts of “what the heck!” I felt paralyzed. Stunned in a moment of time that doesn’t seem real.
The peaceful easy feelings of the weekend were replaced with questions; is this really happening, what is going on, why would my hair be falling out, what am I suppose to do?
Being that this storytelling girl is often accused of exaggerating a tale to make a point, I call my husband. I need a witness. I need verification that this is real and not a horrific nightmare that I haven’t woken up from.
Scooping up a softball size hairball from around the shower drain, I hold it out. I see the look of concern from the Pilot. It’s the confirmation I needed. This is real.
I tried to raise my banner of brave.
I didn’t need to travel to the remotest of places across the earth to share Jesus to be brave. I could stand right where I am struggling with my questions and doubts and bravely trust that Jesus has me in his hands. Brave meant learning to trust when I had no control, when all I can do is surrender and wait.
God knows me inside out. I know this. He formed me and grew me. He knows the very number of hairs on my head. I don’t just know this — I believe it.
Toweling off prepared to call a doctor, I chuckle in disbelief and wonder if God is good at quick subtraction, because a lot of subtracting of hairs just happened.
I’ve never been a good one while stuck on pause. The patience required for waiting in line to check out, waiting on the phone when put on hold, and waiting on a doctors appointment for answers can drive me mad.
This lack of patience probably stems from this fast paced life I created for myself and lived in. Oh how I’m not good at slow. I don’t do slow conversations. Even the microwave isn’t fast enough for this girl learning to live in a slower-paced world.
This new way of life I want to create is unhurried.
Deliberately more moderate and leisurely. I pray I can stretch myself to practice slow through the wait of getting answers. Slow breathing. Slow thoughts. Slow days.
Hanging on to the laughter from the weekend, I absolutely had no clue what the next day would bring. I’m saddened by the truth of how fast one’s life can change.
As I grapple with my own state of anxiousness over absurd amounts of hair loss, prayer requests pop-up one by one on my phone. A text for prayer from a family member who suffered a heart attack, another from a friend whose brother was murdered, and another experiencing dizzy spells. All this as I stand holding the biggest ball of hair I’ve ever gathered from the shower floor.
And I had to wait. . .
And you have to wait . . .
For grief to pass,
For loved ones to believe,
For answered prayers,
And for a doctors visit.
While the wait for answers is hard, I’ll be brave.
I’ll pray you will be brave too. This new brave means that you and I will trust God when we can’t see tomorrow or the answers that will come.
But the waiting time, my brothers, is the hardest time of all.
I’ll hang on to the promises I know while I wait.
And I’ll hang on a little harder for you while you wait. God’s word is true through all circumstances. Let’s hold on to the joy that will come in the morning, and pray that our answers will burst forth like the morning sun then too.
God has each of us in the palm of his hand. Oh how we have to believe this even when circumstances want to take our breathe away. We have to trust He knows the answers and brings the comfort and joy. God is with you and I as we wait.
The season of wait beckons each of us to breathe deeply.
“Wait patiently for the Lord.
Be brave and courageous.
Yes, wait patiently for the Lord.” (Psalm 27:14 NLT)
And yes, this will be hard, as waiting patiently is just plain hard. But together we can do this!