Monday, October 28, 2013

Overflowing Worship

9 years ago John and I decided to join some friends who were starting a new church.  This may sound like a relatively simple thing but we were leaving a baptist mega church we had grown up in and been very involved in to help start an Anglican church.  We knew nothing about Anglicanism, did not like liturgical services and were against infant baptism.  But we loved our friends, loved the Lord and were convinced that this church they were starting was filled with the Holy Spirit.  The goal was to merge the evangelical movement with the historical structure of the Anglican church.  We were enthusiastic but guarded.

10 years later the 10 people we joined have turned into 300 people and we have planted a second which has over 100 people.  10 years ago we were part of a rogue little group of churches around the country that wanted to reclaim the Anglican church in this country as they watched the Episcopal church turn away from its roots and the biblical foundation upon which it was founded.  I spent 6 years on the Vestry of the church as we watched our little group join with other little groups around the country to form the Anglican Church of North America.  The Anglican church is a worldwide mission.  We worship on Sunday mornings with churches around the world, praising God, reading the same scriptures and sharing the same prayers.  Our group desired to be formally associated with that worldwide mission not just casually.

A couple weekends ago another big step was taken as we formed a Midwest diocese.  Our 2 churches in Minnesota along with a handful of churches in Wisconsin and the Chicago area joined together to encourage each other, offer support and work together to further God's kingdom.  The pastor of the church in Wheaton where Jake attended last year, the church that planted our church 9 years ago, and who happens to be the brother of our church's pastor, Stewart Ruch, was elected our new Bishop.  Isabelle and I drove down for the consecration service along with several other people from our church.

Having grown up as a nice conservative, scandinavian Baptist you can come to a few conclusions about me.  I don't raise my hands in praise during worship songs, I don't dance, I don't get wildly excited in front of other people during worship services.  You would think that joining a liturgical service would offer me plenty of comfort.  More conservative people.  Just add a few intentionally placed standing and sitting, group recitations of prayers and the occasional crossing of yourself.  But in general it shouldn't be too different.

Except it is because that is not the kind of church we wanted to help start.  And that is not the kind of church that draws people to it and there is just nothing biblical about keeping it all stuffed inside.  When you are excited about the Lord, excited to worship Him, filled with the joy that comes form knowing Him, you just can't hold it in!  One of the women in our church says we are actually Angli-bapti-costal!

You might think that sitting for 3 hours in a worship service with an 8 year old sounds like a long, slow, painful method of torture.  But when the purpose of the service is to consecrate your new Bishop and when your new Bishop is filled with as much love and joy for the Lord you can't help but be filled with that same joy.  You can't help by be overwhelmed by the presence of the Lord.  And when the Bishop has taken his oath, when your pastor as given a wonderful sermon at his brother's service, when the Arch Bishop has prayed, and when everyone has shared the feast of the Lord in communion, you celebrate.  But not by just standing with your hands at your side and singing.  When you are there in the Lord's presence your worship cannot be contained and it burst forth looking something like this:

If you get this in email you might have to click on the link to watch but it will be worth it.  Unfortunately Isabelle isn't in the video but she was out dancing with the kids and is all ready to teach the kids at our church how it is done during our next celebration service.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Unbroken and Watching

I recently read a book called, "Unbroken" by Laura Hillenbrand.  It isn't the type of book I would normally ready but some friends wanted to try a book club format for our social gatherings.  I didn't even try to read the first book but thought I would at least put some effort in for the next time so I had a little clue what they were talking about.

The book is the story of Louis Zamperini who was an olympic runner.  After World War 2 broke out he joined the military and worked as a bombardier.  He ended up enduring a series of things that would have broken an ordinary man.  His plane crashed over the Pacific and only he and 2 others survived, one died while they were stranded at sea.  After over 40 days with few provisions and many challenges, they land on a Japanese occupied Island and are immediately captured.  He spends the next few years in a series of abusive POW camps under inhumane conditions.

I do not like to read these kind of books because I do not like to be traumatized.  I get the gist that there were human atrocities that occurred during WW2.  Evil does exist and we need only review that part of human history, among many other parts, to be reminded of that reality.

What is different about this book from others like it is that somehow woven throughout the story of this mans trials is a thread of hope.

After the war, after being rescued and returning home he suffers from nightmares and dulls his pain and fears with alcohol.  He is out of the POW camp but he is not free. Anger, bitterness, fear and an obsession with revenge rule his life.  However, God had another plan for Louie and at an early Billy Graham crusade in Los Angeles he gave his life to the Lord and was truly freed from his prison.  The Lord took his anger and bitterness away.  His obsession with revenge disappeared.  We can't do that on our own, only God can do that.

What you see woven through this book is not a story of suffering but a story of hope.  While his circumstances were unbelievable this is a story of God's presence, protection, provision and pursuit.

We often ask ourselves why God lets us suffer like that.  If God really loved Louie why didn't he rescue him?  Why did God let that happen?  But the truth is there is Evil in the world, there is sin in the world.  God has given us a free will and some exercise that will to impart evil on others.  God may not have removed him from his circumstances but he did rescue him.  Throughout the story you see how experiences Louie had before the war gave him survival skills for the very circumstances he would encounter.  Fending off hungry sharks, knowing how far a bullet is lethal under water, even the thieving skills of his youth prepared him for survival in the camps.  You see kind guards come along at just the right moment, secret communications to keep the mind sharp, just enough food, moments of reprieve and life despite deteriorating health.

I have thought a lot about this book and my own life.  Honestly, I don't know if I would have had the will to keep living for so many years under those conditions.  I don't know that I would have been able to maintain hope.  And I am so thankful that God has not asked me to endure that level of suffering although I know around the world there are people who continue to do so.

But I have endured my own trials and watched those close to me endure their own.  And I see the same hope in those trials as I read in Louie's.  As I look back I can see God's presence woven into my story and in other's stories.  Providing what I need when I need it.

When I started my year naming the word "watch" as my word of the year I had no idea how significant or important that would be.  How much I would need to see Him at work and how encouraging it would be.  I thought I would watch him continue to provide for us to stay in our house.  I thought I would watch him do amazing things with my career.  I thought I was only going to watch him do great things in my life this year.

I didn't imagine I would watch him weave a path through painful experiences.  I didn't imagine I would watch him help me leave a second job, start a new very unstable career, watch him help me out of my house, watch him help friends and family through so many difficult and tragic events.

Yet through it all He was there.  And He did work, I have seen him everywhere.  And while it has been hard and not exactly what I would have written if I was writing my own story, I have never ultimately been disappointed in the stories God has written for me so far and I know this one is going to turn out great too.

Friday, October 25, 2013

The process of Re-invention

My friend Dave has this great facebook page called "Blaze Your Own Path" encouraging people in their entrepreneurial pursuits.  He recently shared something about re-inventing yourself.  It was written by some guy named James Altucher on his facebook page.  The worlds longest facebook status.  Too long for me to quote here but I was totally inspired by it.

John and I are re-inventing ourselves right now.  Who we were in the past and who we will be in the future are completely different people.  But re-invention is hard.  There were a couple things that struck me and I will share one today and one another day.
"Reinvention never stops.  Every day you reinvent yourself.  You are always in motion.  But you decide every day:  forward or backward."
Honestly, right now as we downsize our home and John is in school and I am trying to get a career off the ground, I am not really sure if we are going forward or backward.  But I do know we are not standing still.
"You start from scratch.  Every label you claim you have from before is just vanity.  You were a doctor?  You were Ivy league?  You had millions?  You had a family?  Nobody cares.  You lost everything.  You're a zero.  Don't try to say you're anything else."
OK I realize that sounds sort of harsh but actually in the midst of reinventing it was very helpful.  One of the hardest things about where we are at in our life right now is that exact reality.  We are nothing.  I keep wanting to stand on our past successes but they are irrelevant to where we are right now.  And what I am seeing is that until I am willing to start from scratch and learn all over again I am stuck.

I know you want to remind me how all my past experiences enrich my life and give me wisdom and skills that make me more.  We constantly tell ourselves how much better a PA John will be because of his age and life experience than a fresh out of school 20 something.

But when you are climbing a new mountain you have to start at the bottom with everyone else.  There is no jumping from one peak to the next.  You climb down the one you are on and begin climbing the next one. Or sometimes you fall down the one you are on and since you are down there at the bottom anyway... might as well try a different mountain.   We might have more mountain climbing experience but we still have to start at the bottom.  Until you accept that it is hard to get started and reach the top.

Letting go of who I was and where we were has been, and will continue to be, a challenging process for me. I loved our old life, loved who I was in that life.

The thing is, should that define me?  Am I defined by where I live, what I do, who my friends are, how I look or how much money I have?

As I move into a new career, new location, new life I can't hold up my past life and expect it to open doors to my new life.  Just because I helped John run a business or used to manage a rental property doesn't mean I will automatically have success in commercial real estate going forward.  I start at zero.  Start over re-inventing myself.

But who I am is not just about what I do, where I live, who I married, how my children turn out, how much money I have.  At the core none of those things matter.  As I change and re-invent myself during this season of life there is one thing that will never change:  Who I am in Christ.

So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! 2 Cor 5:16-17

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Living life in between

As Jake was graduating from high school and deciding where to go off to college I could tell he was viewing college as something of an awkward limbo between high school and adulthood.  Sort of a waiting period before he could begin his real life.  I advised him not to think of it that way but to realize this moment right now is real life.  Don't wait for life to begin.  Live now!  I guess he took us serious because he traded the awkward years of college life for the awkward 6 years of army life which may well be followed by more awkward college life.  And in the midst of all that awkward in between he is living life, getting married, experiencing the world.  I might even get that grandchild I am hoping to have before I am 50!  No waiting for life to happen in his life.  He is living!

I am reminding myself of that truth today in my own life.  With John in school, downsizing back into a space only slightly larger than we had when we were first married 23 years ago, both of us returning to low paying jobs in order to keep our heads above water, it definitely feels like we are in the awkward limbo of college life before our real life can begin.  Or in our case before we can return to our real life.

But this IS our real life.  At least for today and probably for the next 5 years.  When you go on a long journey you see a lot of different terrain along the way.  On our life journey we are certainly seeing a lot of new scenery right now.  But those changes are what keep the trip interesting.

Sometimes on road trips John and I purposely take the back roads.  Drive through the farm country.  One time on such a trip we came across a sunflower farm.  Yes, acres and acres of blooming sunflowers. Conceptually I guess they have to exist but I had just never thought about what the farm where those bags of sunflower seeds come from might look like. Incredibly beautiful. That farm wasn't our destination just a happy memory on the journey between point A and point B. If we thought of the drive as a limbo between events and rushed down the interstate instead of viewing it as part of the trip, we would have missed it completely.

As hard as life is right now in this weird transition we are in, I am glad we are in it.  Still excited about where we are going and who we are re-inventing ourselves to be. I could choose to think of the next 5 years as some sort of limbo.  Not acknowledge this downsize as a real part of our life.  But real life happens in between. Isabelle will be finishing middle school in 5 years!  I don't want to miss that.  I will have had more working years on this side of homemaking than I had before children.  I can think of so many things that could happen over the next 5 years while we are in limbo and there are so many other things that will happen that I can't even imagine.

We are driving those back roads on our journey toward PA and watching for that field of sunflowers.

Are you rushing down the interstate or enjoying the journey through life?

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The absurdity of Worry

I have decided that the topic of worry needs 2 posts in a row.  Who knows what God will tell me today, maybe there will be 3!

When I was in middle school back in the '80's I had a pair of ballet flat style shoes that were gray, pointy toed and had holes all over them.  They were the height of style at my middle school and I felt like one of the cool kids when I wore them even though I was anything but.

I grew up in Minnesota.  It gets cold in Minnesota in the winter, snow falls, frostbite warnings are given.  The people who set fashion trends do not live in Minnesota.  They don't know what frostbite is.  They decided the cool way to wear these shoes was barefoot.  And since I wanted to be cool, I wore them barefoot.

One day I wore them barefoot to my grandma's house in the middle of winter.  A few days later my mom got a call from grandma who had been up all night with worry over me going barefoot in the winter.

Let's ignore the obvious fact that I have horrible circulation problems in my toes and they regularly go numb in the winter, I am sure as a result of these very shoes. Let's ignore the fact that my grandma was right.

I specifically remember my mom telling me about this and thinking it was ridiculous.  Why should my grandma be up all night worrying about me?  And I was FINE.  It isn't like I tromped around in the snow.  I walked 1/2 block to the bus, got on and walked into a heated building all day and then home to my heated house.  (Until that day the bus got stuck in a snow storm 3 blocks from my house...How do I even still have feet?)

Right or not, what did my grandma's worry accomplish?  Nothing.  It made her life miserable and did not change my circumstances at all.

Now that my mom is a grandma I see her doing the same worrying her mom did.  Seeing little things happening in the grandchildren's lives that are concerning.  Things that could go wrong.  And what can she do but just sit around in her retirement, worry about it and call her daughters to share her worry.

As moms we are in the middle of it.  Back in the '80's I am sure my mom would have loved it if I put on socks but in the grand scheme of parenting that just wasn't a battle worth launching.  Today as a mom I must confess I don't care what my children wear.  Sometimes I will go to battle but most of the time it just isn't worth the effort.  On the bigger things that grandma's worry about like faith and relationships, parents are in the midst of it gently directing their children through and around the challenges.  Grandparents are just sitting on the sidelines watching with no control or sense of what is happening on a day to day basis.  So they worry.

Lately I am feeling a little like a grandparent.  My parents have been in Atlanta for several weeks helping my sister who is going through a difficult divorce.  Then last week my dad ended up in the hospital down there.  I am up here in Minnesota getting the overview but with no control over what is happening, not aware of the day to day directing of events and nothing to do but sit and worry about all of them.  Add to that my son and future daughter in law have decided to get married this Christmas.  While I understand the decision to get married this year it does bring about some challenges going forward in their life and marriage.  And since I am not involved in any of this I have nothing to do but sit back and worry about how they will problem solve each thing.  (My friends have been coaching me that the mother-in-law job is to keep her mouth shut.  How will I survive?!)
"Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?" Matt 6:27
The thing is that I have my own problems.  It isn't as if I have nothing else to worry about, but here I am worrying about other people's problems.

Yesterday for some reason I was thinking about all this worrying I was doing and the absurdity of the activity sort of hit me.  What was I accomplishing?  Absolutely nothing.

Maybe that is how the song should go.  "WORRY.  huh, What is it good for?  Absolutely Nothing!"  (instead of WAR?  Are you with me here?)

Last week I was literally having an anxiety attack all day one day.  I felt like all the things I was worried about were pressing down on me, crushing me and I was about to pass out at any moment.  (I am being a little dramatic here but seriously I was having an anxiety attack all day.)

The thing is I don't generally spend a lot of time worrying, I don't engage in a lot of political discussions.  Not because I don't have opinions or concerns but generally I am not interested in raising my blood pressure to discuss things that I have limited power over and that I am trusting God to lead me through.  Same with friends, I love my friends and am always available to listen, encourage and help but generally speaking I leave their problems with them.

But when it comes to family it is hard to stay rational.

Since having my anxiety attack I have realized that I have to separate myself from this worry and feeling of responsibility.  While I love my sister, nieces, parents, son and future daughter in law, I cannot take on their problems.  I can love them, encourage them, give them wise counsel when asked but, I do not need to carry their burdens around with me on a day to day basis.  I am not responsible for them.

And suddenly as I was standing there yesterday the memory of my grandma worrying about me going barefoot in the winter came to me.  And I remembered how absurd her worrying seemed to me and I realized how absurd my worry was.

Now when it comes to the needs of my personal life and the things I can control, those I can worry about. Right????
"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them.Are you not much more valuable than they?" Matt 6:25-26
I guess not.

It is sort of like God knew we would be tempted to worry about our life and finances and how we would provide for ourselves each day.

Not worrying is not the same as not doing anything.  But I am starting to see that I spend so much time worrying about whether or not we will be able to make it that I don't have as much time as I otherwise would to actually do the work!
"Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?" Matt 6:27
This is the question Jesus asks after telling them not to worry.  Sometimes it amazes me how He reads minds and addresses the obvious problems of a topic.  After spending time worrying each day I do need a few extra hours added to my life to still get everything done.  And now here Jesus is telling me I am not adding time to my day or my life by worrying?!

So I guess I should dispense with all the worry about my own needs as well and get on with the business of watching for God and joining him in the work he is doing in my life.
"And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.  If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?  So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’  For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them." Matt 6:28-32
I am ready God.  Let's make this happen!  Isabelle needs a new winter jacket and I know you are on the detail.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Watching the Sunrise

"He has made everything beautiful in its time."  Ecc 3:11a

While this has been a bit of a crazy few months living at my parents house I have to confess, they have the most spectacular view out their back windows.  And each morning since I have been here I have been sitting next to the window as the sun came up and the fog rolled across the wetland behind them.  And after nearly 3 months I am here to tell you, it does not get old.  It is no less spectacular today than the first morning.  It is new and fresh and powerful every morning.

I just couldn't capture its true beauty

The last couple mornings it has been a spectacular red sunrise.  Gorgeous.  I am stopped in my tracks by its beauty and must just stand and stare.  Afraid to move, afraid to miss even one second of its glory.

Photo by Chuck Young.  Not my view but he caught the red this morning.
As I am admiring the gorgeous red sunrise I can't help but think of the little ditty:  "Red sun at night, sailors delight.  Red sun in the morning, sailors warning."  And as beautiful as it is I am immediately thinking about the bad weather that is to come.

This morning as I observed the beautiful sunrise while simultaneously wondering what was in store for us weather wise today I thought about my life.

How many times do I look upon the beauty of what God is doing and only worry about what is next?  I get caught up in the "what if" of life. What if I don't ever make money?  What if John fails his classes? What if we fail?  What if something happens to our children? What if something happens to our parents? What if...  I can get so caught up in worrying about what might happen that I miss seeing what is happening.  I miss the beauty surrounding me.  I miss seeing and experiencing God's glory.

That isn't how I want to live.  That isn't how God wants me to live.  I want to revel in the beauty of what God is doing and showing me in my life just as I stood transfixed by the beauty of Saturday's sunrise.

Could this mornings red sunrise mean stormy weather today?  Possibly.  But I will get through.  I will pull out the umbrella, wear an extra layer of clothes, and press forward.  It is MN after all.  If we didn't know how to survive bad weather we would all be in trouble.  Bad weather might require a minor adjustment in our plans but it rarely stops us.

When stormy situations happen in my life God will see me through.  No need to worry.  Then when God places something beautiful before me, like a morning sunrise, I can just enjoy it.

"One thing I ak of the Lord, this is what I seek:  That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple." ps 27:4
Kenyan Sunrise

Are you missing the beauty God has put before you because of worry?

Friday, October 4, 2013

enduring during the days life is hard

I love to read blogs, magazine articles and self help books.  I love to hear people's stories, listen to them share what they have learned.  I love articles that give me to do lists, steps for how to improve my life and be a better person.  I get excited and inspired.  Motivated to become a better friend, neighbor, homemaker, person.  I love to grow and learn and become.

Most people share stories of mistakes, tragedies or difficult circumstances that lead them to a new epiphany.  Anything from the drug addict that found the Lord to the slob who learned to clean her house.

I love to say that my blog is just stories of "what not to do".  I like to lead by bad example, "don't do what I did".  I love to share all the mistakes I mae.  Like the other day when I had just finished showing a house and was putting the keys back in the lock box.  The day before I had taken this same buyer to a house where my electronic key did not work and we ended up walking around the house for almost 30 minutes before the selling agent came and let us in.  This day my key worked perfectly, we got in fine and really liked the house, but just as we were about to leave I dropped the keys.  Normally not the end of the world but this house was a bit of a fixer-upper and there was a 3 inch crack between the house and stoop.  Yep, sent the keys right down to the bottom.  It wasn't embarrassing at all to do that in front of the buyer or to have to call the agent and tell him I lost his keys.  When I got home John told me that had happened to him at a job once and he just dropped his magnet down on a string and pulled them right back up.  Can you believe it was the one day I left my magnet and string at home.  What were the odds?

Most of the time when I share about some crazy thing I have done wrong it is because I have learned a lesson, experienced God's grace, or otherwise improved my understanding of the world and I want to share my newfound knowledge.

Lately I haven't had much to say because my life feels a little like this dropped key.  An interesting story but with no real lesson to share.  Today at another house with the same buyer I dropped the key again.  Luckily there was no crack this time, I picked it up and kept going.  The fact is I drop things, I make mistakes and no matter how hard I try I will never be perfect.  I will always drop keys, if we could go back in time and I could do it again, I would probably still drop it.  Not because it was a great learning experience but because I will still be a klutz.

That is how my life is right now.  Just me living life, going through the motions of day to day responsibility and being imperfect.  I am heading toward something but I am not within sight of the finish line.  Just the long road in front of me.

Most inspirational books are written with this format: person going along in life, person has tragic events, person learns from events, grows in their relationship with the Lord and is now writing a book to share said lessons which you can use while you are going through your own tragic or just mildly difficult life events.

Somehow shared as if we could all avoid struggling through tragic events if we would just learn these lessons the writer learned while struggling through her events.

Read my book and the next time something bad happens in your life just remember what I said and don't worry, be happy!

The thing is some days life is hard, sometimes life is hard.  I am in the middle of hard.

I have read the books.  Heck, I have done hard before and written the book in my journals to remind me of the lessons I learned and why I should be able to go through hard without it feeling hard.

The reality is we can't avoid hard.  We can't avoid days where we just sit down and cry.  Not because we have lost all hope or don't know what to do, just because some days are hard.  And even filled with hope that everything will be fine, in that moment, it is just hard.

Jesus got it.  He cried.  He knew he was about to raise Lazarus from the dead and he still wept.  Because even when you know everything is going to be OK, in that moment, looking at his friend grave, surrounded by people grieving, it was hard.

I have hope, I have belief, I have faith.  But right now life is hard.  There are several things going on in my life right now that I don't feel I can talk about in this public format.  Not all of them are going on in my life directly but I am affected by the struggles of other peoples lives, especially people close to me.  And when those struggles are piled on top of my very transitory and challenging life circumstances, well, it gets heavy, and feels like a burden too great to bear.

Oh, Melanie, you say, "give that burden to the Lord"  He can carry it.  Amen friends I believe it and He does carry it for me.

Then why am telling you about it?  Because while he may be carrying it, I am still living in it.  I don't have to carry the burden of responsibility, I do not fear the path I am on, I am not burdened with solving my own or other peoples problems.  But under all that, I am still walking. The trials don't go away when we give them to the Lord.

Today, this week, this past month, life has been hard, exhausting, emotionally draining.  There has been good with the bad and I think the hardest part of dealing with trials is that sometimes the celebrations get overshadowed.

Still the Lord is present.

This year my word is "watch" and I can see God working every day in big and little ways.  He may not be rescuing me or the people in my life who are struggling but he is clearing the path and leading the way.

This morning I saw God clear a path for me.  This morning as I was feeling burdened by several things in my life God created an impromptu prayer group just for me.  I did not leave the house this morning to see friends and attend a prayer group, I did not even leave the house this morning thinking I needed a lot of prayer but God knew exactly what I needed.  I found myself crying surrounded by godly women I have known for years with nothing to do but sit and pray for me and for my family and our burdens.  When I left my circumstances were exactly the same, the struggles still existed, the road was unchanged.  But for that moment I saw God, he took that moment to remind me of His presence, His Love for me, for my family and for my role in it.

Life is hard.  When we are in the midst of it God does not always take away the hard.  He can if he wants, but in my experience he often doesn't take it away instead he walks through it with you.

Don't try to take the hard from me friends.  It is part of where I am right now, it is part of where God has put me.  Hard is not bad.  And some day I will be on the other side.  One day stability will come, everything will start to make sense and I will become that author who shares the wisdom of how to overcome the trials.  And when I do will you remind me of this moment.  Remind me not to tell anyone they can't live a hard life but to simply remember God is walking with you, carrying you when necessary.  Life is hard but with God you can endure.