slow and steady...

I am an instant gratification kind of girl. I don't spend a lot of time thinking about things. This doesn't mean I don't over analyze the baloney out of them afterwards. However I usually just act when my heart tells me to. This is sometimes a dicey thing but all in all the instinct has served me well in my life.

The hard part for me comes in the waiting and the working. In the long term slow and steady. I am all about the sprint. I am willing to work hard, just get me to the end please so I can move on to the next thing. I don't do marathons.

At least I used to think that. I am not so sure anymore.

I have no idea what God was thinking when he placed it on my heart to write a book. Not just any book but a memoir of my life as Courtney's mother reliving everything one more time. This time though, I get to focus not only on the hard parts but celebrate the miracles that God has granted me and my beautiful family. It's not the first time I have thought He was a bit off His rocker. This is after all insanity. Does He not remember that I am dyslexic? That my grasp of grammar is non-existent? Seriously? Really??

You see writing a book feels like losing weight. It takes patience and perseverance. It takes sweat, self-denial, lots of aching muscles and sometimes tears. First, I am all excited to learn the craft and I put everything into it. Then I hit the first plateau and I realized I am not as smart or as talented as I once thought and I have to dig deep and work harder.

The old habits are still there, still weighing me down. This is sludge, true literary industry. It requires time. Dedicated, specific time to reach the daily goal. It's not an instant gratification kind of thing this creative process.

Once I break through that first plateau, I keep charging up the hill, feeling like I'm  almost there. I hit another one and figure it out learning something new each and every time. Then another comes and I begin to wonder "Am I really supposed to do this?" My heart says "yes" so I keep going even though time has passed and I am not sure if it's ever going to be done or if anyone even wants to read the darn thing for that matter. I plod on thinking I see the light at then end of the tunnel and stop to breathe. Deep recovering breathes. Looking back at my work I realize that there is still so much more to do.

I had my one month "check-up" at the gym this morning. It's been a month since I started working out again. Doctors orders. "Loose the weight or shorten your life." I find it fascinating that this would happen right when I thought I was almost done with my book only to realize that I needed to go back and do some major re-writing. I am running a marathon physically and mentally I am still in sprint mode. Fix it fast whatever it takes.

Oh, if only life worked that way.

I have lost five pounds and four inches in one month. I was shocked. Not in a good way. I gave up certain foods, perspired more than I have in decades and that's ALL I lost?

My trainer seeing my distress, looked at my face and smiled sweetly. "It's a marathon Mary. Baby steps. The engine is now turned on. NOW we start to rev it up."

Didn't I say I was a sprinter? Thought so. Marathon's take too long.

I was introduced to the BOSU ball and knew that I was going to be challenged like never before with new exercises. I attended my first spinning class and thought I would truly die it was so intense my lungs were burning after ten minutes. I persevered though.

The engine is now revving.

I came home kissed my sweet daughter and took some time for prayer. Then I opened up my laptop and reached deep and worked hard trying to put into words what it felt like when we received Courtney's diagnosis. I breathed deeply and told myself that I had already survived this so these emotions had no power over me anymore. Hard...really hard to relive sometimes. Then I remembered that I felt the exact same way when I went to my first critique group meeting.

I survived both experiences and have come out a stronger person/writer for them. During my quiet time this morning, I came upon this scripture passage and I thought "OK Lord. I hear you."

"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you."
Philippians 4: 8-9

I always hated to practice. I still am not a big fan of re-writes. But this morning I stopped and listened. I actually heard what He was saying to me.

"I know this is hard Mary. Harder than anything you have done in a very long time. But you will be stronger. You will be lighter not only physically but emotionally and spiritually. You can do this. Just keep your eyes on me and I will be with you. My timing is perfect timing. Just keep working. Keep sweating. Keep praying. Keep listening."

So my gift on this hot and humid Tuesday. It's the gift of determination to finish this marathon. I will not give up. I will continue this journey of healing with Jesus walking, writing, running, editing, spinning, sweating with me, healing my soul and my body. I will keep my eyes fixed on what is right and good. I will get tired I have no doubt. Discouragement will creep back in. It always does. I am just me after all. NO Superwoman here!

But I will rest in Him. I will be encouraged by His word. Then I will lace up my shoes and shine up the keyboard once more and get back at it, knowing this is what He has asked of me.

Blessings and Grace,

tuesdays unwrapped at cats