Wednesday, December 31, 2008


Nichole Nordeman's song has been running through my head the past week or so, a haunting chorus in the back of my conscious mind as I deal with the day-to-day:

The gate is wide
The road is paved in moderation
The crowd is kind and quick to pull you in
Welcome to the middle ground
You're safe and sound and
Until now it's where I've been

'Cause it's been fear that ties me down to everything
But it's been love, Your love, that cuts the strings

So long status quo
I think I just let go
You make me want to be brave
The way it always was
Is no longer good enough
You make me want to be brave
Brave, brave

I am small
And I speak when I'm spoken to
But I am willing to risk it all
I say Your name
Just Your name and I'm ready to jump
Even ready to fall...

Why did I take this vow of compromise?
Why did I try to keep it all inside?

So long status quo
I think I just let go
You make me want to be brave
The way it always was
Is no longer good enough
You make me want to be brave
Brave, brave

I've never known a fire that didn't begin with a flame
Every storm will start with just a drop of rain
But if you believe in me
That changes everything
So long, I'm gone

So long status quo
I think I just let go
You make me want to be brave
I wanna be brave
The way it always was
Is no longer good enough
You make me want to be brave
Brave, brave

I have been struggling for a while now with how to describe how 2008 has been for me. I have been through some really painful and tough spots this year. Without going into detail or breaking any confidences by saying too much, or saying too little and leaving too much open for speculation and misunderstanding, let's just say emotionally it was rough, painful, and not a little scary.

My reaction was typical for me: withdraw, lick my wounds, and live in fear.

I let go of who I was, my self-esteem and confidence were gone, and where I needed to be strong for friends going through some pretty tough stuff (spouse's stroke; divorce; mental illness; grieving deaths; friends moving away), I was an empty shell of myself, withdrawn and fearful, second-guessing every word spoken and written. Sometimes my husband said he was nervous about coming home at night, because he didn't know what he'd find behind the kitchen door.

Interestingly enough, however, I blossomed at work. I was in a nurturing environment where I was appreciated for every little thing I did. I was also able to volunteer at my daughters' dance studio for some small little things, and those too were appreciated.

Climbing out of the emotional pit was a process that continued into the summer. However, the scars remained, some quite raw. I had a lot of things to work through.

We did have some fun this summer, taking a nice family vacation across the state, a quick trip to our home state to visit hubby's extended family, and I had a post-Fourth of July trip to Vegas with my sister.

I still found, however, as fall gave way to winter in the Great Plains, that I continued to second-guess myself based on the lies that had been spoken to my spirit, that had settled in my soul, that were festering and turning into bitterness.

This leads me to my theme for this next year. It has been slipping in and out of my consciousness all week, and until I sat down to write this post, I wasn't really sure of its name. I felt like I was on the cusp of something bigger than myself, that God had in store for me.


Not fearful and timid. Brave.

I'm also returning to a Bible passage I've claimed before, particularly when my husband joined the active duty military: Joshua 1: 1-9. Here it is in the Message paraphrase:

Joshua 1:1-9

After the death of Moses the servant of God, God spoke to Joshua, Moses' assistant:
"Moses my servant is dead. Get going. Cross this Jordan River, you and all the people. Cross to the country I'm giving to the People of Israel. I'm giving you every square inch of the land you set your foot on—just as I promised Moses. From the wilderness and this Lebanon east to the Great River, the Euphrates River—all the Hittite country—and then west to the Great Sea. It's all yours. All your life, no one will be able to hold out against you. In the same way I was with Moses, I'll be with you. I won't give up on you; I won't leave you. Strength! Courage! You are going to lead this people to inherit the land that I promised to give their ancestors. Give it everything you have, heart and soul. Make sure you carry out The Revelation that Moses commanded you, every bit of it. Don't get off track, either left or right, so as to make sure you get to where you're going. And don't for a minute let this Book of The Revelation be out of mind. Ponder and meditate on it day and night, making sure you practice everything written in it. Then you'll get where you're going; then you'll succeed. Haven't I commanded you? Strength! Courage! Don't be timid; don't get discouraged. God, your God, is with you every step you take."

The NIV says, "The Lord your God will be with you wherever you go."

I have no reason to be fearful, or timid, or second-guessing every little thing. I'm being called to be loving and kind as always. Giving of myself and serving Him as always. Those callings haven't changed, and they're now a part of me that I could never erase.

I just need to do them without fear. Because He is with me wherever I go.

Happy 2009, everyone. I'm going to be brave.


Think Pink Dana said...

I love you Pattie. I am glad you are my friend.
You are braver than you realize.

Maria said...

I love you to Pattie - and I pray that the challenges you face this year will strengthen and encourage you!

Karen said...

Hi Pattie, thanks for visiting my blog :) This is a great new year's reflection; bravo. You're already brave for having thought it all out so clearly. By the way, I'm a military brat and my dad is still in the Air Force after 20+ years (he's a flight surgeon) and my brother is a fighter pilot for the Navy. I saw in your profile that you're a military wife...I always feel a connection with military people even though I haven't lived with my parents for over 10 years! :)

deal of the day said...

You are indeed a brave girl.