Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Eclipsing Redux

It is most definitely July. My garden confirms it as well as the weeds.

How we arrived here, in July, I have no idea.
I remember clearly sitting in Mr. Nofzinger's class as a fifth grader, and the days were slow.
Then they weren't. And now it's July.

Despite the speed in which life is flying (although in other ways it's not moving at all) I have found in many ways I keep spinning in the same circle. Hitting the same feelings and thoughts and struggles. I set to browsing through old postings when I came across one that I thought felt right to revisit.

Last winter (2013-2014) for some reason was exceptionally long for me. Entering into February tends to bring some type of hope or relief but instead I felt bogged down (probably by feet of snow!).
Instead of me looking forward to spring (and the relief that comes with) I was living in the depths of winter.

Then, I went to church and as usual, (when I listen for a minute) God spoke to me.
(The below in italics is what I posted previously, originally found here.)

"... Life brings winter in summer and spring. When new life is growing, and taking shape, winter of life will rob us of the green blessings. That is what I allowed to happen to me. I have been wondering around (not literally because last week I realized I didn't leave my house once I got there Sunday night, and didn't leave really until Saturday) desperate and uncertain. Holding onto,
"What do I do?" and "What should I be?" instead of living in  the "Here I am now."

This morning I went to church full of anxiety. It could be about anything. Anxiety makes a big deal out of something that is really a "no" deal.

In the music service, there was a song that was sung. It is a song I have sung hundreds of times over several years. I know the words. I have sung the words (sorry to those in front of me) loudly. I believed them. But today one phrase jumped out to me. "Afflictions eclipsed by glory." The meaning of those four words announced itself and while the song was going on and on I was caught up and I stopped still.

Afflictions eclipsed by glory. See, in my winter, glory was eclipsed by affliction. I allowed all of the every day, the weariness, the tiredness, the anxiousness over shadow everything that God has for me. God has peace for me. Peace, that quiet calm feeling, inside when nothing is actually quiet. I know God has been trying to speak to me. Trying to get me to stop listening to the winter and focus on Him. (In fact I won a magnet this past week that had the word peace on it and with a definition.) God had been talking to me all week. He was saying be still. But above my noise and my shouting I couldn't hear Him.  God has a purpose for me. God has a plan for me. My world I know is very small. Regardless of that God has the desire to use me for a purpose and to take care of me along the way."

What is an eclipse? It is "an obscuring of the light from one celestial body by the passage of another between it and the observer." In the moment of hearing that song I realized that my daily dreary drudgery was obscuring the shine that God had for me. And, because I love history so much I've let the eclipsing repeat itself.

But, God. Two of my favorite words to say together (when used correctly). But, God doesn't give up on me. He likes to remind me of things over and over and over again (and one day I might get it right). This weekend I've been ride the wave called crazy and have gone from moments of total peace, to moments of complete ...psycho.

So what's a gal to do? Continue on this same ride? Or, perhaps allow glory to eclipse these afflictions and toss off winter once and for all?
I'm thinkin' so.
It is after all July.

Be True,

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Turning Pages

I am a cheater.
I know that all of you must have gasped out loud as you read that statement. Stephanie? A cheater? No.
Alas, it is true, at least partly. I know as I'm about to type this statement I all have swarms of people shaking their heads in disdain, but this is a longtime habit that has yet to be broken.

I, Stephanie Hunter, look ahead.

It's true. I'm a last-chapter, final-minute-movie-watcher, look-aheader.
What does that mean?

Well, in the case of a book, I may frantically scan to the end of the book and peruse pages for my new *friends, ensuring their safety; confirming that the appropriate loves have connected, the mystery is solved, the story complete. And, when it comes to a movie, through squinted eyes, I forward the movie to the near ending and ensure the same.
I am typically... disappointed.
All of you aforementioned folks who find my habit despicable are now applauding. Serves me right, no? I deserve the disappointment at looking ahead. However, the disappointment might not be exactly what you think. The disappointment lies in the fact that the ending...makes no sense.
By soaring through days, months, years of my characters' lives I'm missing out on important pieces, the blocks that built the story perfectly, and quite frankly it makes no sense. Even skipping ahead a mere handful of pages (which may or may not have happened a week ago) I'm at a loss for what I missed. The end result is that I go back to where I was to begin with, and I must read or watch until the end.

So it is truly a good thing that God has not provided me with my Life Book, or I'd have done gone and ruined the ending. I say if only as though I'm secretly glad that don't have said book. I really wanna know. Life is more than a 200 page turner.  There are twists and corners. There are every days, full of dishes and cleaning the bathroom. There are sad and quiet days. More days of gardening and (movies and books) painting. Exciting days of visiting friends and squeezing on babies. However,  I keep flipping through to find what happens next, when really I need to live now. When we choose to live in any dimension other than the present, we miss out. We miss out on the purpose God has for us today, and really I'm no good today if I'm already into next week.

There is an ending that I do know about.  And while this does not guarantee that I will have everything I want, God will give me what I need.  Meantime, I just have to trust Him, shine a bit of light around and enjoy the story that's happening now.  No skipping ahead this time; the ink's not yet dry on today.

Much love,

Saturday, March 07, 2015


It was approximately midnight Wednesday night as my dad and I were driving down the tollroad when I burst into laughter.

I should probably go back a few days.

It was Sunday morning, and I was traveling to Connecticut for work. My dad was driving me to the airport (and picking me up when I returned) so that when I returned late Wednesday night I wouldn't be driving alone.

Of course it was March, and I was heading out East, so there was the possibility that the flights would be delayed. Of course, I had my packing completed, and my list of "what to take with me," crossed off, so I double checked my flight, and I was good to roll!

About an hour and a half later I checked my flight again, and there was no delay. Nope. Flipped right to cancelled. I made a phone call. Sent some texts. Made another phone call. And another. And, hey! We're still on our way, but instead of to Midway, we're off to O'Hare. (Again, great thing my dad is driving me.) The timing was perfect. I would arrive within plenty of time to find my gate, find a snack, settle in to a leisurely hour or two of waiting, working, reading, etc.

And then the announcement came. "Delayed."
And delayed again.
And then boarding began.
And then we were delayed.
And the people who boarded were deboarded(?)
And we were delayed.
On the plane.
And then we waited for an hour on the plane (far more comfortable to be waiting on the plane- as we were told).
And then we were off.
Arriving in New York at that  moment was one of the happiest moments in my life.

Of course, when it came time for my return flight I was expecting nothing less than a ten minute delay at least. Yeah, I was wrong, or perhaps right.
An hour after our initial boarding time, we did board. And remarkably we were in the air. And then we landed.
And then we had to wait because around a hundred planes were grounded because their flights were cancelled, so we had no empty gate.
Then we were assigned a gate. But, we couldn't get to the gate, because the pilot was not at the plane, because he was in another plane, waiting to be assigned to a gate.

Obviously, we did finally get a gate. And we finally unboarded(?) the plane. And I made it to baggage claim. Nothing made me happier than seeing my dad and Papaw waiting for me there.
And then my bag was not there.
It didn't arrive earlier.
It didn't arrive with me.
Apparently it just didn't arrive.

That leads us all to the tollroad. We were heading back home, bag-less, and I could do nothing but laugh.


The irony is, I am not patient when it comes to waiting. I'm a fast decider. I want things now. I never want to wait. I want what I want. I guess you could say I want it now. But for some reason this week, waiting for the plane(s) and the weather to change and my luggage to arrive I had an odd sense of calm. Odd as in I was not throwing an internal angry fit (as I have often done). There was nothing to be done. Nothing but wait. And yet, I saw quite a few instances of folks who were not okay with waiting (as you can probably imagine). I knew that I didn't want to be one of those angry because of something I couldn't change (like the weather).  While waiting in those (many, many, many, did I say many?) moments, I made choices. Choices to laugh instead of cry. Choices to smile instead of frown. Choices.

I don't typically make these (patient, I'm cool and calm and fine with waiting choices). But maybe in a small way I am learning to be patient.

"I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."  I think I can live with that.

Oh, and yes, I finally did get my luggage.