“We never live; we are always in the expectation of living.”
Clay and I will celebrate our 40th anniversary next summer, God willing. But as I look back through the years, it is the devoted partnership where we held fast, the ways we celebrated mundane rhythms of life every day, every night, the “Forgive me,” the persevering through all the years and phases of childhood with our crew where the value of our relationship was forged, where the Clarkson story took root, where our ministry was birthed. It was in the meantime between big events where the treasures were found.
Yesterday, savoring warm, buttered banana, chocolate chip muffins and sipping strong tea, Joy and Joel and I gathered for our afternoon ritual. Joy is waiting to finish her first book and also her PHD. She has worked on her PHD for many years and is at the grueling end of it.
“I wonder if I will ever be finished!” she exclaimed.
Joel, nodded in agreement. “I am just trying day by day to finish this one chapter and then I have so much left to go.”
And I am waiting to see if they will ever be allowed to go back to Scotland with the border closed.
And waiting to plan my next year, but waiting on the virus to go away.
Tomorrow is the Inauguration for President Elect Biden. Collectively, no matter who you voted for, we all wait to see what is ahead. Will it be calm? Will it be violent? How will he change what is happening in our country for good or bad? We all wait, …, again, for history to take place. We wait for news of life opening up from Corona Virus. And on and on.
I have waited to fall in love. Waited to get married. Waited to get pregnant. Waited to get pregnant again. Waited for 19 houses to sell when moving and waited to find another suitable place.
Waited for children to be out of diapers, to learn to read, to grow up, and on and on it goes.
Clay has waited through all of these seasons by my side. What does life hold? What is going to happen?
Most of life is in the “In between.”
And yet, what we do in the meantime is what really defines the story of our lives.
As Clay and I waited together when our hopes were only ideas we talked about together, we worked hard to start a ministry without any money.
We hosted our first conference with only 11 people.
We talked late at night about whether we would ever be qualified to write books. We lived through illnesses, moves, car wrecks, out of the box children, asthmatic children, family trauma, church drama. And yet, these places are where our character was made and our story grew with integrity. Each season of learning to be faithful in hard times, of pushing through to see if God would answer prayer, learning to forgive when we didn’t feel like it, loving a child who was acting in an unlovable way.
What you choose to believe and cherish, practice and submit to, work at and believe in happens when no one else is looking. These are the glorious days your children will remember—the joy of the meantime, the moments cherished, the memories made at bedtime, table time, birthdays, times of illness.
So, who knows what tomorrow or the next day will bring. But what will you do in the meantime?