I'm Elizabeth and God designed me to be an encourager, a dreamer, a story teller and most importantly, a Kingdom builder.
I have been waiting for November for what feels like forever. Not because I can’t wait for Thanksgiving (although I love it!), or because I love seeing Christmas decorations overtake the aisles of Target, Hobby Lobby and Costco the moment the clock strikes midnight (and sometimes before) on Halloween. I’ve been waiting for November because this past October was one of the busiest months I’ve ever experienced. Hands-down. Ever.
I started thinking about November long before the beginning of October. In fact, I think it was around August that I started to daydream fondly of what the first days of November would feel like. What it would be like to wake up on Sunday, November 1st, with not just Halloween gone by, but the entire month of October.
From the first day to the last, it was relentless. Long days, short weekends, plane flights, packed suitcases, piles of laundry, dishes and mail piled up. Two large events, one of which I planned and organized for the past 54 weeks (SHOWIT UNITED 2015), and one that I spoke at (Pursuit Conference – Fall 2015) became the focus of the majority of my time and effort. I also photographed two back-to-back weddings smack dab in the middle of Pursuit and UNITED. I spread my time, my energy and myself thin, thin, thin.
And the entire time I just kept thinking, November. Ahh November, if I can just make it to November.
Waking up this morning (at 5:30am because that’s what my body has adjusted to in order to complete the October to-do list), I spent a quiet two hours alone on my couch catching up on one of my favorite television shows, Project Runway. There were a million other things I could have, and maybe should have done. The literal aftermath of October in our house is piles of laundry (mountains may be a more appropriate description), a desk that is literally buried in papers, mail and random stuff, and general disorganization in every direction the eye can see. It’s not quite Disneyland for Hoarders, but it would give someone with OCD cause for a panic attack. And needless to say, my husband and I aren’t big fans of the current state of things.
But taking those two hours to quietly cuddle into my couch, under my favorite throw blanket, wrapped in my new favorite robe (a gift from my friend Karen) with a cup of steaming hot Twinings English Breakfast tea in my favorite Starbucks mug with the little yellow cab and the skyline of New York City dancing around the cup, I felt triumphant. I survived October, and November arrived just as quietly and sweetly as I dreamed it would.
Sometimes we’re waiting for November because we’re just trying to survive October; and sometimes October and November are just metaphors for the mountain we’re climbing and the promise of rest we’re anticipating.
Just as the earth goes through seasons of change, so do we. Some seasons are mellow and have an ease about them. Others are punctuated by struggle and strife. Some seem to last forever, and others arrive and are gone in the blink of an eye. And just because I am celebrating the arrival of November and the anticipation of the quiet and rest that will come with it, doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate, and hold dear every day of October. Last month was one of the greatest months I’ve ever had. It wasn’t easy, and I’m exhausted, but it was so worth it.
The hard seasons, the ones that press us and pull us, are the ones that grow us the most. The seasons of struggle and strife are often the places we can look back upon and see our God-given gifts and talents used and developed in ways that could never be accomplished in times of quiet and calm.
Maybe your “October” is really November and you’re just waiting for December 1st to arrive. Or maybe 2015 has been the opposite of a very good year, and you’re just waiting to dance on it’s grave this New Year’s Eve; craving the moment when you wake up with the promise of a new beginning on January 1st. Whether you’re climbing the mountain, or down in the valley, wherever you are on the journey you’re on, please hear this, you are not alone. Whatever your October is, keep pressing on. Look towards November and keep hope. Learn to find pleasure and contentment in small victories and when you reach the peak of your mountain, take time to celebrate how far you’ve come. From the mountaintop you’ll be amazed at how absolutely beautiful the valley and the hillside you’ve climbed out of can look from a new vantage point.
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