Often I get told that I’m brave by venturing out by myself.  That makes me smile because I’ve never considered myself a courgeous person.  There are somethings that scare me such as spiders, mice, snakes, and unusual sounds in the house at night.  However, going places by myself isn’t scary.  Sometimes it’s lonely, but sitting alone and letting life pass me by would be worse.

I’m not afraid of going places alone.  When I was part of a pair, we’d go as a family.  I did strike out on my own for a three-day camping trip when Cameron went to band camp at Beaver’s Bend.  On Thursday parents were invited to come for a ‘snap drill.’  I didn’t have anything to do that week since it was summertime and John was working.

I drove up there on a Tuesday to tent camp.  I had practiced putting up the tent on my own in the backyard and packed what I’d need.  I was so proud of myself for being ‘independent.’  I smile at that now.  I had no idea what that really meant.  I picked out a camping site close to the river, not too far from where the band was located.  I tried to get the silly tent up, but I couldn’t get it to pop into position.  Finally, I gave up and borrowed Cam to come help me put it up.  Together it was easy and after he went back, I explored my surroundings.

It was fairly empty early in the week, but as the week progressed the camping spots filled up.  I’d spend my day exploring and every evening, I started a campfire.  It wasn’t as much fun as I thought it would be.  I was lonely and wanted to share the experience with John.  In fact, I’d lay on the hood of the car, look up at the sky, and talk to him on the phone.  We had tent camped four or five times before and I had enjoyed it, but camping by myself just felt empty.  I was happy when Thursday finally came.

With my loss, I have also gained.   I’m reminded of the song,  Blessed Be the Name of the Lord.  With my faith, I have experienced God’s amazing grace and peace.  When I’m faced with situations, I know my God is standing with me being my strength.  There’s not anything that can deter me when I think of the power holding me in His arms.  Going into a place alone is hardly intimidating if I think of all that I’ve already come through with His strength.

I do prefer going places with people, but being alone doesn’t stop me from trying new things and going to new places by myself.  I don’t ever want to limit my life experiences because I’m a single person.

Sometimes I’m asked if I’ve ever felt uncomfortable or unnerved doing something alone.  I’m not usually ever afraid to do something by myself because I try to believe and see the best in people.  That hasn’t always been my motto.  When Cam was younger and we’d go to Super One at night, I’d say to him, “This isn’t the best place to be at night, so let’s hurry.”  Now that sentence makes me laugh.  Maybe it was because I was experiencing ‘mom paranoia.’  I can’t tell you the number of places that I’ve been out late at night and I don’t experience those feelings of being afraid.  I’m not so naive that I’m not cautious and alert, but I don’t naturally assume that places are creepy and people’s actions will be negative.

I never felt the need to nurture my courage when I had John beside me.  I was content with following, but to be honest I never thought about stepping out because I was happy in my life and in my role as wife and mom.  It’s a role I never wanted to give up.  Proudly, Mom is still my name, but ‘man’ is replacing ‘boy.’  No matter how tightly we hold on to the here and now…time changes and we mature and grow.

Maturity brings both hindsight and the precious hope of a beautiful future.  Only God knows our future and we can only accept that there’s no changing the past.  It is our history with all the joys and pains that we’ve experienced.  I’m transformed, not only by my faith, but through my trials, joys, and people around me.  My experiences both in the past and what will happen in my future will continue to add to who I am.  I heard this on television, “God may not always still the storms on the outside, but He will still the storms on the inside.”  I thought that was beautifully said.

Brave?  No, I’m simply living life.  The life that God planned for me.  What’s in the future?  I don’t know.  I only know my past and I can only go forward.  I pray that God will continue to guide me.  Whether I stumble or walk the life He plans.  I go forward.  My life should be harvesting fruit for Him.  I do hope that I’m representing God well.  I try to remember all the small lives that I touch and hopefully I touch some adult lives too.  I hope I’ve instilled my values in Cameron.  I pray that God transforms his life and all his experiences add to his life too.  Cam has experienced much in his young lifetime and I see many positive outcomes from them.

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; …

Ecclesiastes 3: 1-22 ESV

I thank God for His promises, His timing, His strength, and His peace.  I thank Him for allowing me new experiences and for being with me when I do step out.

One of the things that I’ve gotten from stepping out and trying new things is finding out how much I enjoy dancing.

When dancing, often my feet get confused with the steps and I find myself ‘out of step’ with my partner.  Immediately I know that I’m out of sync, but getting back in step is not always easy.  I think that is a great analogy for life.  When I’m out of step with God’s plan, I might not always know which way to put my feet, but I can tell I’m out of sync.

Just like the men that are thoughtful enough to take the time to help me count or turn me so that we can practice steps facing forward, God loves me and turns me in the right direction and helps me keep count.  It may not always be a dance that I find easy to follow, but I find joy at the finish of it.