This past month or so has been filled with challenges for me, and I'm actively trying to use it as an opportunity to move forward and focus on other things.
But sometimes, my heart still hurts.
Sometimes, I really long for the routines and daydreams that I had to give up.
When I slip into wanting to grab hold of the past and hang on tight, I reach out to a friend and just ask, "is it okay to still hope, or is it time to let go?"
Her response is short and sweet, "Don't balk."
Balk verb 1. hesitate or be unwilling to accept an idea or undertaking. 2. thwart or hinder (a plan or person). 3. prevent a person or animal from having (something). 4. (of a horse) refuse to go on. 5. archaic miss or refuse (a chance or invitation).
I'm not sure how I have friends that are clear and concise when compared to my rambling narratives that drift in and out of streams of thought.
I suppose opposites attract.
"Don't balk" doesn't quite heal a heart that hurts.
I suppose only time does that.
And time, when your heart hurts, certainly creeps slowly.
However, that leaves a lot of moments for reading and quilting and trying new recipes, and just readjusting to new routines.
I grabbed a book off my bookshelf today: Keep a Quiet Heart by Elisabeth Elliot.
It might not have caught my attention the last time I read this book, but this time, I stopped on page 12.
...This was my heart's desire then. It is the same today. A willing acceptance of all that God assigns and a glad surrender of all that I am and have constitute the key to receiving the gift of a quiet heart. Whenever I have balked, the quietness goes. It is restored, and life immeasurably simplified, when I have trusted and obeyed.
I've been telling myself for weeks that I have to just be quiet. It must be the year for it. I am a chatty introvert. I don't know why. But I keep finding walls that used to be doors and windows, and words don't seem to get through walls as easily as doors and windows.
Sometimes, when I don't understand and I want so badly to understand, I get anxious. I get panicked. I get sad. I balk.
And just as Elisabeth Elliot said, "Whenever I have balked, the quietness goes."
I say things that don't need to be said to people who don't want to hear them anyhow.
I ask questions I don't need to know the answers to.
I look back at what I had and stop thinking about what is before me.
None of those things help me keep a quiet heart.
They simply muddy the waters and then I keep trying to hold onto things that aren't mine to hold onto.
I suppose a heart only holds on for so long before it quits hoping and let's go of old dreams.
I don't know how long that takes because no one gave me a timetable.
Maybe a heart holds onto old dreams long enough to find new ones.
Sometimes I think, maybe I'll turn doors and windows into walls and not let anymore of the world in. But then I also know that isn't me. It will never be me, even if I want it to be so that I don't have those frazzled and insecure moments in life where I no longer know where I'm headed.
So I sit and I stitch, and the clock keeps ticking, and life keeps moving, and I keep having gentle reminders not to balk, and to just have a quiet heart, even though it hurts and the pieces aren't falling into place easily.
I just keep reminding myself that my heart was content and quiet when all I had was a needle and thread and time to myself to quilt the hours away.
Perhaps it's a season in my life where I just need to accept that might be where I'll find my quiet heart still waiting for me, right where I left it.
If all God ever gives me is a needle and thread, and none of the other things I'd hoped for, I have to learn to be content with that. It is enough.