Stuck in the Sweet in the Middle
by Robin Steinweg
Do you ever feel you’re in that awkward, in-between stage? I sure do!
I recently spent years stuck in a crushing middle. Round and round I turned from the growing needs of aging parents to those of growing sons to those of work. I’d carve hours from sleepless nights to write, compose, or read. More often to pray. My husband accepted leftovers with grace and gratitude. Not just food, but time and energy. He was stuck in his own middle, caring for his dad and doing more for my parents than can be recorded.
Now our parents are gone. I’m living in the middle of grief, rediscovering who I am if no longer a caregiver. Looking to experience—and to pass on—the rich life Jesus came to give us (John 10:10). Know what? God shows me things I can do so He can help me move forward. I’m not stuck here. I get to be here, where it can be sweet in the middle!
If you’re in the midst of circumstances or even past them, it’s never too late to rediscover who you are. Try some of the following:
- Develop friendships with people who will build you up.
- Find ways to build others up.
- Journal what you’re going through as a way to release feelings.
- Photo journal or doodle journal.
- Admit if you need help.
- Get more color in your surroundings/clothing.
- List your blessings.
- Express more gratitude.
- Find ways to expand or share your hobbies.
- Join a book club.
- Volunteer to help others.
- If you have grieving to do, do it whole-heartedly. But don’t stay there.
- Live fully. Enjoy what God gives you to enjoy.
- Dream again. Don’t hold back—dream big. What does God have for you next?
These ideas have helped. Yes, I still pick up the phone to call my mom or find jigsaw puzzles for my dad. I still if wonder I could have, should have done more for them. Guilt and remorse creep in.
But I realize that’s the voice of our enemy, the accuser. So I intentionally turn to words of life in God’s Word. I leave my broken heart at Jesus’ feet. I embrace the blessings He sends my way.
I affirm this truth: It is Sweet in the Middle!
About the Author:
Robin Steinweg says life is like a sandwich-cookie. Whatever circumstances close in on us, it can be Sweet in the Middle. Her writings can be found in Today’s Christian Woman, Upper Room, Secret Place and The Christian Pulse. She also writes monthly for Music Teachers Helper blog.
The word for my year is transformation and as always, I’m constantly looking to see how that word applies to my life. A few days ago I received news that I can’t stop thinking about. A little girl is gone and her parents, amazing parents who were great to us when we lived in NY, are shattered and forever changed. A tragic accident that took place in a split second.
Then I saw the breaking news coming out of the Fort Lauderdale airport. One minute passengers are focusing on travel, the next, diving for cover because of gunfire. I read on one of the sites I belong to that a cousin was one of the victims. Again, everything transforming in a split second.
I realize those transformations can come with good news, too. A marriage proposal. A birth. Hearing about a job promotion, or even getting a call that you got the job. It means in a second you go from that title to a new one. A change in address, perhaps. And always so much more.
I am one of those that is always so far ahead in my thinking that I am guilty of missing out on celebrating the present. My dear friend told me her goal for the year was to choose present over perfect. I love that. I want to embrace what I have in my life. This week showed me that can all go away in a moment. I don’t want to have regrets. But in search of perfect, I’ve missed out on the present. That’s not how I want to approach life.
Are there examples you can think of where your life changed in a split second? What are transformations you can think of?
2016, A Year of BIG Surprises, by Janetta Fudge Messmer
“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” I Thessalonians 5:16-18
These verses are favorites of mine, and I’ve used them as my blog heading for years. They remind me of what the Lord expects of me each and every day. To rejoice. To pray. To give thanks.
2016 has been a year of all years. One for the record books for thankfulness, and one I’ll never forget. I’m almost sure I told the Lord “thank you” a million times. A slight exaggeration, but He blessed the socks right off my feet. Let me give you a few examples of his lovingkindness:
- I’m a published author of three books (Early Birds, Southbound Birds, and Chords of Love). And it happened this year.
- The Lord continues to bless me with a great husband. This year he also rocks as my CEO of Marketing and Daily Operations.
- I turned 60 years old in January (not an easy age to reach when you still feel 16, and act like it most of the time)
- I’m over-the-top thankful for our pooch, Maggie. She’s the one who gave me the great idea for my debut novel, Early Birds. (Piece of advice: Always listen to your pet when they ‘talk’ to you. Might surprise you what they have to say).
As you can see, I could go on for days about what I’m thankful for. But, I do have days that it takes every bit of my energy to see past the problem in my path. To even utter a coherent prayer. To proclaim victory in His name.
It is at those tough times that I pick up my Bible and reread (as many times as it takes to get it through my head) I Thessalonians 5: 16-18. These three verses are where I find the remedy to what ails me. They help me to realign with what the Lord is trying to teach me through His word.
What about you? Has life thrown you a few curve balls (illness/extra doctor bills, car not running right, job ended, relationship, etc.) Take it from me, read the verses in I Thessalonians and follow His instructions: Rejoice always. Pray continually. Give thanks in all circumstances.
Trust me, if you do these three things, it’ll be a life changing experience. Won’t you give it a try? The Lord is waiting for you.
Janetta Fudge Messmer Bio:
Janetta Fudge-Messmer is an inspirational author, editor and speaker. She’s received Honorable Mention for fiction and nonfiction articles from Byline Magazine. She also received Honorable Mention for a fiction article from Writer’s Digest Magazine. Her article, “A Working Relationship” was published in Guideposts Magazine. Guideposts Books published, “Shorthaired Miracle”. Along with writing, Janetta also speaks at seminars, helping others to “Tell Your Story”. Janetta, her husband Ray and precious pooch Maggie, became full-time RVers in 2013 and love traveling around the USA in their Minnie Winnie.
Book #2 in the Early Bird series finds Rose and Larry Wilford hitting the highway on their next RV adventure. Ben and Betsy Stevenson are right behind them in their 5th wheel. The other two Early Birds, Jeff and Mary Miller, promise to hook up with them as soon as they finish some ‘business’ in Colorado.
On their way to Florida, they make a stop in Mississippi. Soon Rosie wonders if they’ll ever get On the Road Again. The RVs have stalled in Biloxi and it has nothing to do with mechanical issues in any of their rigs. They’ve found another church that needs their help.
Rose, Betsy and Mary spend their days as fashion consultants, dressing young women for success (or as Rosie says, “Playing dress up.”). Larry, Ben and Jeff, they’re up to their eyeballs in sheetrock and drywall mud, and any other handyman task they can find to do.
The one thing Rosie has decided, if and when they start traveling toward the Sunshine State, she’ll still occupy the passenger seat of their dually. No driving for her. Larry can pester her all he wants.
And the fact her bestest friend, Betsy, drove their albatross on I-10 and lived to tell about it, won’t change her mind either. The only way Rose will get behind the wheel is if the Lord, Himself, figures out a way to put her there. ‘Cause at the moment, F.E.A.R. is her middle name.
Instead of legally changing her name or letting trepidation win, Rosie does what she does best. She PRAYS. Larry, on the other hand, is having troubles too. His prayer is that their 5th wheel survives his driving and he’s not sure it will. One more mishap and he’s handing the keys to his wife.
The Early Birds continue to have as many surprises as the state of Florida has palm trees. So why don’t you come along, if you dare. Rose, Larry, Ben, Betsy, Jeff and Mary (and some new friends) would love to have you join them on their travels across the U.S.A.
Connect with Janetta at:
Early Birds, Southbound Birds, and My Secret Love, are Available on Amazon: https://goo.gl/SX7mfP
Hello? Remember me? I can’t remember the last time I blogged an update. It has been a very busy season and I was blessed when Kathy Carlton Willis and her team sent me some wonderful blog posts to share this fall. They were wonderful and spanned throughout late September and October. Thank you, Kathy and team!
I thought I’d share what’s been going on and what’s coming up.
- I finished teaching Uninvited by Lysa TerKeurst in as many as 5 different ways. I’ve never done this before and it was a HUGE step of faith. I taught it as a Sunday School Class and as it usually goes, I think I learned the most. I was able to lower my walls and make new friends. There have been times my biggest rejections came from teaching, so this was HARD. But God saw me through it, and I’m thankful. I taught twice a week through an online Facebook group (no video) and that was special. I’m so proud of those ladies. I also met with people privately and/or shared my journaling to encourage those I know are struggling. This book is a life-changer. I put it up there with Beth Moore’s Believing God.
- My husband is on the tail end of teaching seven weeks straight. Most of those weeks were not local, so that put me on full-time duty. It isn’t easy for any of us, but this is new for him, training on a full-time schedule, and he enjoys it.
- Our oldest started college. I didn’t think much of the transition because he is a commuter student, and honestly, I’m still recovering from his senior year of high school. His grades are amazing and he’s made a couple connections. We see more change on the horizon come January, but we think they are open doors we are excited to see him walk through.
- Our youngest started middle school. I also didn’t think much of the transition because physically, it is a move down the hall. No big deal, right? But, I forgot the drama. So much with girls and middle school. I really struggled with this one, but through it, she learned wisdom and discernment, and boundaries. I’m drained, and the hard part is, we’re just entering the teen years.
There was also a visit to my home town and a quick trip to the Adirondacks. I’m still critiquing and writing ENGAGED. I’m not where I want to be with it, but I have much of it plotted, so it should flow well. The feedback I’m receiving from promotions I did with ENTRUSTED and ENTANGLED has been so positive, I’m so grateful. I also did a book club for ENTANGLED and that went really well. I’m trying one for ENTRUSTED on my author page, but it is slow going. I think that will pick up once more readers find me. And I pray they do!
At the end of Uninvited, Lysa TerKeurst challenges readers to have the courage to ask loved ones, “What’s it like to do life with me?” Boy, that is tough. I haven’t done the official assessment yet, but late August my husband shared something that I knew was a blindspot for me, I didn’t see it. And instead of feeling rejected, I knew it was an area to work on.
So that’s everything going on right now. Tired? I am. I didn’t even talk about all the menopause stuff and the changed I’ve implemented. But that’s what life is like with me right now. Busy!
Stay tuned, throughout November guest bloggers will be sharing why they are thankful. I LOVE this series, I think it is our 9th year. I still have openings, you do NOT have to be a writer to participate. All you need to be is thankful!
To sign up, find a date that is open in November, click the box on the right, hit submit in the center bottom box. It will confirm and send you an email, and also a reminder. If you have trouble, let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d be happy to help.
Sign up HERE