Present Perfect Progressive
Who's idea was it to keep a few school subjects going through the Summer?
Oh yeah, it was mine.
Hi friends. Happy Friday from the comfy chair at the local Panera.
I'm not sure how I rate to get the living room chair but I'm not complaining.
How's Summer treating you?
Here in NE Ohio I'm enjoying one thunderstorm after another and find some sneaky joy in overcast grumbly skies.
I think deep down I'm an overcast kinda gal.
One of my kiddos is enjoying Algebra and the other some serious English tutoring.
One gets my husband and all of his "B positive blood type" goodness usually served with a warm cup of coffee and a side of smiles and jokes.
The other gets her mother's "O positive blood type" (which I'm just wondering... does this mean that NOTHING is positive?) goodness usually served with some warm frustration, iced tea on the swing while simultaneously making sure the dog doesn't roll in something dead in the yard.
I think Algebra is really where it's "At" these days.
I'm learning more about verb tenses than I actually ever wanted to and hear things like, "I can go ask Dad if you don't know Mom," more times than I can count.
When I was younger I remember being fascinated with this show called, "Thirty-Something."
Yes, when most girls were enjoying the Cosby Show I was over here all wondering what my thirties would look like.
The show was full of couples with house payments and crying babies and copious amounts of coffee.
I remember thinking, my thirties will only be possible with coffee on repeat.
And these were the days before pumpkin spiced creamers if you can even imagine.
Call me an old-soul, but I remember looking forward to refinishing hardwood trim in an old house with crazy kids and a husband who always came home asking what smelled so good for dinner.
With squeaky toys under our feet and a dog that needed taken out again.
From where I sat it looked pretty amazingly ordinarily wonderful.
I wouldn't call myself someone who loves the same 'ole, but there's just a cozy that runs all the way to your toes found in the comfort of familiar.
And here's the funny thing.
I blinked and then I myself was at the end of my very own thirties.
And you really do need coffee but it's usually after dinner with a piece of thick apple pie and a forcefield around the sticky dinner table that keeps the kids from asking 2 million more questions until you and your college sweetheart have time to remember each other's middle names again.
I remember the very day we moved from a New York country parsonage back to my old stomping grounds here in Ohio.
I also remember how many memories from life found my new address.
Just like an old suitcase that kept getting forwarded to me.
Memories I was able to outrun in my twenties because I was a size 4 and actually had energy.
Some amazing but more too difficult to wade through.
Things that all of a sudden in your thirties hit you hard and feel like the rug has been pulled-out from underneath you.
In your twenties you looked at this suitcase of hard you carry around and shrugged. Maybe you were too busy with marriage and ministry and new babies to care. Life was good.
Then in your thirties you decide that everything needs a good cleaning including that suitcase and you unlatch it and begin to dig around in the nitty-gritty of your life.
Half-mesmerized at what this suitcase has held for SO long and half-discouraged by the thought of letting your mind rehearse this pile you desperately realize that you will never out-run the difficult.
And twenties may make this load seem light but thirties remind you that not only are you interested in shaving off your waistline but any extra emotional baggage as well.
And here's where verb tenses come in.
Yesterday on the swing when I was helping my youngest understand the idea of something happening now, something that has happened, or something that WILL happen, the idea of the present perfect progressive tense sent me thinking.
"The present perfect progressive tense, also present perfect continuous, expresses an action that begins in the past and lasts until a present or almost present moment. The timing of this action is not specified, instead, the result or process of the action is emphasised."
Did you get all that English mumbo-jumbo friends?
Somewhere between your first meals and your last child's birth you might have a tendency to spend a bit too much time dragging the past around.
Planting roots back in Ohio reminded me that I had some things that were keeping me from a bright and shiny future.
God is big enough for the "why's?"
He's big enough to ask where he was, why he didn't or even why he did.
I remember through tears telling my husband that there were a few things that I needed the Lord to walk me though and that I didn't know how things were going to turn out.
Thankfully, God ALWAYS knows how things will turn out when we turn to him.
You see your baggage is just between you and the Lord.
He is the only one who was there when each difficulty happened, knows your heart better than you do, and can help you move from the past into a perfect present with him.
I'm uber glad I unloaded this suitcase with the Lord before "deconstruction" was even a "thing."
I wasn't interested in "deconstruction." I was interested in the future with the same Lord who saw me as a five-year-old bus kid and an insecure eighth-grader who just wanted to be loved.
I wanted to prove him, not wipe my difficult away.
And I'm here to tell you that here in my mid-forties, he can be trusted.
He can be trusted with your past, your present and with your future.
He had been waiting for me to open that suitcase, right there with patience, a word of comfort and even a big box of Kleenex.
He had open arms and understood my confusion, fearfulness and anger.
I just needed to open that suitcase and give myself the gift of space with him.
Grammatically, emotionally, spiritually and even physically I needed to move from the past to the present perfect progressing with the Lord.
Look. We all have "things."
Things we cannot make peace with on our own.
Things that our closest friends cannot change or sort out.
Things that our husbands' love cannot cover.
It's the easiest, most natural thing for me to look "back."
This enables me to connect the dots, tell a fun story that might help someone.
But I can also grab shame, disappointment or hurt that will keep me from moving forward.
A forward-hoping glance is not my "norm."
(refer to previous overcast comment.)
Looking forward is only something we can do when we are in a really good, healthy place PRESENTLY.
When we are perfectly present with the Lord and what he is doing in our lives.
I'm filled with excitement about what God wants to do in my life as I now embrace the mid-forties.
I love this passage in Colossians 1:9-17:
"For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;
That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;
Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness;
Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:
Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:
In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:
Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature:
For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:
And he is before all things, and by him all things consist."
The more I live and the more I learn about the one for whom I am created, the more I find comfort that he has a plan for this one wonderful life I am living though his grace.
He held the suitcase closed and close to his heart and held everything in my heart and mind together until I was ready to sift it all out in front of him.
I cannot tell you that I found explanations for each and every "why."
Truth is, when I understood that other people's suitcases keep THEM from finding present peace in THEIR lives, I found forgiveness and compassion in my own suitcase.
I CAN tell you this.
This is an amazing life.
I can tell you that if I understood the sum of even my childhood I would be God and I for sure am not.
And if I am not God, then I will spend these forties and fifties and onward looking to learn more about how wonderful he is.
And he can be trusted.
Don't you dare take my word for it.
Sit with him with your own suitcase.
And find your own present perfect progressing sense of life.
Because He has been working in your life.
Did you see what I just did there?