Life In The Dash

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It still rings in my ears, “O-hay Hay-wa” Ethan- to his older sister. (Translate: “okay Kayla.”)

He pronounced the ‘k’ sound as an ‘h’.

I glance at my favorite photo on my desk. A picture of them after Ethan’s football game. She’s wearing his first jersey sporting his high school football number, 79. He is wearing the newer one. That was several years ago already.

My heart is stirred; I smile every time I see them there. . .

photo 1

They are both married now. She married at 20 and he at 21. My third grandson is on the way. I don’t know how this happened.

Okay, I DO know HOW ‘it’ happened, but how did I go from being a mother of a three-year-old who couldn’t say his ‘k’ sound, to a three-year-old pleading “Play wif me Gramma!”?

Life in the dash. 

My headstone will one day read:

Kathleen  Schwanke

xx-xx-xxxx (DASH) date-of-death

I wonder, what will it say after the dates? What will be said of this life I’ve lived when I die?

Most importantly, what will God say when I see Him?

Will He say, “Darling, I wanted to say ‘Well done’, but there was that one season when you failed to trust me.”

Ugh. That season. The one where the world went dark and I spun dizzy. Scared of everything. Especially failing and especially scared of people I’d put on pedestals. That season where the demon, Anxiety, had a stranglehold on my neck. The familiar spirit of inferiority once conquered, came back to camp in my soul.

This time with greater vengeance, intent on disabling me, rendering me useless as a mom, a wife, a friend.

“Had you trusted Me and My Gift, you could have shaken him off and had a more fruitful life.”

The devil wants me to think it will be like that. And actually my former view of God would support that. But I’ve learned that was the god of high-expectations, {me}. free to fly; kathy schwanke,

The devil would have me circle around and around my failure. He would have me look back with regret. Because when we are looking back we cannot move ahead.

More often that I care to admit, temptation zings fiery toward my heart. “LOOK BACK you fool!!!” And if I look back, I crash. I get whiplash. Who functions freely with a stiff neck?

Perhaps on a day when I haven’t strapped my armor on tight; I may have forgotten to put on the breastplate of Christ’s righteousness (Ephesians 6:14). My vulnerable heart is exposed.

I have learned to raise my shield of faith, to use the sword of God more readily. When the Lord chastens, it’s always for our benefit. He has taught me to stand firm, but also when I fall, I can just grab His hand again.

There are still days when I take a flaming arrow. Falling again, spun dizzy.

I’ve noticed this season, since I have had my ‘hands’ emptied of their former familiar business occupying my mind, I have less people in my every-day life and more time with me consequently more fiery darts have been zinging in my direction. I’ve been caught off guard.

The devil knows your weak spots.

Faster now, I get back up. Keep moving forward. I remember there is no condemnation. (Romans 8:1) The blood of the Lamb covers my sin. It is finished. Forget the former things. Behold He is doing a new thing. He is always doing a new thing. Raising dead things to life. Lifeless hearts brought to Him are always revived.

Those words of His-they set me free every time.  John 8:32

I feel like I missed out on many things during those few years of spinning. I wasn’t all there. But it IS true. God does indeed bring beauty from the broken places. (Isaiah 61:3) He has shown me over and over how His grace covered my family when I was bound.

And I’ve had the honor and joy of mentoring friends from their broken places to places of sturdiness and fruitful lives.

So, you know what I think God is going to say when the dash is done? He is going to say what He says to all of His people who get back up after tripping and landing hard. “Well done. You got back up. You learned. You grabbed hold of My hand. You trusted me.”

. . . if we are faithless, he will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself. 2 Timothy 2:13

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  1. Jane

    Hi love, you are so special and encouraging. Something the Lord showed me just lately. You talked about the armor , He showed me to come humbly into His presence, we can you know because of Jesus, and ask Him to put His armor on me, He gets it right. In this way my trust is in place. What a pleasure to stand in Fathers presence as He dresses us. His word, oh His word so complete , I just want to be wrapped in them. When I get home I want a special date with you, ok?
    Love you, mom

  2. Tim Koepp

    Hi Kathy, I’ve been meaning to introduce myself at church these past few weeks since I started following your Blog. I’ve started to look forward to each new post for the insight or encouragement the Spirit passes to me through you and wanted to thank you. Thank You!

    • Kathy Schwanke

      Thank you for your encouragement Tim. Please do introduce yourself! I’m always surprised how I miss meeting people though our congregation is not large. So grateful for your words here!

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