So God has given both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us.This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary.

Hebrews 6:18-19 (NLT)

I have become intrigued with the Enneagram as a result of my daughter and granddaughter’s enthusiasm. It’s not surprising because that kind of thing has always fascinated me, ie. Myers-Briggs, the four temperaments, spiritual gifts test, anything that helps explain who I am and what I’m supposed to be doing. I know that God has made me a certain way but sometimes it’s confusing. I think we all put people in some kind of box which can be confining or comforting–depending on your personality.

With this latest revelation from the Enneagram, I wasn’t sure I liked my number. In fact, I rejected it at first. But the more I read and listened to podcasts about it, the more I realized that it was exactly right. Suzanne Stabile has written books, gives seminars, records podcasts and is one of the go-to people on this subject. She made the statement that our lifetime is made up of thirds rather than halves. As a result I am in the last third of my life. That gives me pause when I look forward. Is my life basically over or are there things that God wants to accomplish in my life story?

There are some things in life that I wish I didn’t know first hand — divorce, depression, and dementia. But I do. Mark and I participated on a panel at church to discuss mental health. The goals of the morning were to give both information and hope, to remove the stigma, and encourage counseling and use of medicine to gain relief from the symptoms of depression and anxiety. Mark was diagnosed with chronic depression eleven years ago. More recently, dementia has been added. This is not the road we thought we’d travel but it is the path before us.

I remember sitting in the counselor’s office a few years ago and she asked me how my hope was. Mark piped up and told her that “Hope” was my word for the year (I choose a new one each January,) It had been a tough year and we were still struggling to find the cocktail of meds to help Mark in his complex type of depression. I had to hang on to God and it was His hope that kept me going. Through some trial and error, we did find what Mark needed for stability. God has been faithful to provide the help that we need…even in the darkest hours.

Chuck Swindoll is a favorite person. My parents attended his church years ago so we became acquainted. I enjoy his devotions each morning in my email. He posted this poem by Amy Carmichael:

Before the winds that blow do cease,
Teach me to dwell within Thy calm:
Before the pain has passed in peace,
Give me, my God, to sing a psalm.
Let me not lose the chance to prove
The fullness of enabling love.
Oh, love of God, do this for me:
Maintain a constant victory.

That is my prayer. I want to run the race full out to the end…meet the challenges with courage and grace…and cross the finish line into God’s inner sanctuary.