The In Between

IMG_5743Springtime in the Rockies is, well, winter shaking out its coat of snow and ice. I snapped this photo recently of my backyard apple tree stuck in the seasonal in between. Brrrrr and beauty all rolled into one. You know what? You and I find ourselves in these seasonal in betweens too.
Our children are graduating to the next level of school or birthing a career and we are in a bit of a holding pattern. We applaud their life milestones while placing a bit of a check on our emotions. We want them to launch . . . we want them to stay. The in between.

The present job is just draining us or the company is taking another direction and we are left behind. We want a better work fit . . . we want the familiarity of our coworkers and paycheck. The in between.

The medication and treatment are winding down, but we still are not back to our normal energy and activities. We want to be well   . . . we want our “other” body back. The in between.

Like snow-covered apple blossoms, we are to hold steady through the in between seasons. On-ice circumstances do eventually thaw. Resolve and patience will usher in the new, the good. What about the awkwardness of wanting to be done and through and beyond our in between? I’m finding these words from Psalm 37:7 of help: “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him . . . .”

Stillness. Waiting. Shhhh . . . can you hear the plop-plunk, plop-plunk of your in between melting into the new and the good?

What’s your in between right now? What helps you be still and wait?

Brave and Resilient Tip #137: In between times do usher in the new and the good.

“I am not In A Good Place”

Q. What input can you share for people who confide that they are not in a good place?

A. Let’s Talk! Many people say they feel like they are drowning at the start of a new year and are overwhelmed by all that is ahead and all that needs to be done. We can feel weighed down with all the things undone, the assault of bad memories, and the regrets. We can also encounter sadness that comes even when we remember the good things we used to enjoy but now can’t for any number of reasons.

We are never in a good place when we are dwelling on the “former things” without new hope, new information, new direction, or new behaviors. Remember Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity? It’s repeating the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results. Even in the simplest of math terms, same old is going to repeat same old every time.

Here’s a tricky piece: We know not to dwell on the former bad-for-us things that obviously take us down. But! Even the GOOD things in our past can depress us if we can no longer repeat those events, access those relationships, or experience many other present day losses. Our hearts are very sensitive to loss, especially of the good things.

So, thinking of former things — good or bad — needs caution. Unguarded inventories can take us to a not-so-good place. The verses below are some of the most powerful I think I have ever shared with you and became very personal for me several weeks ago when I wasn’t in a good place! I hope they help your heart as well. Understanding that the new year is in God’s hands can bring us into a good and NEW place.

P.S. You may also want to scroll back to the December’s Let’s Talk about where to find true joy.

For Deeper Reflection

Isaiah 43:2 “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they will not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be scorched, nor will the flame burn you.”        

Isaiah 43:18-19 “Do not call to mind the former things, or ponder things of the past. Behold, I will do something new, now it will spring forth;will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, rivers in the desert.”

Helen B. McIntosh has a doctorate in counseling psychology and is a national board certified professional counselor and certified in reality therapy. An educator for 19 years, Dr. McIntosh is an author, a highly demanded national speaker and inventor of the Peace Rug®, an international curriculum for conflict resolution.

You can contact me confidentially at