I’m having a hard time stringing words together these days. I’ve seen some beautiful sunrises. Winds and rains have blown through and knocked down some very dead trees (there’s a lesson in that). The birds are singing, and in the valley I’ve spotted the spring flowers blooming. But my heart is still stuck in winter, my soul is stuck in short dark days.
I’m overwhelmed with the dailyness of life. Parenting teenagers has me questioning all my life choices. I don’t know how to re-enter life, church, family, friendships, etc. I don’t want to write, but I’m sad when I have not written.
I say I don’t have time to write, but it’s also that I’m not making the time. I look for inspiration and I come up wanting. I’ve forgotten how to look for beauty, to pay attention to ordinary things, to find hope and joy in the blessings I am taking for granted.
I think of the weight and the wait of Holy Week, of all of lent. And I am always reminded of Hope. Hope in tiny, little flowers. Spring will come again. Friendships will evolve, change, grow. Children will make me laugh …and cry, and grow. Jesus rose from the dead. God and the truth of His Word changes lives. God is faithful, even when I am not. The sun shines. Some day I will hug my friends and family again. When I don’t understand, I just need to remember God is in control. God is directing my steps and the steps of those I love.
I took a walk this evening. Same walk I took almost 5 months ago, when I tripped over a wrinkle in the sidewalk and bit the dust and broke my hand. It was dusk, probably not the wisest, but I put my phone away. I wore my actual sneakers. And I paid attention to the rise and fall of the sidewalk.
It’s good for me to walk again. Winter and busyness and life stress has not been kind to my eating or exercise habits. I needed to know that I can walk and it’s good for me. My hand has not returned to full strength. It still hurts when I cut too many veggies, write too many words, carry too many groceries, stir dinner soups for too long. And sometimes I’m afraid it will never be what it once was.
Sometimes, it’s the simple processing of hard moments, life-altering events, the “getting back on the bike” moments. Other times, it takes a bit more. Like when I think that exactly one year ago, I was having coffee with a friend, we talked about the virus buzz, we talked about church and Jesus, we talked about teenagers and parenting, we talked about friendship. I’m pretty sure that we did not talk about online church or wearing masks or virtual school. I miss coffee in actual coffee shops with friends.
And one year later, I think of all the things I miss, how desperate I feel to return back to life as it once was, and it’s easy to focus on the things lost, the events cancelled, the schooling struggles, the grief. But I’m thankful for the things I’ve learned and I know that God has given us much more than was taken away.
I don’t want to forget the gift of endless family dinners with teenagers, family hikes, whole weekends in pajamas, technology to keep us connected, summer outside gatherings, library curbside service, processing hard junk, being more aware of social injustice, studying Lamentations, focusing on the attributes of God, flexibility of virtual school, 4-H zoom opportunities, ordering take out, still going to work every day in a safe environment, taking the time to read more.
I’m thankful for the things I learned while my hand was broken and for seeing God’s faithfulness in the way He provides. I’m thankful for hope, because that is what this year most needs. I’m thankful for Jesus because as I lean on Him and rest in Him, I learn His goodness, His faithfulness, His sovereignty.
I stop on my walk (full stop) to take pictures of the twilight hour. I come back to the car and wait some more and write with heart full of gratitude that He is with me, He gives me words, He never leaves me or forsakes me, He is always reminding me of his everlasting love.
As you reflect on the last year, because we will all reflect in some way, look for ways to give God glory, look for all the things we can be thankful for, look for the helpers, look for the blessings. What are you thankful for as you look back on the last year? Where do you see Jesus?
I love a good writing challenge, and I’ve been working on morning bible habits. And last week was amazing! I was working ahead in my writing, I was reading my bible consistently. It was a good week.
And then life happened, the oven broke, the teenagers sassed (and sassed some more), the snow was excessive, I was feeling intensely overwhelmed at work, I ate junk and more junk, and my phone screen shattered. You get the picture. My brain couldn’t settle to read one chapter of the Bible (and comprehend it). My fingers refused to type out words that the mind couldn’t string together. I yelled at my kids while telling them to stop yelling. Grief is hovering in my thoughts and I’m tired.
Exasperated. Frustrated. Focused too much on the material, the immediate, the flesh. Worrying about the schedule and the days ahead and a million what-ifs. Letting the lies in my head speak louder than the truth of God’s Word.
Full Stop. I have a choice. I can take these thoughts captive with the power of the Holy Spirit and the knowledge of the Word of God and the example of the life Jesus Christ lived.
Jesus took time and went away from the crowds and chaos to meet with His Father. He went alone to a quiet place to pray. He stayed focused on His purpose for coming to earth. He trusted God’s good heart. He worked and rested for the coming Kingdom of God.
Jesus took time and went away from the crowds and chaos to meet with His Father.
Jesus only Jesus. Tackle one thing at a time. Remind yourself as a child of God that the power of the Holy Spirit lives in you. Stuff is just stuff. God knows that we are made from dust. God has a plan for your life and that might include exasperating children, broken appliances, and an overflowing schedule. His purpose is not to irritate me, it is to remind me of my need for Him. He wants to draw you near to Him. In my weakness, He wants me to rely on His strength, to accomplish my tasks for His glory. He wants others to see Jesus in you. He wants you and me to trust Him for our daily bread.
He calls us to sabbath and rest. Not with more rules and regulations and to-do lists. But with rest, remembering that His yoke is easy and His burden light. May you find shelter under His wings tonight.