A snowstorm thick moves in over the mountains this morning. I drove to my Sabbath spot through droplets of cotton, artistry too large to call flakes. I now sit and think, read and pray watching the earth around me quietly being blanketed in white. Whats not to love about mornings like this? Visible calm in the center of the storm.
As you know I am part of a group of like-minded moms in my community which I meet with bi monthly at different homes. Last night was one of our meetings. Honestly, I never really want to attend on the day of the meetings. I am always tired, dont want to get out again, not sure I have any thing to contribute, am talked out for my day, etc. But I know that when I leave the gathering I will be glad that I went, so I go. I go in belief, I guess you could say. I go to be reminded.
The past month or so has been a rough ride in many ways. In general my life in this season is a rough ride, but sometimes more so than others. I desire so much to be a woman of stability, security and steadfastness. But anyone who knows me well knows that is simply not the case most days. We rarely have enough money to get from one paycheck to another, regularly are found collecting change about the house to just get through. Dougs employment has changed 11 times in sixteen years of marriage and we have moved that exact same number of times as well. That "insecurity" keeps me raw and bleeding. We have only been deeply planted in one church in our whole married life, and though my heart desires more than anything else to dig in, my life circumstances have only allowed for me to do that (lifelong style, I mean) with a handful of women and with my children. Probably one of the top three reasons why I have chosen to homeschool the girls, more specifically to walk day by day with them, is to provide a sense of stability that our ever-changing family life does not. And in the midst of these challenges, my personal emotional stability waivers dramatically. How benign that sentence looks knowing what its reality holds. A lifelong struggle with extremes keeps me ever in a place of questioning, needing to be reminded, seeking, and overall being desperate more days than not.
Last night as I sat with my moms group, 12 of us sitting fireside after sharing steaming bowls of soup, french bread with honey-cinnamon butter, tea and pie, I was reminded that we will always have problems here on earth, always. Everyones puzzle is different and we must all work to find pieces that work in our own lives, in our own ways, but we will always have problems. My dear friend Alison, an only child, daily battles a disease which has stolen her mothers memory as they walk out these last months of her life. A young mom across the country, whom I adore, wonders how in the world she will make it through the day to day drudgery of her lifes "to do" list in this season. My own daughter crashes to the floor regularly as her legs give way to the unnamed ailments which she battles. Another friend houses parents who move closer daily toward leaving this world, another dearest of my heart stretches and strains to figure out how in the world this is her life and if she made a wrong turn somewhere as nothing seems her desire any longer - she feels lost. Another friends life is on hold in many ways as her child fights to recover from life threatening injury. And how can I forget the one whos husband left nearing 10 years ago, yet she waits and prays everyday waiting for his return to our Lord and to her. Husbands dont meet the needs of their wives or their families. Discipleship in our homes never quite looks like what "leadership" tells us it should. What we would like to do (even and especially what we see as truly beneficial) is never quite within reach. Who we would like to be (even and especially spiritually) seems a fairy tale we can never quite live out. And we fail over and over as mothers, sisters, daughters, friends. And especially as wives. "In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." Thats what my Jesus said. Thats the music I was born remembering. I cant shake it.
Last night, as laughter broke out and tea cups were lifted to lips then placed back to rest on the common table, I thought it through. They talked and I contemplated. We will always have problems here on earth. But how can I make the most of my days? How can I be a woman who brings life to my family in the midst of it all? How can I fall in love with my husband anew? How can I dislodge the bitterness I have allowed to grow in my heart? How can I live well amidst my own puzzle? How can I really run a maintainable, honorable run for the prize which is set before me, knowing I am going to keep falling down every quarter mile of the way, for the love?
Frequently as I write here on my Sabbath, I look up at the mountains and pray, seek. A moment ago I looked up to see the ground wholly covered. Everything white anew. Its been weeks since we have seen a covering like this. Same is true in my own life. Profound.
So today I am beginning a list of the qualities that I loved about my husband when I married him. And when I cant remember another one to write, I am asking the Lord to remind me. I am going to keep that running list within the bible that I write in for Savannah so that I can pray over it daily, asking the Lord to restore the love, give another breadth and depth to the love of this relationship I cherish most upon this earth. Lifelong marriages are a series of falling in and out of love, the goal is to fall more deeply each time. At least thats my goal. Bitterness keeps me behind bars in my marriage, but the keys to walking from that cage I hold in my hand. I must simply choose to forgive anew, see anew, and choose to walk from my holding place into a new place, the Better place. It is a choice like everything else in my life.
And today I am looking deeply at what verses I can hold to in my times of uncertainty. Its been years since I have given intentional and deep concentration to such. What are my life verses again? Where is the Truth that will be my anchor amidst the storm? Having a vague recollection of the message of the verse isnt cutting it! If a tree has no roots, it will bear no fruit; I cant place a sapling in a cup and expect apples! That tells me I must be deeply rooted in the word of God and in time, in "its season", my life will bear fruit. Telling myself again: I am blessed to be a blessing, God feeds and nourishes me so that I can nourish others. I must know the whys of my life, and those whys are always rooted in scripture.
I make the choice to take a step further than simply knowing scripture in my head, but rather practicing it in my life.
And today I am remembering David's shockingly topsy turvy life which never took away from him being Chosen. And Marys disgracefully poor and homely existence which held discomfort of every form and never looked like much to anyone. And Ruths sad existence which ultimately led to an ending worth telling for generations. And Im making notes on Moses...a man who had the job of a lifetime and who ultimately both succeeded and failed in that job, but still accomplished all he was Designed to. None are perfect stories, all looked pretty broken more of the time than not, and still all held their water. Thank God.
I dont see myself as moving into a time of rest in my life. My husband is not preparing me to think in those terms either. Rather I am gearing up for the next season and what it will hold, while trying to complete this season well, this season with my children at home. So many intricacies to the Artwork in my life.
I will continue to sit with women who are like minded, and who remind me. I will continue to believe that there is more than meets the eye to this life I live. I will continue to walk out my days with a faith which believes in more than I can ask or imagine. And the rest, Im hoping, will just be chaff.
Blessed is the man
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his delight is in the law of the LORD,
and on his law he meditates day and night.
He is like a tree
planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.