Monday, November 5, 2018

Desert Blessings


I have to say thank you to my dear friend from Sunday School class who gave a devotion at our Women's Tea about our Good Shepherd giving us green things to nibble on in the desert. She had these visual aids showing the grazing lands of Israel with little dots of sheep on rocky, sandy hillsides. She went on to explain how evening condensation dripped down the rocks to form little patches of green at the base. (Gen. 37:12; Ps.23; John 10)

But my mind went to another place while she was talking. I thought about what the sheep's perspective was. They gladly chomped away at whatever the Shepherd led them to and when it was gone, followed him to the next spot. Not at any time in this scenario did the sheep look up and say, “What a lousy excuse for grazing land this is!” or “How am I supposed to survive out here in this desolate place?” Aahh wretched heart of mine, isn't that what I do, nearly all the time as I look at the circumstances around me? I question and doubt, even when every single day I have my daily piece of nourishment right in front of my nose. I keep looking up and all around, many times away at the future, and see what's lacking.

I am reminded of the Lord's prayer (Matt. 6; Luke 11) where it says “give us this day our daily bread” because we learn that God's intention is for us to be grateful that he provides every day, what we need without fail. We also learn that we don't need to worry about the day after that and the day after that (also from Matt 6).

I am also reminded of John Calvin who, as an exercise in understanding God's provision, counted every catastrophy he could think of that did not happen to him even though it could have, so he would have a keener sense of all that God provided in the form of protection.

Both of these examples stir me to remember that I can go through life looking at the desolation of the dry desert places, or I can focus on today and the satisfying patch of green laid right before me.

So I got this all worked out in my mind and I shared it over kitchen clean-up with my son, thinking, “I'll keep him from falling into the 'woe is me' trap by sharing this little nugget as a teachable moment.” But boy did I get a surprise. He said to me, “Yeah, I try to stay away from that kind of thinking, and I have to keep myself from scolding my friends when they go there, saying, 'then this awful thing happened and then this other awful thing happened' I don't want to sound mean.” So basically he is already a much better sheep than I am, and that's where I found my most precious morsel of green for that day!

Thank you Lord, for elders and youngsters who can breathe truth into my life as we walk together on the path you have given us. Thank you for guiding us always to green pastures and still waters.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

A little hanging on, A little letting go


Because I have rejoined my writer's group, I sat down today with my "writer's cap" on and as I often do, I started with the title. I also start by re-reading the post from last time.

Wow. I couldn't believe the previous post title was "from mourning to dancing". I hadn't even remembered that!

Since you last heard from me, my mother, who had just received that good news, passed away suddenly on July first, just 2 weeks after the court decision...

I came here today to share about the process, and realized that I had already addressed mourning last time, yes in the title, but also in the years of caring for Mom as she was slipping behind the curtain. Talk about foreshadowing...

Now, back to the title. We have had two major events of letting go in the past two months, one was the passing of my mom, and the other was my son leaving home for college last week. He is still local, but he is no longer living here.

In the case of my Mom, the hanging on is keeping things that remind us of her, having conversations about "remember when? or I liked it best when..." This type of hanging on is a good kind, we encourage each other when we do so.

With my son, I can see that sometimes hanging on is not so good. It's when I start to fret over what he might forget to do, I feel compelled to "remind" him or check up on him to make sure he's following through. That's when I realize it's letting go time.

It's funny, just when I determined to do so, I was blessed in that it wasn't all or nothing because he has reached out a couple times for assistance in navigating his new situation or just to touch base.

In the same way, it's not all or nothing with my mom either. There is no "checking in" as she is no longer with us, so that's a definite "letting go", but there is the legacy of how she would have handled things or what she would have wanted which I  find myself wanting to hang on to as I make decisions regarding her estate. One of the biggest things in that category is that she was over the moon about my son going to the college of his choice.

So while I am letting go of her presence here on earth and his presence in our home, I am hanging on to her grand desire for him and his dreams for the future.