I am on a journey – and it’s a journey with little rest. . . until the journey is over.
Sometimes on this journey, I am tempted to stop, pull out a cushion of built of tasks completed, sit on it and sigh, “I have arrived. I have earned my rest free of the chaos, of doing-doING-DOING for everyone else. It is time for me now!”
. . . and that mind-set, perhaps is one of the greatest deceptions of them all. . .
The only time we “arrive” to lay our burdens down, to rest deeply, is only when we are called home – and arrive at the door of our Father’s house. In our time here, there is no arrival cushion. No escape from the chaos, though sometimes there is rest from it. There is no “Me” time. – it’s His time.
Like all things He gives us – our giftings, our hearts-desires, our families, friends and children, our possessions. . . our time, our health (whether ill or robust) – they are indeed precious, but how much more precious, how much more valuable, how much MORE their worth, when we give them back to Him, a sacrifice offered of our adoration, our hope, our trust! He is a better keeper of our heart-valuables than I can ever be.
There are days when all I want is to be wrapped in a cozy blanket, curled up in chair with a good book and just rest. I cannot remember a day not wanting that, not being tired the moment I wake up until I go to bed. So many parts of me want a rest from the chaos, the busy, the failures (because, you know, on a cushion failure isn’t an option because nothing is attempted), the frustrations. . . the expectations of the Big and Little things not turning out as anticipated.
My expectations are woefully inadequate in comparison to what He can do. In comparison to the one who designed and created me, who planned my life before I was born, who filled it with all the seemingly jumbled up parts of myself that aren’t jumbled to Him – my imagination, my dreams, the space between my imagination and dreams fulfilled – I am too short-sighted. I do not possess the creative genius of my Father. I am just a soul blind daughter of the King dreaming myopic dreams when I rely on my vision.
My expectations of life in the chaos are faint shadows when compared to God’s plans. I’m a slow learner, but I am learning to let go of my expectations of how my life should be, how challenges should be resolved (and when), how heart’s desires are to be filled, how heart-breaks are to be healed. Instead, I am learning to wait in expectation of God’s answer, God’s saving, God’s fulfilling, God’s healing – and Him doing it His way with His plan.
Five days before Christmas in December 2018, we found out my husband had critical aortic stenosis. Christmas and Easter collided that Tuesday we found out. It was a Christmas of Thanking God for sending His son who died on the Cross for us so that we could be adopted into His family. I called out to my Father – and He continually comforted me that “All is Well” (2 Kings 4:26) – and the aortic valve was replaced, and two weeks later, a lung lobe was removed due to a nodule of cancer discovered during pre-op testings. In that journey, we didn’t know where we were going, what we were doing, but we knew that somehow, in His way, All was Well.
God led both my husband and I on a journey through a place we’d never been. He led us, comforted us, saved my husband.
“And I will lead the blind
in a way that they do not know,
in paths that they have not known
I will guide them.”
~ Isaiah 42:6, ESV
2019 started with God’s saving mercies – a new heart valve, cancerous lobe removed, hospitalization for a 25,000 white blood count infection, our youngest graduating from high school, a whirlwind soccer season, prom, birthdays celebrating life, watching my husband laugh with our grandchildren, and the year ending with the loss of my very dear aunt from dementia.
Some paths we were familiar with. Some we were not.
On a journey through unchartered paths, often the difference between over-coming and giving up is the experience of the one who guides us through the path. We had the most experienced Guide – God! We didn’t have to know the path. We just had to know our guide!
“I will turn the darkness before them into light,
the rough places into level ground.”
~ Isaiah 42:6, ESV
2020 was a year of God’s tender mercies in rebuilding. January started with spinal fusion for kyphosis scoliosis to straighten my spine. It’s taken a year to rebuild strength, stamina – and it took not giving up, stretching myself through the pain of severed muscles healing, the pain of back muscles adjusting to a new, normal position.
Eight weeks after surgery, a tornado hit our community hard and so many had to rebuild both their hearts and their homes- but before the rebuilding, before the devastation was 10 hours old, the hands and feet of Christ were moving across our community, helping clear properties, providing supplies, food, places to stay, furniture, any need, every need. The grief, the loss – but for Jesus Christ who showed us resurrection comes after crucifixion.
We hadn’t even caught our breath from that when Covid shut down normal. Restaurants closed. Churches closed. Lawlessness raged through some communities. Fortunately, where we lived – the lock down didn’t last long. Tennessee opened up in April. Yet, communities and businesses are still rebuilding. Individuals are still trying to build ways to connect with family members who live in quarantine due to health risks.
Many have felt isolated, alone, shaken, unanchored, fearful, anxious. . . alone. Yet, we aren’t alone. Our Savior is always with us, ready to listen, ready to comfort. He has not abandoned or forsaken His children. He pulled beauty out of the ashes!
“These are the things I do,
and I do not forsake them.”
~ Isaiah 42:6, ESV
2021 – January is looking better than the last two. No heart valves needing to be replaced. No lung cancer. No spinal surgery. But I’ve learned not to look at any day, week or month with my expectations. I look trusting that He is there. That He has a plan. All I have to do is trust – trust and remember what He has done for me! Maybe the anthem for 2021 should be “Remember and Give Thanks – No Matter What the World Throws at You, God is There for You!”
Let’s Shout our Praises into 2021 that God would send the enemy that comes to steal, kill and destroy packing!
“The moment they began their shouts and praises,
the LORD set ambushes against the men of Ammon, Moab,
and Mount Seir who had come against Judah, and they were defeated.”
~ 2 chronicles 20:22
Today is a Thank You Day – remember all He has done for me this year. What has He done for you? What beauty has He redeemed from the ashes of your year? The Big and Little!
Thank you, Jesus, for guiding me through the terrain of a journey I don’t always understand.
Thank you for protecting, for courage in the hard challenges.
Thank you for redeeming the good out of the hard.
Thank you for the blessings throughout the year; the flirty house finches, tidy tufted titmouse, the dapper nuthatch and black-capped chickadee who showed up daily in a black mask wearing black and white striped tail feathers outside my window during recovery – and the cardinals coming to feed along with them.
Thank you for the blessing of each son and the comfort and joy that comes from knowing you are writing their story along with them, and the release you give a mother to let go of the pen that writes their stories.
Thank you for opening my eyes to new lessons, to letting go of what needs to be let go of, and the assurance that you do not let go of me.
Thank you for my husband, for his friendship, his wisdom, his unconditional love and encouragement.
Thank you for friendships.
Thank you for changing the direction of the tornado away from the hospital and university.
Thank you that it did not drop down when it was above our neighborhood!
Thank you for the get-up-and-go nudge to ask Heather to build this new website home for my blog.
Thank you for the get-up-and-go nudge to do ask the questions that led me to an all-day photography workshop.
Thank you for the get-up-and-go nudge to work in the cutest coffee-shop bakery baking for four months.
Thank you for the story you gave me that I’ve been wanting to write for over 20 years – and the get-up-and-go to get it published.
Thank you for sparking my heart to keep it open, to listen and look for the get-up-and-go tasks you want me to do.
Thank you for being with me every step of the way to make the wedding cake for my son’s best friend (because the original baker had a family member come down with Covid) – and thank you for helping me to understand more and more that life in a fallen world promises chaos more often than not – and that you help me to find the grace, the shalom, the joy in the middle of all that chaos.
I pray that this next year, I become more graceful at living in the chaos!
Thank you, Jesus, for never abandoning me or forsaking me, and for loving me more than I can understand!
Thank you for the get-up-and go, and I pray that you will continue to show me how to use it for you.
Thank you for being ready for all 2021 is going to bring! Amen!
Remember Me Monday: #28 & Linky
“I’ll make a list of God’s gracious dealings,
all the things God has done that need praising,
All the generous bounties of God,
his great goodness to the family of Israel—
~ Isaiah 63:7, The Message
In the Old Testament, God repeatedly, quietly and loudly, tells his children, “You have forgotten me!” (Jeremiah 3:32, Ezekiel 22:12, to name a few). It’s a heart cry from a father to a child who has forgotten all the love, all the saving, helping, little and big blessings – and it leaves me stunned when I realize our Father, the creator of the universe, who knows things I cannot begin to fathom, who authors storylines that leave me amazed, delights in all of us so much, He cries out, “Remember Me.”
While every day is a Remember God Day, I am inviting you to join me on Monday mornings to come by and remember what God has done for you, for your family. Maybe God sent a cardinal darting out in front of you, as if to tell you, “I’m here,” or broke a child’s fever after you laid it all down at His feet in a 2 a.m. bedside vigil. Maybe He stood with you in the wait of a prayer sent out, or brought someone you loved to Christ. Maybe He healed your broken heart, gave your courage, or you gave Him your dreams as a love offering only to have Him give them back in an unimaginable way. Maybe God helped you survive to bedtime after a crazy Monday, or forgive yourself for missing it with your kiddos –– Whatever it is, let’s Remember Him. . . in a “Remember Me Monday” love letter.
“My mouth will tell of your righteousness,
Of your salvation all the day long,
Though I know not its measure.
I will come and proclaim your mighty acts, O Sovereign Lord”
~ Psalm 71:15-16.
Let us delight in Him by telling the stories of what He’s done! If you wrote a blog post remembering what He’s done for you, join the linky. If you didn’t but still want to praise Him for what He’s done – write it in the comment section. Then visit a comment before or after yours! One of the beautiful things about the blogging community is the relationships it builds!
Rules? Write long or short, a list or a story, include photos or not. Just Remember Him and what He has done, and let the gratitude of your heart guide you. Let’s make Monday so Rejoice, that the goodness of God spills into the rest of the week!
Places I’m Linking at This Week:
Inspire Me Monday, Grace & Truth,
Purposeful Faith, Tell His Story,
https://welcomeheart.com/blog, Worth Beyond Rubies,
Share a Link Wednesday, Let’s Have Coffee,
Grace and Truth, Faith on Fire,
***All photos marked with Muddy Photography or © Blue Cotton Memory or used within Blue Cotton Memory blog(s) belong Blue Cotton Memory. Going forward, photos will be marked with Muddy Photography.