"... He breathed on them and said, "Receive ye the Holy Spirit." ... John 20:22
I'm still here! But Tom has flown away.
Always I'm a bit quiet before Tom leaves for these South African business trips, partly because of all the washing and ironing of clothes and placing vitamins into labeled baggies, etc.
But mostly it's because God spends lots of time preparing me for these long separations, reminding me (among other things) that, after the initial tears while watching Tom zip away in a taxi, Grace will turn-up the comfort and light and assurances that these weeks will be different, yes, but a joy, nonetheless.
God and Grace do turn mourning into dancing, you know. And I think these weeks alone become sweet, in part, because I've learned how to receive rather than struggling to get.
I remembered that this weekend while rereading June Strong's, A Little Journey. With her husband's (confused) blessing, June decided she wanted to walk along a New England highway alone for a week to seek answers to questions like:
"Who was I apart from husband, children and friends? Was I a person other than the faithful wife, devoted mother and active participant in my church?"
This book is mega contemplative, spinning my head in parts like the tub of my washing machine,making me wonder if I would fall off my chair from the dizziness. :)
Yet always it returns me to my own days of releasing Naomi to adulthood and the whole letting go of an old life and attempting to discover what's next. All that rebuilding!
But more clearly this time, I cringed at June's tendency to try, to get, rather than simply receive. To get good enough so to please God. To get those invisible perfect mother and wife awards. To get flawless at serving others and witnessing and writing and housekeeping and gardening and--
I even whispered, "Aw, June... Stop struggling. Receive ye the Holy Spirit's help. Receive God's forgiveness (and skip the growth-slowing condemnation). Receive that God 'understands we are but dust.' Receive God's unconditional love which cringes when we hide from it. Receive that you're worthy only through Jesus' sacrifice, not through your Brownie points. Receive that He will complete the work He began in you and stressing-out about following 'all the rules' will only burn us out.
Stop all the exhausting earning, the Being a Good Girl So God Will Love Me Better stuff. Instead, receive the love, the acceptance, the times of refreshing, the Grace. And begin living a whole new way."
As for me, I'm receiving, believing, that these next weeks will be remarkable, even though they'll be different. God and Grace are great at molding 'different' into heart-stopping art. Even in snowy, dark Februaries. Even so.
― Donald Miller, Blue Like Jazz: Nonreligious Thoughts on Christian Spirituality
"Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God..." ...John 1:12
“Therefore, if any person is in Christ, he is a new creation (a new creature altogether); the old [previous moral and spiritual condition] has passed away. Behold, the fresh and new has come!” ... 2 Corinthians 5:17
June's book is also called My Little Journey. It's an excellent glimpse into the mind of a Christian woman nearing the empty nest years after having given most of herself to raising 6 children. I've probably read it 7 times(!)
Any prayers for Tom's safety would be greatly appreciated... thanks so much!
Free Kindle books:
The Antelope in the Living Room
"He whom the Son has set free is free, indeed."