community is a treasure

Community is a treasure

God has been doing some reordering of my priorities, so I’ve been thinking a lot about busyness.

We spent precious time with friends and family on our vacation, so I’ve been thinking a lot about community.

A National Treasure 1 & 2 marathon may or may not have happened over the weekend, so I’ve been thinking a lot about treasure.

Lord, let the way I invest my time reflect the things I hold most dear.

Further Reading:

When You Don’t Give God Enough Time

When You don't...A mouse who likes cookies. And milk. And needs a haircut after checking his whiskers in the mirror for a milk mustache… I can relate. 1. I like cookies. and milk. 2. My choices – even the simple ones, like getting a glass of milk to go with a cookie – create a snowball effect that sometimes we don’t mean to create.

When you give a mouse a cookie…

That mouse’s story has been on my mind a lot lately. He goes on a wild journey, dragging his patient friend with him, all because he wanted milk with his cookie. I have gone on many a wild journey all because of a simple choice, and they haven’t all been joyful journeys.

Last Winter was one of those not-so-pleasant journeys. Tim and I were new to life in Idaho and I wasn’t adjusting well. I struggled to find community, to adjust to a new culture, and to embrace all four seasons. When Winter hit, I felt cold inside and out.  I was anxious and grumpy. I was overly sensitive and competitive. I was negative and critical. I thought I did a pretty good job of keeping the worst of those feeling inside, but looking back I can see those emotions manifested quite clearly in my actions and attitudes.

Tim received the brunt of my failure to adjust. I cringe remembering how sour I was last year and how many opportunities to be a supportive and caring wife I missed while I pouted and complained. On top of that, I missed out on opportunity after opportunity to do something about the things I was unhappy about because I was too busy being selfish.

I wasn’t pleased with God’s plan for me; so I did my best to adjust on my own terms and it wasn’t working. at. all.

When you don’t give God enough time…

I like immediate solutions. I’m more likely to send up a prayer for help while I’m in the midst of trying to straighten out my own path than I am to slow down and ask God for direction before I start moving and shaking.

Now that I have a year of perspective on last Winter and my failure to adjust, I realize how much of my struggle was wrapped up in impatience. I wanted instant results. When I didn’t make bosom buddies right away, when I didn’t love Idaho immediately, when I didn’t feel connected at our church, I felt disappointed and irritated. If God was going to pull me from family, friends, community, and a location that I loved, why wasn’t He providing for my needs in our new environment?

If I was offered cookies, shouldn’t milk be offered, too?

I was blinded by my own timeline. I gave God a small window to show up with milk and when it didn’t happen, I gave up. I didn’t give God enough time and my new little family reaped the consequences.

A year after the cookies, I’m just beginning to sip the milk. God IS faithful to provide for our needs, but He does it on His timeline. And He does it in ways that don’t always match up with how we expected. [pullquote position=”right”]If I learned anything during the past year it’s that God changes hearts but He doesn’t change them without permission. [/pullquote]

Adjusting to anything is a process. Even with God’s hand guiding you it can be painful, but it’s certainly less painful when you aren’t resisting and ornery. Had I stepped back and allowed God to do His thing with a yielded and patient heart, I would have saved myself and those around me a lot of grief.

Sure, I definitely still miss the things we left behind, but I didn’t give God enough time to heal my heart in a healthy way, to be what I needed in that adjustment. And When you don’t give God enough time…

photo credit: _ALVARO! via photopin cc

Letting Go For Future Promises

My current everyday Bible is a very slim NKJV I received from my mom for my twentieth birthday. Just a few months later I headed off to Oxford for my first semester studying abroad with that Bible in tow. Since its maiden voyage, that Bible has been all over the world, from the States to Europe, Africa, and many places in between.

bible writing

I love my Bible. I love its textured “is it brown? is it maroon?” cover with the slightly chipped gold letters forming my maiden name in the bottom right corner. I love the quotes collected over the past six years creating a patchwork of truth on the first blank pages. I love my mom’s inscription written in her perfect cursive. I love seeing the letter Tim wrote me last summer stuck amidst the Psalms. I love the slightly bubbled pages of 1 Corinthians, aftermath of some rogue rain drops. I love the yellow colored pencil over references to God’s light. I love the sound of the paper thin sheets being turned.

Most of all, I love the underlines. I love the notes crammed in the margins, some completely illegible. I love the dates, denoting a promise or a commitment, next to a poignant verse. All of those brackets, circles, cross references, notes, stars and underlines remind me that God speaks.

writing

He speaks to me. When I invest in His word, He is faithful to reveal Himself. Those markings prove to me that God is personal, alive and active in my heart.

But I’ve become distracted. I read and I linger over the underlines and notes, inattentive to what God wants to show me today. I rely on the familiar for comfort and strength. My notes and underlines that speak life also create traps, snares for the nuggets hidden between the lines.

I’ve decided to retire my beloved Bible for a time. A tabula rasa, if you will, takes its place. When I think to much about the blank pages ahead, I fear that they will remain blank. What if I’ve lost my ability to hear from God? What if God can’t speak to my heart? When that happens, I can just look at the slim spine sitting on my bookshelf and remember all the little piles of stones that reside among those pages, evidence of God’s faithfulness to His people, to me.

Dear Weekend {31 Days of Letters}

Dear Weekend,

Parting with you is so very bittersweet.  I usually don’t acknowledge the imminence of your departure because it’s too painful.  My weeks are nothing to dread – no laborious job, no duties I despise – but there’s an element of freedom that begins to build come Friday which rarely makes an appearance during the work week.

You offer unconstrained time.  Hours are strung together with nothing to hold them hostage.  You are like a blank canvas waiting to be splashed with colors and textures of the artist’s own choosing.  Spontaneity is your medium, and there are no rules.

As a planner, I find your unscheduled-self refreshing.  I can be the author of chaos or calm.  Whatever I choose you will most certainly oblige.  With such manners, it’s no wonder why people, like myself, love you.

I love how I can sleep in, read a book for hours, and watch too much Downton Abbey all on your time without feeling guilty.  I love how you have a time for worship, community, service, and fellowship.  I love that there is time to be still and time for adventure.

All this to say, I can’t bear to bid farewell.  Even knowing that ours is only a temporary parting does not ease the sense of loss that Monday brings.  Please slip away quietly and be swift in your return.

Sincerely,

Emily

 

You can find all my letters here.

For more information about the 31 Day Challenge, visit The Nester.