January 17, 2012

Around the House: January

I retrieved the package from the doorstep, glancing at the return address. My man wasn't home, but I couldn't wait. I eagerly tore the heavy cardboard, my heart thumping wildly within my chest. And there it was, the last 18 months of our lives enveloped in a regal navy cover with silvery words sprawling.  I opened it carefully so as not to disturb the beauty of this moment, almost sacred.

The small ceremony and the surprise celebration had heralded its coming. But staring at his name in majestic calligraphy, the finality struck somewhere deep.

My man did this.

We did this.

God did this.

This is the LORD's doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. ~Psalm 118:23 


In these first days of a new year - a new life - I am:

~enjoying evenings unencumbered by a college student's papers and projects

~committing to two social-media-free days per week. My soul needs space to breathe, to watch

~listening to the poetry of Gilead: A Novel as I drive by empty fields under a canopy of grey sky

~captivated by Masterpiece Classic: Downton Abbey

~growing accustomed to having a daughter taller than I and a man who leaves home each morning headed to work.  I praise the Lord for both.

~wondering how best to revamp our garden in the spring

~savoring the fruits of the summer's labor and finding it hard to suppress a smile every time I open a jar of tomato sauce, green beans, or apple sauce

~planning a week at home to, once again, purge my home of things and find more room to breathe

And, of course, continuing to watch...

January 11, 2012

Learning to Watch

I start work tomorrow.

It came so suddenly, words failed me. The Year of Watching was only 5 days old.

Five days.

My reaction was a mixture of happiness and sorrow. Circumstances left no doubt of God's provision and His grace.  And yet...

For more than two years, this old life - filled with frustrations, prayers, complete and utter dependence on God - has defined us.  The realization that I wasn't ready to leave it behind rushed over me, scalding hot.

It's over.

No trumpets. No fanfare. A quiet end to the most difficult and faith-filled thing I have ever done.

And I find myself not ready to say goodbye.

Fear that I will never again be this close to the Lord churns within me, for I know my wicked heart. Two days after my man started work, I'd conjured a long mental list of items that I needed to purchase. It mocked me just as sure as if I'd written it in permanent black ink on my hand and laid my sin bare for all the world to see.

I've tried to find security in money and possessions. I do not want to go back there.

Oh, Lord, give me grace not to go back there!

And with that plea, The Year of Watching takes on new meaning.

Becky spurs me on with powerful words from Thomas Brooks:
Watchfulness includes a waking, a rousing up of the soul. It is a continual, careful observing of our hearts and ways, in all the turnings of our lives—that we still keep close to God and his Word.
Watching my heart and ways.

Inspired by Persis, I am reading through The Good News We Almost Forgot: Rediscovering the Gospel in a 16th Century Catechism on each Lord's Day this year. It, too, sharpens, convicts, and encourages.

When we think of living and dying in comfort, we imagine La-Z-Boy recliners, back rubs, and all the food you can eat (with none of the pounds, of course). But the Catechism has in mind a different kind of comfort, one that is deeper, higher, richer, and sweeter.  We find this comfort by admitting our sin, instead of excusing it; by trusting in Another instead of ourselves; and by living to give thanks instead of being thanked. (Page 23)

I ache for comfort that is deeper, higher, richer, and sweeter. I am overwhelmed by my need for Jehovah Tsidkenu.
...true, lasting consolation can only come to those who know of their need to be consoled. (Page 25)

My need is cavernous. My depravity, infinite. And yet there is grace upon grace, as I learn what it means to truly watch.