Friday, December 16, 2011

December 16th

I feel tired this morning, despite the fact that I slept pretty well last night. I could have slept in this morning another good hour or so.

The temperature changed from chilly and damp to warm and dry pretty much overnight, and I think it's given me a head cold. I feel all stuffy and raspy.

Today is my last day of quiet, and Keith's last day of missions. After this, he will be home until after New Year's Day.

So, to recap, my high energy, gregarious, loud and loving husband will be home, all day, for weeks, with his quiet, contemplative, low energy wife. Together, all day, in one house. Oh boy.

I think good scheduling will help- I will go for a nice, long solitary walk in the mornings, and in the afternoons, I will devote several hours to hanging out with him in the garage, which is his favorite thing.

I'll go to bed early, so I can have quiet time there, which I enjoy and we will go on day trips in the truck, just to cruise around and look at the lights or stop by a car dealership, because who doesn't love to just stop in a car dealership and outwit the salesperson?

Keith's back is doing much better. The MRI showed that he has a bulging disk in his lower back, but that it's going back into place and should continue to heal so long as he takes good care of himself. He's managing that better than he normally would.

"You're not so young anymore," the doctor told him.

Still, I have the strong feeling that even this will not prevent him from going out on the trails on his ATV this vacation.

Last night, I was reading Christy, by Catherine Marshall. I love that book. I came across this passage:

"Then the unexpected happened. Another series of thoughts- quite apart from the fear ones- swirled upwards as though out of some deep cavern from the depths of a sea of churning memories and ideas. The new ideas surfaced into my conscious mind with peculiar clarity. And whereas the panic had been so chaotic these were orderly thoughts, presented to me with slow deliberation...

It was not a case of Miss Alice adjusting. You know that. You have watched her listening and waiting. Get your attention of the problem- yes, even off your stomach- and look at Me. I am greater than any problem. Light follows light. You are about to discover this for yourself.

Then my own mind took over again. Had I prayed? No, not consciously. Then how odd that I no longer felt alone in my difficulty. And this intimate understanding of all that had been troubling me, with humor thrown in. The humor was the last thing I expected."

I sat in bed and felt deeply comforted. "Thank you, Father," I said. "I love how You provide for me from all over, from many directions."

Sometimes, I just feel so strange, and reading that passage took off the sharp edge of my strangeness. The author, Catherine Marshall, must have experienced God speaking in the same way I have, or else she could not have described it so well- even to the humor of God, which is so unexpected, though of course, we do have the platypus to give us some hint of it.

I loved this passage as well:

"That longin' inside me burned and ached and cried for something, I didn't rightly know what. Then one day- seems like 'twas only a week ago- I was goin' acrost the foot log bridge, along that path windin' through the thickets and the blackberry brambles. And at one certain point- I could show you where- why, He met me. Somethin' happened to me there. It was simple-like, but clear as mornin' light. I says to Him, 'Lord,' I says, 'I don't rightly know whether I'm gonna live or die, but it don't make no differ. From here on, my life belongs to You.'

"And it did, too, for a fact. From that day I could feel His love a-feedin' my starvin', thirstin' soul. And the more I tried given' His love away to my young'uns and my man and the neighbor-folks, the more love He gave back to me. Reminded me of openin' up a spring: first, a muddy trickle. Then a leetle stream, gettin' stronger and clearer with every day that passed."

I’m getting better at not simply pushing away what He says to me. It’s odd, because at first glance, a person would think that saying to God- “That can’t be for me” or “I’m not good enough” or “that’s too much riches or love or what have you…”- you’d think, saying those things would be humility in action.

But it’s not, I'm learning. It’s a weird form of pride. It’s a way for me to stay in control- it’s like having a stiff neck. In essence, I’m saying to God, “I’d rather rightfully suffer alone than surrender to You and the free gift I have not earned.”

It’s like I'm saying to God, “My judgment in this matter is better than Yours.”

Clearly, Jesus does not want us to suffer alone. Clearly, He does not want us to get what we rightfully deserve. He wants to lavishly bestow His gifts of love and grace and mercy and comfort on our lives; He wants us to say, "Yes, Lord. I accept."

Every time I say those words, I feel a profound sense of humility, because I know with certainty that I don't deserve with He's giving me, but still I yield to His gift. And then I feel an upwelling of love and gratitude and wonder.

So, a couple nights ago, when I was reading along in Isaiah and came across this: "I, even I, am He who comforts you." (Isaiah 51:12) I did not discard it or push it aside or say that it could not be meant for me, when I clearly knew that it was. I surrendered to it, though it was so huge and so astonishing to me.

This kind of response pleases Him very much, I can't help but notice.

Now I'm going to go and give the house a good cleaning. I might as well go orderly and polished into the coming chaos.