Fresh flowers in the bathroom? No thanks, I will just have to add “throw flowers away” to my to-do list on Friday. Get out the crystal for a glass of juice? Um, if you’re not looking I’ll save myself the washing and just drink from the jug. Spend an hour writing a love-note to my beloved? I’ll just text him, “Hey.” Create intricate invitations for you to come to tea? I’ll just instant message you and see if you would bring me a Coke. Bring one for yourself, if you’d like. (For real. Don’t think I haven’t done this.)
I still write. Just for useful things, though. Church. Work. Lessons. I still cook. For scattered events. I still listen to beautiful music. But only at work. All day long. So, I consume silence at home. I still read. Well, little bits here and there. Never long hours at a time.
My “job” requires my creativity, so my artistic license expires during my “own” time. The weeds need pulling. The baseboards need cleaning. How in the world do they get so filthy so quickly? And I happen to love organization and be a Messy. It’s my Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. I am also a perfectionist. So throw that into the crazy along with all the self-imposed rules of life to which I must obtain.
I miss the old me. The one that wasn’t stuck on some giant treadmill of work, house, work, house…
(Before you email and tell me that I should just take a long 4 hour bath and read something really fabulous while gazing at the roses picked from the garden – I do have to confess that I spent a solid hour inventing desserts. And I have gone over my time limit I set for writing this. So, even with all my ranting and wailing, I still have pockets of the old me that creep through.)
But I still miss her.
The one who felt that God’s grace was upon her because she was riding her bike through vineyards. The one who understood God’s nearness as she watched the sun rise over rice patties. The one who languished in God’s provision as she explored a city with the love of her life. The one who was assured of God’s calling as she worked on a fancy writing project for a fancy church.
But, here’s the good news. She was wrong. She thought that those things - those gifts - were her salvation.
The new me is growing up.
The new me is growing up.
God’s grace is upon me – not because I’m riding my bike through the vineyards – but because God has removed my sins as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103). God is near – He is the Sun of Righteousness rising with healing in His wings (Malachi 2). God has provided – yes, this earthly husband- – but how much more amazing - this Husband who is Almighty, who is my Redeemer (Isaiah 54). God’s calling is not rooted in my glory and excellence but in Christ’s (2 Peter 1).
Now my prayer time is in the car instead of in a cozy chair with a great cup of coffee and my journal. Now my ministry is to people who often forget my name. Now I live with someone from whom I cannot keep up appearances of being good and righteous.
And someday, I might look on this season, and see my grace filled husband, our health, our family, our church, this ministry – and long for this season again. I might romanticize it, just as I romanticize other seasons.
But, I hope that when I look back at this time, I see how Heaven became a greater desire as I loved people who are broken on earth. I pray that I look back to see how His Word became a joy as I taught the same simple lesson five times a week. I pray that I look back and cherish the long prayer commutes. I pray that I look back and see how God grew my husband and I together as one as we pulled weeds and watched the garden come to life. And even if it’s not dramatic and even if it won’t make anyone envious on Facebook, I pray that most of all in the midst of the mundane, I see less of who I am and more of Christ.