A few hours ago, I returned from a weekend away with some ladies. Jerry encourages me to take advantage of opportunities like this, and works hard to schedule enough attendants to cover my time away. He tells me the first 24 hours I am away he enjoys full control of the remote. Which means, at least at this season, baseball is on all the time. If it is not on the television, he is watching a game in person.
By the second day the novelty has worn off and he is ready for me to come home. He remembers all the things he did not enjoy about living alone.
Like most of you, when I come home I unpack my car. We update each other on our time apart. And then it happens, no matter what time of day it is Jerry apologizes that he needs a little nap. I know that a little nap in this situation means a long solid period of deep sleep.
I sometimes forget how much energy Jerry expends to live day to day. When I am away he does his best to keep things as tidy and together as he is able, increasing the amount of energy he expends. Giving me the grace to get a break, he accepts greater responsibility on his personal resources.
I could be frustrated that after being apart for a few days, I come home and he sleeps. Instead, I embrace it as a compliment. To me, it means he feels safe and content. We both know we’ll have the time to talk and tackle all the life decisions we have ahead of us tomorrow. Lord willing that is. And if we aren’t gifted that time tomorrow, we won’t need to worry about the decisions.
Is there something in your life that could bother or irritate you, but it you look at it from another perspective it brings you joy. I would love to hear your story. Please share.
A bit over a week ago our third and final week of Family Retreat ended. It feels like just yesterday and other times it seems like camp was ages ago. It was a tough summer for me in many ways, so getting to Family Retreat (FR) was a relief!
Our final week of FR began with rain on the day we were unpacking, then rain on the day the STMs (Short Term Missionaries) arrived, and still more rain on the day our families arrived and unpacked.
The day the STMs arrived for training the volunteers who were serving as the STM Coordinators had to leave suddenly due to a family emergency. God had it all covered . . . Maureen stepped up to join me in this role for the week. We had both served in this role in the past, but not together, and it had been some time ago.
So Tuesday morning, as programming was in full swing I went to the gazebo to observe all that was happening. As I turned my head I saw a puddle. That would be expected with all the rain we had. But this puddle was different. From where I sat, the puddle was the shape of the dove of peace!
I felt like it was my own personal “sign from God.” I had weathered many storms in the recent months (and a couple I am still weathering), but amidst it all God was reminding me of His peace that passes all understanding.
As the week wrapped up full of joy (our theme), it was time to pack up and head home. Road construction sent me on a different route. At a stop sign tI looked to my left and saw a church sign board. There was the verse that has been chosen as our theme for the 2017 Family Retreats! (I am not sharing the specific verse here because I need to practice living in the present, which for me means living in and living out the Joy theme from Nehemiah 8:10 through this year). Suffice it to say that it is a promise that in God I have everything I need in abundant supply!
How sweet to end the season with assurances of peace, joy and God’s abiding presence and supply. Indeed – it has been a wonderful Family Retreat season 2016!
No, this is not a post “airing our dirty laundry”, but instead a story of how this pile of laundry (about 10 loads) became a symbol of blessing and joy to me.
Friday we came home from serving at our first two weeks of Family Retreat. (For those of you not familiar with Family Retreat you can read this post in my archives). We arrive home exhausted, ready to do nothing for a couple of days but rest and relax. We also come home with a LARGE pile of laundry.
Typically I’ve looked at the pile of laundry and grumbled (to myself I think, but perhaps out loud as well!) that I have to do that laundry. That starts the rock rolling downhill while gathering thoughts of, “the kitchen needs to be mopped, the beds need clean sheets, the gardens need weeding, the bills need paying. . . .” and very soon my attitude is shot.
Our Family Retreat theme this year was “Joy.” We talked each day about finding joy in the range of emotions that come our way in daily life. Coming home I immediately got a chance to apply that! I realized that I could choose my attitude about the laundry, and other tasks ahead of me. I could see them as burdens, exercise frustration, but still have to complete them. Or I could choose joy and view this mountain of laundry, weeds, dishes, etc. as a blessing.
- A blessing that we have enough clothes to change daily
- A blessing that I am not at a river pounding clothes on a a rock to clean them, but put them in this magic machine and they come out clean
- A blessing that we have a door on the laundry room I can shut when I am not ready to take on the task
- A blessing that we have a home with a small bit of property that has places to grow weeds
And then a funny thing happened . . . when I changed my attitude about the laundry, I found unpacking wasn’t such a chore either. I was grateful we have jobs that allow us opportunities to travel and serve, thankful for the blessing of suitcases, cars to travel in, thankful for a house to come home to. . . and most of all thankful for a Heavenly Father who doesn’t give up on me but continues to strengthen me with His joy!
Growing up, JOY was a vertical word to me.
“Jesus and others and you, what a wonderful way to spell Joy. Jesus and others and you in the life of each girl and each boy. J is for Jesus for He has first place. O is for others you see face to face. Y is for you, in whatever you do, put yourself last and spell Joy.”
The song’s message was clear (or so I thought) – I am not important. There came a time though in my adult life, when that became a real problem for me, I had totally abandoned the idea of taking care of myself because it was all about Jesus and others.
I realized I had to change my visual of JOY. I tried looking at it horizontally, but ended up at the same point – myself last.
Rereading Scriptures I had previously misapplied (e.g, Philippians 2:4), I now see JOY as a set of gears. As my relationship with Jesus functions properly, it empowers me to move in right relationship to others while also caring for myself. Now that is JOY!