Last year as soon as school was out we took our family and sailboat to Florida for a dreamy vacation. It turned out rather un-dreamy. One of the most vivid memories I have on the trip is fixing a boxed dinner while standing over the alcohol burner stove. All of us were stuffed inside that small space with torrents of rain pouring down on top our boat and finding every leak along the hatch and main and windows. Everything was supposed to be sealed. Anyway, it rained a lot. And I was cooking dinner that I knew the family would not enjoy and was feeling pretty lousy about it. It was as if everyone's misery was my fault.
During the times of no rain and a little extra room on the boat, God kept taking me to Matthew 6 about alms and doing them before men to be seen of them. I could not make the connection between feeling like a failure to my family with lack of dry clothes and decent food and soothing salve for the no see um bites and doing alms. Yet that's what kept coming up in my conversations with God.
This summer has been the same thing. I always come away from a term of teaching, thoroughly exhausted and beating myself up for my lack of able-ness. It's as if I am completely DONE. If I could cease to exist for a few months I would. Instead God speaks to me about hard things and I feel chastened.
I pray for energy, He takes me on failed vacations (they aren't failed though...it might look like it from a human perspective but it always ends up being exactly the best thing). I pray for zeal and He takes me to alms and doing them for men. I pray for rest and He gives me people and schedules.
I finally look into being chastened because that's what I'm feeling and He shows me LOVE. He really truly knows the best way to reach our hearts...Being chastened is a very good thing in the life of a Christ follower. It's refreshing to accept I am not able and I need correction. It's freeing to just stop striving and go through the storm I did not want. The one I was working hard at avoiding.
Selling the sailboat was a big deal to me. But embracing what God has replaced it with is pretty great too. Not that I enjoy speed or speedboats...but I do enjoy this gift of summer and family and adult kids...Sometimes we grasp for 'the could have been's' instead of embracing 'what is.'
Last week was the dreamy I was looking for...we went camping twice as a family. Out in nature and away from town a total of two nights and four days felt like a little slice of heaven. I think my brain is coming back into my head. Finally I am doing my alms(deeds of goodness and kindness) for God and not man and it is a mighty nice experience.
It also helps that I can put those grown up kids to work. If they put in a complaint pretty often it is a complaint they have to take responsibility for themselves since they are doing more. I'm clever sometimes.
This guy is also on vacation. Which is pretty nice for all of us. Maybe I am a weird wife but it's not easy having a man around the house so much. I will not tell a lie. I have to pray for love more in summer...I think that goes both ways. I have sensed frustration if I drink coffee too long into the morning in my pj's.
And now this weekend...it's just down to the three of us...The two eldest are away with friends. One lakeside and the other at a bike resort.
Let this be a lesson to enjoy the moments you have...even the ones when you are split apart. I love my kids growing up but this almost empty nest feeling is odd.
It's kinda like coffee with no cream...
or flowers with no stems...
or rain with no mud...
OK... none of those analogies work but you get my point.