I have this tiny front yard that needs water daily just to survive. Something in the way its situated makes it difficult for rain to reach most of it. The previous owner obviously spent more time than I do setting up sprinklers in strategic places. And this is not as dry a summer as usual.
So I found a setting on the nozzle of the garden hose called 'soaker', which seems to work better than a sprinkler because it requires me standing behind it and watering according to desire of wetness. I can see the spots that need soaking better than my sprinkler. And as I stand there giving the dry ground a good soak, I think of all the dry spots in my life and my people's lives and pray for them.
Now these are not wordy prayers. I'm not even sure they are good prayers. It's more watering the surface than anything, because I don't know the depth to which the dryness goes. I just kinda eyeball it like the ground and trust God will use it according to need.
Bruce says rather sadly, that since I am done teaching, I have more time to think, which makes me notice my dry spots more, which in effect causes him discomfort because I also notice his dry spots more and let them bug me. Which means I am much harder to live with I think. Or put more plainly, I nag more. OK. he did not say all those things. Just the first part, but I got the idea that was what he was really saying.
It could be true. I certainly have been re- evaluating my life habits and dealing with areas of my heart I haven't touched in years. There is a time for every season however, and I feel I have reached a season that requires a little cleaning and organization of the soul. For example...
Learning to let go of self a little better. While teaching, I had to focus constantly on what needed to be accomplished in a day and weed out any extras that might hinder those things from being accomplished. Those things could be anything from hanging out with friends to personal grooming habits to all the things I love in the literary world. Also, I even stopped ironing my husband's shirts. Imagine ironing again after four years. I know. It's not fun.
To survive those fulfilling years of teaching, I grew roots in learning how to serve others. I had joy in letting go of menial task of home life and I excelled in a world of learning and children. I thrived on stories of people like Mother Theresa who gave selflessly all their lives. Or Jesus. He went and went and went. People everywhere all the time filled with neediness and longings and hurts. Jesus was there.
Lately, I've been picturing Mother Theresa's dry, cracked feet, gnarled hands, and weathered face. Surely surely, somewhere in all that serving she took time for a soak in a tub, a facial, or a pedicure...Jesus went away alone often into the mountains to pray. Yes, I have my answer. It's time to see the dry patches and do some soaking.
Isn't it interesting the things that I called selfish and time consuming before are the things I'm needing to acknowledge as my soaker now? It's time to let go of worthy causes, of doing and of busyness. God cares when your soul is dry. I'm starting to believe that He might use physical things such as dry, cracked feet, weight gain, or not ironed shirts as a way to show me where I need to start watering.
I get to pray better for my friends and drink coffee with them again. I read a novel last week. The washing of the Word is a luxury. I recognize my need and see my dry patches. God is using home to show me this. He's made me lonely, bored, and sad with tears rolling down my cheeks for no reason to notice this. I need to give in to these dry patches.
Last week I had to give up something very big. Something I have been waiting to do for four years. It was not an easy giving up. I pleaded and beg, whined and complained to God of the injustice in it all, yet He very plainly gave me peace when I finally let it go. My heart felt watered and sure and in awe of God. It was the peace that passeth all understanding. I wish I could share with you what it was but I think it would only make you stand back and judge the situation and then inform me of what you think. And the thing is, it really doesn't matter. It was personal, yet in fifty years it will be of no consequence. What will be of consequence is that I listened to that still small voice and the peace that came along with it.
Which leads me to the final point in this long saga of dryness... How vast and varied are God's ways with us. There is no way anyone can search your heart as justly as He does. No human is capable of doing the work of the Holy Spirit in your life. Isn't that great? It relieves us of ever thinking we know what someone ought to do. That isn't our job. We only have to pray for that person we know who has a need and God will do the rest. Let God do the soaking.