Monday, March 26, 2007


Last week one of my coworkers found her husband collapsed on the floor. She buried him two days ago . . .

A few days back our youngest son broke his arm trying to do a good deed. He’ll have surgery tomorrow to fix it . . .

In January, one of my sisters-in-law found a lump in her breast. She’s now facing reconstructive surgery after a mastectomy ten days ago . . .

A week and a half ago my neighbor’s daughter died . . .

Last Monday I discovered water soaking the wall and floor in my laundry room. On Tuesday, the kitchen sink backed up. On Wednesday, the plumber took our check . . .

I got a phone call today from our health care provider. The amount not covered by our insurance is obscene . . .

Sometimes I’m overwhelmed by how dramatically things can change in a single moment. A birth. A death. An accident. A bill. Bad news. We go tootling along, thinking everything’s just hunky-dory, and then something happens. Just like that.

Funny how often we see those unexpected moments as interruptions to our lives. We moan and complain and begrudge them. But our lives are made up of these moments. They remind us of the value of life, give depth to our joys, and fine tune our hearts for something beyond today.

Abundance is not nearly so satisfying without having experienced poverty. Health is largely unappreciated unless we have known sickness. Peace is not as sweet to the soul unless we have lived through turmoil. Pleasure is dulled without pain. Gladness weakened without sorrow.

We struggle and strain against the tough moments of our lives, and yet they are the very instances that refine us. I pray that God will empower me to receive the moments he’s ordained for me in faith and with thanksgiving. One of my favorite songs is Blessed Be Your Name, a beautiful reminder that in plenty or in want, God is to be praised. In sunshine or in darkness, I can still choose to trust Him.

When we remember to trust Him, then these moments will not win, for they will have been swallowed up in Christ’s victory. They will not defeat, but instead make us stronger. They will not crush us, but be held lightly by us—a vapor, a mist, a fleeting thing in the span of eternity.

With peace in our hearts, faith in our souls, and a light in our eyes we can face these moments. We can walk gracefully and bravely and purposefully through them. And we can treasure every easy moment with the kind of gratitude and joy that gives God the greatest glory.

Saturday, March 10, 2007


For several days I’ve been trying to gather my thoughts in order to write about how tired I am. How tired all the women are that I’ve talked to lately. How we seem to just run ourselves ragged, and for what?

But then a strange thing happened. I began to feel un-tired.

Partly, that’s because I took half the day off yesterday. Many of you know I’m employed by the school district to work four mornings a week, but if you’re a woman, then you realize that’s only a drop in the bucket of my responsibilities.

Yesterday, after preparing bruschetta for the international food festival in Caleb’s social studies class, helping to serve/clean up, then having an early lunch with one of my former coworkers at the school, I took the rest of the day off. Well, except for using the wet-vac to suction the water out of the toilet bowl so it could be removed (we’re tiling the bathroom this weekend) and making a light dinner and taking care of some Line of Departure business. You know how it goes. But I spent most of the day and evening reading or spending time with my family. I even took a 45-minute walk by myself (deep, contented sigh here).

But the main reason I began to feel un-tired, is because I took time to really think about how I spend my days. Let me back up.

Two years ago I put myself on a 6-month sabbatical from almost all outside responsibilities. I focused on taking care of my home and family and working through some personal and spiritual matters. In many ways it was excruciating, but at the end of the six months, I knew I wasn’t going back to the trap I’d fallen into before—saying yes, because I should, rather than saying yes because I was passionate about something.

Sounds good, right? But as a result, a year ago I found myself without much direction. I felt rather purposeless and, well, alone. I seemed to have discovered that there wasn’t much use for what I was passionate about . . . or at least very little outlet for me to use my particular gifts. I apparently saw the world with different glasses and had passions and interests that weren’t very practical. I felt pretty low and insignificant until I realized that God, alone, was enough for me (see my October 17, 18 & 21, 2006 posts for more on that).

So this week, as I considered complaining about why I’m so tired, I realized that I’m worn out with blessings. God has given me outlets for my passions. Yes, I need balance. Yes, I need regular solitude that I don’t often make time for. Yes, there are deadlines—deadlines I’ve usually imposed on myself. But the truth is that I’m deeply satisfied. And I’m thriving. I’m living intentionally, and it’s making a difference in people’s lives.

And you know what? I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s good for a woman to collapse in bed at the end of the day because she’s been living outside herself. It’s good when she’s exhausted because she’s been tending her family the best way she knows how. It’s good when she’s bone weary because she’s been working her job as if she was working for the Lord.

All these things are good and pure and noble and praiseworthy.

However, I highly recommend the occasional day off.