Wednesday, December 21, 2016

{hidden grace}

Read two quotes this past week, and not quite sure what to make of them.  One was on a friend's FB page, saying something about wondering if she was called to 'a life of patience and longsuffering.'  The other one was from a PD James mystery, the character saying he 'didn't know he could ever be this happy' or something to that effect.  Wow.  Totally different comments, but true in certain circumstances.  I'm keen on the latter quote, but feel as if I live in the first one.

A dear friend told me this particular time of my life with my mom's situation is 'a season.'  Yes, that gives me hope it will come to an end.  I liked the thought of someday being able to put a period to the end of it.  I yearn for her to see the glory of Heaven and be released from her stroke-laden body.

I have friends I've walked along side through deaths of loved ones.  Most vicariously with blogs written about terminally ill parents.  In real life with a very special friend when her sister suffered through and died from ALS.  All of these women handled their time of caring with such grace.  Such dignity and love.  I feel I'm missing those features.  I just get mad and want to throw a temper tantrum. 

And yesterday I visited my hippie neighbor.  She'd successfully grown some ginger, planting a small piece and 7 months later ending up, she said, with about a pound.  As a thank you for sharing her crop, I'd bought her a Mrs. Meyer's peppermint candle and the girls packaged up some cookies for me to take her.  Had an excellent talk, it'd been awhile and we needed to catch up.  She listened.  She asked the right questions, and she let me just be open and honest.  Platitudes from folks at church I'm familiar with.  The comments of how loving it is to have my mom live with us after the holidays, what a blessing, how fortunate she is, you'll do just fine...that sort of thing.  This friend didn't do any of that.  She said it was tough taking care of her dad many years ago.  She nodded her head and oozed sympathy.  Then she asked how I was, knowing I struggle with depression and fatigue.  She just cared.

Segue here.

We have bunting hanging out on our front porch, two of those half-circles in American flag design.  The least one picked them out at the store just after the Fourth of July.  We hung them out then, thinking of the election, just being festive.  We've never taken them down, and I planned on it back in September, but a Carolina Wren began sleeping in the folds of it, nixing that idea.  It's still there.  The Wren.  Every night we can see it all snuggled up in the folds of the bunting, feathers all fluffed out.  Tiny little thing.  And the other night, another Wren was in the other one.  It left during a storm we had, but this one has stayed on. 

I've noticed when I'm having a particularly hard time focusing, I'll hear that Wren call.  Apparently they're very territorial, and must've marked out our house as part of that area.  I'll be in bed grieving in prayer, and I'll hear that little tea-kettle, tea-kettle song.  Something will happen that makes me cry and there it'll sing.  It's really amazing.  And not put too much of a mystical slant on a little bird, I do honestly believe the Lord works in mysterious ways.  How lame of us to think He's always doing the ordinary, avoiding the idea that He's sort of sneaky as well.  That He's using unconventional ways to get our attention.  What better way than a songbird?

Got to keep listening for the song, even in metaphorical sense.  It's out there.  Can't let the hard parts dilute the blessings.  Strong learning curve here.  Always.

He's blessed us in amazing ways this Christmas.  Thankfully it's not required that we have it all together before He works.  Life isn't a lesson in getting it right, but He blesses even when we're all messed up.  In the midst of our sin.  I was raised in a household where I felt I had to 'hold my mouth right' in order to be praised.  Still do.  Reminder:  I'll never get it right.  But He still loves me, even when I'm throwing that tantrum.

Tea-kettle, tea-kettle.


podso said...

Aren't we grateful that we don't have to have it all together before He bestows grace.

Charm and Grace said...

Sometimes the praise is easy, and sometimes it is a sacrifice. I was particularly feeling that "sacrifice" kind of praise this Sunday morning with so many responsibilities for church while going on a fourth day of stomach flu or food poisoning. I stood in the shower apologizing to the Lord that I just didn't physically have it in me to do it. Really emotional and overcome. And He reminded me that He is most pleased not with my ability to pull it together, pull up my bootstraps and get it done, but by my brokenness and need for Him. He only wanted my sacrifice of praise. I pray that you are able to have those kinds of conversations with Him, too, when you need to in this process... a process which in no way will be easy. But He knows our frames, that we are but dust... He is willing to strengthen you for whatever lies ahead. And He is willing to carry the burden for you. In our weakness He is strong. Praying for you, friend!