Make time for civility and beauty and let grief have its work


I have been in a battle of sorts lately and almost always am this time of year. My dear husband tells me every year about this time I say, "I want to quit doing this. I cannot speak or write anymore. I feel consumed." 

I have told my children that when you stand in front of people, in any ideal or in any way, or if you stand against cultural values, you become a target. And so, in small ways, I have been a target because of my own ideals. Jesus gently told us of this, so that we would not be surprised. In this world, you will have tribulation, but take courage.......take courage....I have overcome.

I hope that I mature a little more every year, and will learn to handle these seasons of weariness with more and more grace and unconditional love, but still I am vulnerable, and always, always need God's grace and presence and comfort. 

People may wonder why I emphasize beauty, and my candles, music and tea times as though all I ever do is have tea parties--it is because in the fray of my very busy, demanding life, where so many draw from my soul morning, noon and night, I have to make a space to be refreshed, to ponder Him, to ponder life and to get heavenly perspective--His love, forgiveness, comfort, protection--so that I will still be able to keep walking the road He has had me travel. 

I am a weak, fragile person, and find that only in Him have I found the strength to go on and dance year after year--He becomes my song and my delight, but only as I am in His presence in the midst of the storms. As Jesus rested in a storm, so He is becoming my only true rest in the midst of the gales. 

I realize again, that when I suffer and am humbled, God always broadens my soul. He gives me love and compassion for those women I have the privilege of ministering to each year. 

If I have felt deep sadness,  loneliness, or discouragement or vulnerability, then, I imagine, so have they--and God allows me to minister out of a heart that has been hungry and broken, but has found my answer in Him and His gentle, strong arms, that have so faithfully held me and guided me all of these years. 

How very grateful I have become for this secret life in Him that we share together--where He has heard my hearts deepest cries, my dreams, my disappointed expectations, my hopes and prayers--and yet He has loved me and dealt with me as a Father, who has compassion and grace for me, his daughter, who is learning every day, to rest in His arms and to delight in the small pleasures He brings to my days. 

A sweet friend lost her sister four years ago, and read this poem at her funeral. I have found it to be so true in my own life--May you come to find deep, precious, refined wisdom, understanding, and compassion in your own heart through those struggles and difficulties that indeed bring eternal gold in the very depths of your soul. And may His beauty fill your longings today.

Defeat may serve as well as victory To shake the soul and let glory out When the great oak is straining in the wind The limbs drink in new beauty, and the trunk Sends down a deeper root on the windward side Only the soul that knows the mighty grief Can know the mighty rapture, Sorrows come To stretch out spaces in the heart for joy

Still in the midst of my every day, even in the weary moments, are real pictures of HIs delightful gifts of life to celebrate. And then, after the pondering, comes the energy to live fully in the moment of this day, and to choose to rejoice.

One of my reasons for celebrating life today--