Finally, I Feel Settled.
Wednesday, September 09, 2015
Since I "retired" from homeschooling 3 1/2 years ago, I've been in a place of unrest. I intentionally took the first year after homeschooling to look at my life and the projects I was involved in and just considered what I wanted the rest of my life to look like. I would not allow myself to take on any major new projects. I dropped out of a couple of projects that I once did in joy, but now only did out of a sense of duty. I spent a lot of time just cleaning out--both my house and my spirit. I sought God's will for me. I read everything I could find about living the life God made me to live. My husband retired that same year, so I had an adjustment with him home all the time while my son, whom I had homeschooled for 12 years, went off to college. I thought I wanted to start painting again--something I had put on hold because of time and mess involved while trying to juggle everything else going on in my daily life. Every attempt to start any painting project brought feelings of guilt for putting a priority on a fun hobby or feelings of inadequacy because I was so out of practice and I felt so selfish for putting me first and then not being able to accomplish anything when I did.
I truly thought that 1 year praying and meditating and reorganizing would bring me to a place of readiness for the next chapter of my life and peace that I was in the right place would follow. God's timing is often different than mine -- and always better. Apparently I needed a lot more time.
Although these years haven't seemed very productive to the naked eye, in retrospect I think I've learned a lot, especially in my spirit. I spent a lot of time unsuccessfully trying to lose weight. I learned about so many things that don't work for me. I learned a lot about how different foods make my body feel. Just like homeschooling sent me to my knees for the Lord's help, so did this weight loss attempt. I know without a doubt that without Him I can do nothing. I know that I am a daughter of the King. I know how He loves me. I know how wonderfully blessed I am. And I've been holding onto those thoughts as my anchor until I finally know His plan for me.
Today my prayers were answered and... I ...feel...settled.
I was out walking on this beautiful afternoon. I wandered on down by our creek and was awestruck by the beauty all around me. There was a nice gentle breeze and birds were all around. There was a blue jay imitating the cry of a hawk. The water was so calm and the light was such that the reflection of trees and sky on the water was like a mirror that reached down as far as the sky reaches up. I just felt so blessed. And I told the Lord just that.
I remembered my word for 2015: simplicity. I've been meditating on that word all year with all its nuances of meaning. In particular this Bible verse: 2 Corinthians 11:3
"But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ." I want a life of simplicity and purity of devotion to my God.
I asked Jesus once again to show me how He wants me to spend my time. How can I live to bless Him and bring glory to Him? And He spoke to my heart and said "with simplicity."
These thoughts came to me one after the other; things that had all been on my mind these last 3+ years but now in a cohesive way of simplicity: God has blessed me--with a wonderful family, with a beautiful piece of property/home to live on, with talents, and also aloneness. How can I bless God? By using these things He has blessed me with to bless others.
Beautiful property--I can use my artistic talents to paint and draw pictures of the many spots of beauty around me to bless others.
My ability to adapt craft projects for specific groups --I will continue to plan and prep crafts for VBS and women's ministry.
Music--I can play piano for others.--perhaps start going to the nursing home again.
Aloneness--To some this might not seem a blessing. And many, many, many times I did NOT want it. Believe me, there were many tears. My whole life, every time I made a friend, or met someone I connected with, they moved away or circumstance took them away--I was ALWAYS alone. People that I wanted to spend time with seemed to have all the friends they wanted and were too busy for anything more. But, that sent me to the loving arms of my Savior--the greatest blessing of all. I learned to be content by myself. I learned to fill the quiet hours with art and music. I can now have time to help/befriend others who are lonely, because I seem to be the only one around who doesn't have something planned everyday on my calendar.
God blessed me with a home and garden--I need to take care of them to bless my family.
He blessed me with a healthy body--I need to take care of it--it is a temple for the living God. I need to have strength and energy to bless others.
I need to honor God by eating the foods He gave- as He gave them- with simplicity, whole foods more than processed.
So simply put: God has blessed me, so I can bless Him best by using those blessings to bless others. A life of simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.
This may sound overly simple to some, but to me, it is exactly what I have been looking for: an overarching guide for how to live and make decisions. Thank You, Father!