Friday, April 18, 2014

A Good Thing, But A Hard Thing

I just spent the first of what will end up being a few days of having very few children and no husband around. It doesn't happen often. Abby is off to her classes, her job, her babysitting obligations, her date with Justin. Nathalie is, of course, at school in South Carolina. Hannah is visiting my brother's family and Rachel and Samantha are on a trip to Kansas with my parents to visit my sisters. Sam is working. And so I am alone. 

Yesterday I cleaned. Washed floors and counters, which stayed clean! In the evening I visited a friend's opening at an art show and was reminded how I enjoy looking at art, especially young people's art. I should make more time for that. I made myself a salad for dinner and tucked myself up with a book. I should make more time for that too.

Today... the shine on being alone has dimmed and I am feeling... hmmm... the word that comes to mind is obsolete. Obsolete is an interesting word with several definitions and I think several apply to me here:
1)  no longer in general use; fallen into disuse. As time goes by my kids no longer NEED me. Not like that deep need that infants and small children have for their mother. Now it seems I am more of a convenience. Food, clean clothes, the occasional encouraging word or reining back in. They are all growing up and making decisions on their own. And while this is EXACTLY what we raised them to do, it still pricks the heart to not be included in their sisterly powwows and tete-a-tetes. Being obsolete is a good thing, but a hard thing.

2) effaced by wearing down or away; worn out. As time goes by I find myself feeling more exposed, more vulnerable. I find I cry more easily, get frustrated more quickly, and feel things more deeply. Circumstances have worn me down, exposing my raw nerves and edges. I have to remind myself that just because something or someone hurts me, it doesn't mean they are in the wrong. It may just mean that God is drawing my attention to another area in my heart that needs to be dealt with. It is these times when my soul cries, "I am so tired of running this race. When will You come for me? How much longer Lord until I am Home?" Being obsolete is both a good thing and a hard thing. 

3) imperfectly developed or rudimentary in comparison with the corresponding character in 
other individuals. As time goes by I am more aware of how woefully inept, flawed, and "imperfectly developed" that I am. Spending time in God's word and in prayer, I see how "rudimentary" my faith is when compared to the character of others. And then I am also given so many more opportunities to face my lack of faith in "real life" circumstances. I wish I could say I am a fast learner, but it seems I am making the same stumbles and falls over and over again. It keeps me remembering that I am not alone in this and I have a hope that is greater than this world (emphasis is mine):

 2 Corinthians 4:7-15 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death works in us, but life in you.
 But having the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “believed, therefore I spoke,” we also believe, therefore we also speak, knowing that He who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and will present us with you. For all things are for your sakes, so that the grace which is spreading to more and more people may cause the giving of thanks to abound to the glory of God.

And here lies my hope, my joy, my resting place:
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 Therefore we do not lose heart, but though our outer man is decaying, yet our inner man is being renewed day by day. For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

<>And so being obsolete keeps me humble; a good thing and a hard thing. 
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