Our thoughts have great power. They give us energy or suck us dry.Read More
I texted a friend the other day that 2019 was kicking my butt. In fact, as I type this I am in the fetal position. Not really, but not that far off. I am in my sweats on Valentine's Day evening. I live a super fancy life!
A few days after New Years, my husband had a retinal detachment in one of his eyes. When he told me what he thought was going on, we assumed he would go in to the doctor, get it fixed, and then he would be back on his way in his fast-paced life.
Well, things didn't go down like that. Upon going to the surgeon, we learned that his OTHER eye also had a partial detachment.
I won’t bore you with the details of the surgeries and procedures. I want to share with you the greatest lesson I learned through the almost 4 weeks of constant togetherness.
Adam couldn't see for 3 weeks. 3 weeks. Imagine! He also was confined to very strict positioning to avoid pressure on certain areas of his eyes.
Folks, it was horrible. Mostly for him, but also for me. There was urgency, and in the fast-moving decisions and problems to be solved, there was fear.
We walked those 3 weeks not knowing how much of Adam’s eyesight would be there after the surgeries. The surgeon’s words were terrifying. His statements of “we are trying to save the left eye” and “possible loss of vision” were circulating in my thoughts.
So for weeks, I took care of my husband. I walked him to the bathroom. I gave him approximately 1 million eye drops. I got his clothes and helped him change. I practiced patience with the comfortable (horrifyingly ugly) outfits he insisted on wearing. I got him water when he was thirsty. I made sure he had audio books. I stopped the audio book when he couldn't find the button to pause it. I have never taken on the role of caretaker like I did in the month of January 2019.
And it was a great gift to me.
I didn't learn a gazillion lessons through this experience. Really, there were only a couple. But the biggest one was that God helped me awaken a tenderness that had been asleep in our marriage.
Tenderness. That was my lesson.
Ya know, life is busy. We have kids going different directions. College is on the horizon. Middle School drama. And kids need to eat and other annoying things like that. Tenderness gave way to check lists, insurance payments, and wanting to just get everything done so we can watch a Netflix show and go to sleep.
I can be tender, don't get me wrong. When Adam has a hard day, I can listen. I can empathize. But because of the pace of life, I can get caught up in the tasks to the point that I forget to be gentle, caring... tender.
Tender is a strange word. I think of a good steak. I think of a wound or a bruise that doesn't want to be touched.
But "tender" is the word that God kept bringing to me. As I was caring for him, I realized that what he needed was a back rub, or to just touch his hand when I was showing him where his fork was. God helped me to be tender when his eye drops hurt to the point of agony.
Adam is a tough man. He's strong. He can work and work and still has the strength to serve and love and give. But the toughest of men still needs tenderness. Life is scary. To have a place of safety is a gift that I wish everyone could know.
Marriage can be a safe haven for us to return to and be nurtured by... you guessed it... tenderness.
In fact, as I sit here typing this blog in my favorite coffee shop, I don't think it is coincidence that the music playing softly overhead was in our wedding. Canon in D. Soft. Tender. Like marriage should be.
p.s. Adam is doing well. While not at 100% vision, we are thankful for the surgeries’ success and vision in both eyes!
What do you think? I would love to know! What experiences have helped you be tender with the people around you?
I took this picture of the setting sun a few years ago on a retreat that still brings a smile to my face. I gathered with a group of women after we had journeyed together for a year. The Retreat Home we gathered to was sacred space. The time, which included quite a bit of silence, provided breathing room for what God was speaking to me. I continue to feel loved by the words spoken over me by the group of women.
Today I am starting a Bible reading plan. As I started those familiar words in Genesis 1, I came across a phrase that never caught my attention before:
Here it is in the NIV.
14And God said, “Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years…”
“…let them (lights in the sky) serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years,”
Different, in a God-mysterious-blessed-divine kinda way.
Sacred seasons, days, moments are thresholds. They are thresholds that remember the past in their beauty and truth and connection to one another. They are thresholds that separate the letting go of what was to grab ahold of what is to be. As I looked back on my year, it was the sacred times and celebrations that stood out to my soul… Adam’s 40th outdoor dinner birthday party… the retreat that I led… a big birthday for our eldest daughter… Christmas season…opening up the Tree by Water office…
God, from the VERY BEGINNING, set sacred times into the rhythm of our universe. If these sacred times are in the rhythms of the universe, I hope they make it into our human planners and calendars. What is important for God should be important for us.
Sacred times invite us to see the sacred in every moment. They provide space for us to slow down to set our priorities, our heart, our life into God’s rhythms.
I write this on New Year’s Eve. A threshold.
As you plan and dream about how you will spend your time and energy in 2019, I encourage you to ask yourself how you will set apart the sacred times of your life and the life of your Christian community.
A few questions to guide you:
How will you celebrate the birthdays in your life?
Are there any anniversaries you want to create space for? This may involve celebration or grieving.
What sacred times in the Christian calendar do you want to set apart this year?
What times of rest is God inviting you to?
For further study:
I love looking at the different translations. Here are a few of my go-to translations.
14And God said, “Let there be lights in the dome of the sky to separate the day from the night; and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years,
14 God spoke: “Lights! Come out!
Shine in Heaven’s sky!
Separate Day from Night.
Mark seasons and days and years,
14Then God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night. They will serve as signs Jr 10:2 for festivals Or for the appointed times and for days and years.
Psalm 104 is a lovely poem about our Creator and creation.
1-14O my soul, bless God!
God, my God, how great you are!
beautifully, gloriously robed,
Dressed up in sunshine,
and all heaven stretched out for your tent.
You built your palace on the ocean deeps,
made a chariot out of clouds and took off on wind-wings.
You commandeered winds as messengers,
appointed fire and flame as ambassadors.
You set earth on a firm foundation
so that nothing can shake it, ever.
You blanketed earth with ocean,
covered the mountains with deep waters;
Then you roared and the water ran away—
your thunder crash put it to flight.
Mountains pushed up, valleys spread out
in the places you assigned them.
You set boundaries between earth and sea;
never again will earth be flooded.
You started the springs and rivers,
sent them flowing among the hills.
All the wild animals now drink their fill,
wild donkeys quench their thirst.
Along the riverbanks the birds build nests,
ravens make their voices heard.
You water the mountains from your heavenly cisterns;
earth is supplied with plenty of water.
You make grass grow for the livestock,
hay for the animals that plow the ground.
14-23Oh yes, God brings grain from the land,
wine to make people happy,
Their faces glowing with health,
a people well-fed and hearty.
God’s trees are well-watered—
the Lebanon cedars he planted.
Birds build their nests in those trees;
look—the stork at home in the treetop.
Mountain goats climb about the cliffs;
badgers burrow among the rocks.
The moon keeps track of the seasons,
the sun is in charge of each day.
When it’s dark and night takes over,
all the forest creatures come out.
The young lions roar for their prey,
clamoring to God for their supper.
When the sun comes up, they vanish,
lazily stretched out in their dens.
Meanwhile, men and women go out to work,
busy at their jobs until evening.
24-30What a wildly wonderful world, God!
You made it all, with Wisdom at your side,
made earth overflow with your wonderful creations.
Oh, look—the deep, wide sea,
brimming with fish past counting,
sardines and sharks and salmon.
Ships plow those waters,
and Leviathan, your pet dragon, romps in them.
All the creatures look expectantly to you
to give them their meals on time.
You come, and they gather around;
you open your hand and they eat from it.
If you turned your back,
they’d die in a minute—
Take back your Spirit and they die,
revert to original mud;
Send out your Spirit and they spring to life—
the whole countryside in bloom and blossom.
31-32The glory of God—let it last forever!
Let God enjoy his creation!
He takes one look at earth and triggers an earthquake,
points a finger at the mountains, and volcanoes erupt.
33-35Oh, let me sing to God all my life long,
sing hymns to my God as long as I live!
Oh, let my song please him;
I’m so pleased to be singing to God.
But clear the ground of sinners—
no more godless men and women!
O my soul, bless God!
You most certainly are thinking today. It may be focused or calm,Read More