We each have a life story, penned without ink, read by the people around us. Who's writing your story?

Sunday, February 16, 2014

The Chronology of a Life . . . in a File Drawer

Another snow day . . . I eyed my file cabinet and decided to go for it--the third drawer, that is. I carefully opened it up and took the "file pile" off the top. I'd get to that later. I began with the first folder: "A." I evaluated every piece of paper, every article, every poem all the way to file folder "Z." Then I looked through the topical folders from "Activities and Games" to "Weddings." By the middle of the second snow day, I got to my "file pile." By late afternoon, my husband had cleared the driveway of nearly two feet of snow, and I had thrown out a couple bags of papers from my drawer. 

And I made a surprising discovery.

What began as a chore turned into a lifetime of memories for me. I began saving quotes, articles, and pamphlets in high school. During my college years, I took a class called "Pastor's Wife" that required a file, which I took with me to our first ministry. I filed many of the brochures and programs for mother-daughter events, missionary conferences, and for "Graceful Living" as we called our ladies' Bible studies. I remembered the people who invested in my life during those early years with gratefulness. 

When we moved in 1987,  I brought my file box with me and continued to add to it: notes from speaking opportunities and shower devotionals, missionary cupboard plans, ideas for summer vacations and holidays, more women's ministry remembrances. I kept some letters from my mom with advice and menu ideas. I saved articles on mothering, forgiveness, marriage, and teenagers. Decades of service and ideals all organized in alphabetical order. One file drawer represented the chronology of a life.

I noticed something else. The face of Christianity has changed. It seems to me the definitions of holiness have softened. What appeared so important at one time has moved off center stage, all but forgotten. Said another way, how we express our faith has somehow been altered over the years. I'm still mulling over the implications of it all . . .

As I closed my now-tidy drawer, I couldn't help but think about God's faithfulness. Society, both sacred and secular, has changed since my husband and I began our lives together in 1979, but God has not. His Word still offers relevant guidance. He is still "our refuge and strength" (Psalm 46:1). We can count on His presence every single day! 

So, if you could view your life story in one file drawer on a snowy afternoon, what would you find?

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Through With the Flu . . .

I never get sick. 

At least it's been a number of years. Not that I'm a picture of perfect health. But the flu? A cold? Not in a long time.

So on Monday night when I sense that "I-hope-I'm-not-coming-down-with something" feeling, I line up my "beat-the-bug" potions on the counter and follow the protocol to a T. But by Tuesday evening, I feel my grip on wellness waning. By Wednesday, I find myself in bed the better part of the day - and the next.

During broad daylight with the shades drawn, I shiver under multiple blankets, trying not to move even one achy muscle--and take time to reflect. I think about the past six months . . . our youngest daughter's missions trip to South Africa, the end of my mom's prolonged illness and her death, my dad's open-heart surgery and successful recovery, the recent stay of our oldest daughter and cute little grandson . . . all laced with God's grace and goodness. Perhaps the let-down of it all has something to do with this illness of mine!

I feel vulnerable--a feeling I don't like. It reminds me that I'm not as in control as I sometimes think I am. In reality, my days are in God's hands. Perhaps He allows times like this for reflection, to slow me down, to help me perceive the truly important. To re-evaluate my goals--and list. Once again, I see the importance of a softer approach to my work, my relationships, my experiences . . . one that leans a little more toward grace, kindness, and understanding. One that trusts God a little more with the details.

I hope I'm through with the flu. And even though my mom's not here to tell me, "Don't do too much too soon," I'll try to follow her advice.

So, what do you think about when you're slowed down by the sniffles, the flu, or some other unnamed bug that's going around? 

 Nothing shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:39)