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

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Lessons From the Let-Down

I sank into my favorite chair and took a deep breath. 

Photo by Julie Manwarren
What a week it had been! My sister flew in from Indiana. Two of my daughters and their little sons came in for the weekend. My book signing turned out to be a wonderful time of greeting friends from the community and area churches, some closely associated with my late husband, Barry. They came and they stayed, coffee in hand, seizing the opportunity to catch up with old friends and meet new ones. Afterward, the family gathered around my dining room table to sip soup and recount God's blessings as many took our story home with them that day

Photo by Julie Manwarren
On Monday evening, my sister, and I enjoyed our dad's famous chili, and together, watched old slides, once again hearing his navy stories and enjoying poses of us as little girls with very young parents. The next couple days we shared meals, raked up leaves (Dad's and mine), and enjoyed just being together until Wednesday evening, when Barb boarded a plane heading west and I led a Bible study on Chapters 11-14 of my book. 

On Thursday, I fulfilled my time in the dentist chair, ran to the Ronald McDonald House to present them with a check (proceeds from the book signing) and a copy of Penned Without Ink for their library . . .  then finally found my chair.


But I don't do let-downs well. 

By Sunday evening, my eyes were "gunky" (as my mother used to say), bloodshot, watery, swollen, and irritated with bags underneath. An uninvited case of conjunctivitis brought my go-go-go pace to a screeching halt. The side effects from the drops reduced me to sitting alone in my living room with the shades drawn, wearing sunglasses, and squinting to try to read blurry texts from my girls. 
Google Images

A let-down, indeed!

But in spite of all this, I wanted to listen . . . to listen to the still, small voice that often whispers truth at times like this. Here's what I hope to take away from this experience:
  • An even greater appreciation for Barry, whose eye issues never left him after the car crash. Again I remembered 2 Corinthians 4:18: "The things that are visible are temporal (brief and fleeting), but the things that are invisible are deathless and everlasting" (AMPC).
  • An increased sensitivity to those who suffer illness alone, who can't drive themselves to pick up what they need, who don't have someone present to talk things through.
  • An awareness that perhaps my life should include a little more down time. It's been a hectic eighteen months since Barry passed away. Maybe I need to make time to finish a quilt, read more, and have friends in more often.
  • A renewed realization of the fragility of life. James 4:13-16 came to mind, especially verse 15: "If the Lord is willing, we shall live and do this or that." All it takes is pink eye or some other where-did-this-come-from ailment. Or rolling fog. Or any number of "unexpecteds," and we again realize God's sovereign control and our human frailty.
  • A sense of comfort, knowing that God regards me with compassion, and nothing - not even my contagious eyes - could separate me from His love and grace (Romans 8:38, 39).
The meds are doing their jobs well. I am much better and oh-so-grateful to be on the other end of this week. 

So, when you're on the downside of a let-down, remember to listen for the whispers from the God who cares about all that happens to us.



  1. I don't have conjunctivitis, but I do have a "thorn in my side" right now. The sciatica is keeping me in a quiet place. I can read for short times, finding beautiful encouragement in "In the Sanctuary of Women" by Jan L. Richardson. So thankful for the Lord's presence in times like these. Praising God even at painful times like this.

    1. Thank you, Vi . . . I guess any number of things can keep us in "a quiet place." Such a good reminder that we always can be grateful for God's presence. I'll be praying for you.

  2. Yes, this is wonderful encouragement, Sarah. Thanksgiving in these times is truly a sacrifice.

  3. Such a true reminder, Sarah. Thank you! In those unexpecteds and quiet moments we often realize most clearly that we are weak, but He is strong.