16 November 2009

This next season.

A new season is beginning.  A season not characterized by the state of leaves and limb but of questions of courage and faith.  As the final batches of leaves flutter down onto my now-dormant flower beds, I'm being stripped naked, too.  I have come to expect this seasonal stripping of self, and I am not fearful - I know it's what needs to happen.

You see, it's been so easy lately to hide in the shadow of others' stories rather than live my own.  About a month ago, my talented husband was given the opportunity to live his dream of becoming an organic personal chef to a family here in Dallas.  Wednesday evenings and Sunday afternoons are now filled with menu planning, cooking, and delivering gourmet meals.  I could not have been more excited for him - he has always loved working with food and cooking for people, and now a way to make it part of his job?  Perfect.  I jumped in right away, taking on new tasks like making desserts, cleaning dishes, and typing up the menus, and in the process worked myself into a nice little hole of not having a single day off to rest and breathe.

And then, a few weeks later, I hit a wall.   I started snapping at people.  I was exhausted.  And I started to feel like I was in prison.  One night as I was returning home from running errands on a rare evening by myself, I parked the car in the driveway and sat there for a few moments quietly, gazing at the full moon through my open moon roof.  The song "Dream" by Priscilla Ahn was playing, and a deep longing rose in my soul as I listened to these lyrics: "I had a dream that I could fly from the highest swing..."  All I could dream at that moment was freedom and escape.  How had my life become this busy and demanding?

Then, I had a realization.  I could still support and encourage my husband without adopting his dream as my own.  Besides, I was doing it all out of obligation and guilt rather than joy.  Yuck. I am not living truthfully at all by adopting someone else's dream.  I have a unique calling on my life to be a writer, artist, creative soul, a courageous and tender woman.  "She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come." {Proverbs 31:25}

So, something had to change.  I talked to my husband and took a huge step back.  And peace followed.

I've always thought it's such an interesting thing about marriage - we are on the same road walking in the same direction, but we each have our own individual stories.  We each retain our precious identities.  One of the greatest challenges is learning how to live out those unique stories while being one flesh together.

Have you ever read Abba's Child by Brennan Manning?  People have been telling me to read that book for a decade.   I am just now discovering its beauty and relevance in my life as I realize that of my almost 30 years as a believer in Christ, I still do not really know what it feels like to know I am God's beloved.

And that's what is really at the heart of this whole thing.

Yes, I know He loves me.   I know He is intimate with the details of my life and orchestrates all of my days.  But I want to know that He is not only intimate with the details of my life but with me.  I honestly don't know what that even means. How do I feel the sweetness of that love?  I know it starts with spending more time just being quiet with God.  His Beloved is already my identity.  If I don't feel it, then perhaps something is getting in the way.

I've spent a lot of time lately sitting in the quiet of my bedroom, eyes closed, book clutched to my chest, asking for God to tell me how He feels about me.  The words I receive back are all beautiful and encouraging.   He tells me to keep going, keep moving forward.  In my time of waiting, do not stall.  I have gifts to share, words to keep writing, truths to speak.  He tells me, "See, I am doing a new thing!  Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?  I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland."  {Isaiah 43:19}

So, step one was breaking ties with obligations that were not part of my unique calling.  Step two is living out who I am meant to be.  I don't know what is coming next, but I know it will be good, as are all things that come from Him.


Sophia said...

What a great open, and heartfelt post. Thank you for giving us a glimpse of another part of you.

linda said...

Oh Christine, what a lovely start to my morning. Why is it just so comforting to know there are others out there that have those moments sitting in your car, pausing on a walk, lying in bed when our soul just yearns for 'still' and to hear the voice of our Father. You are a wise woman to pause and reflect and contemplate what being his beloved means. I found that song and, oh my word, beyond lovely. I want to sing it. I think I need that CD. "Abba's Child" is an incredible book that we should all probably read again and again. Sending a prayer your way. Thank you for sharing your gifts. Okay, home-schooling awaits.

Christiana said...

Such beautiful thoughts and words stitched together. I'm so grateful you're making time and space for your own dreams - they're a gift, in every sense.

Hoping for much peace and inspiration headed your way in this precious, quiet, holiday season.

Tara said...

Such a lovely, transparent post and a beautiful photo. You are a true talent and your words challenge me every time.

jenni said...

Wow, I needed to read all of this today ~ your beautiful writing and those Scriptures. This really spoke to me, too, Stine. Thank you. I can't wait to see what God is calling you to do. :)

P.S. - Amazing photo!

jenni said...

I mean, can I buy a print of that photograph?? :)

The Morginskys said...

love every word. God is faithful to his children.

carol said...

What a beautiful post! I am a huge fan of Brennan Manning and all of his books. Have you ever read 'The Ragamuffin Gospel'? That one just blew me wide open.

Madi said...

The changing of seasons is exciting! Thanks for sharing your heart.

Lori said...

So often you put into words what I cannot; and even though we are (sadly) many miles away, my heart still connects with yours. I love you and miss you dearly, my friend.

Robyn Jones Clark said...

what a great post stine... thank you for always being honest and open about what the lord is teaching you... i am always learning.

A California girl... said...

Oooh Christine, this is so GOOD. Thank you. I need to shut things off, sit alone and listen. So hard to turn off my own head to hear the good message from our Father. I'm gonna keep your words in mind as I practice this week.

You are a treasure and I'm so blessed to know you. Your writings have encouraged me time and time again.

Thanks girl.