It has been several weeks since I last wrote. Life here on our mountain has been very busy. Unlike the summer months when the frenzy of activity centered mostly around home and putting up all the produce of our garden, fall frenzy involved lots of car-pooling. Overall, it is still exhausting, albeit a different kind of exhausting.
Much of the frenzy of the last month has centered on various performances. Dee had a concert for the community choir of which she is a part. This time around she was old enough to join the adult choir, and she really reveled in being able to sing such glorious and complicated harmonies. We had the week of extra practices and the performance during the first week of November.
Meanwhile, Dee, Star Child and Gladys Mae were winding down the practicing for the homeschool drama production of Robin Hood. Star Child had the biggest role playing Lady Merle, the evil widowed cousin to Prince John. If you remember the story, King Richard had left the kingdom under the care of his rascally brother Prince John while he went off crusading. Star Child played the part of his wicked cousin with great enthusiasm. She has what they call stage presence. Dee and Gladys Mae also performed well as members of Robin’s merry band of forest people. They all did a great job. And I am thankful to be through the week of extra practices followed by the week of performances. As much fun as it is to be in drama and choir, it takes time to go back and forth to practices. It also takes a little time to make costumes. My sewing machine got a little work this month. I am thankful to have Tuesdays to ourselves again!
And speaking of things for which I am thankful, I want to say how grateful I am that this year has been such and improvement over last year! Even with the loss of the Handy Man’s job, overall 2011 has been pretty good. I look back over the past year, and I do see bumps on the radar, things that were stressful, but compared to the year before when my journey to healing really began, and when my emotions were so raw and ragged, I am thankful for an easier year. That is a strange thing to say in a year when so much happened, isn’t it? I think a large part of my outlook has to do with learning to walk in God’s grace.
You see, the more I see my incredible need for Jesus, the more I see how inadequate I am to be my own savior, the more I see how much God has given grace to me. Amazing grace it is! I am learning who I really am and what I really like. God’s grace enables me to give my children and husband grace, to see how my selfish attitudes affect not only me but those around me. I am so very grateful to be learning how to walk a life of grace. Not that I have it all figured out. Actually, the reverse is true. The more I realize that I don’t have it all figured out, the more I realize His grace is really sufficient for me.
Perhaps an example from this week would help you to see what I mean.
Tuesday evening we had the last performance of the girls’ play. Some family came to have dinner with us and to celebrate our oldest daughter’s birthday (I need to name her, so let’s call her Lindy.) And of course everyone went to the show. Well, everyone except the Handy Man and Curious George. Curious George would never be able to make it through a two hour performance! I digress.
One of our family members handed me a check, I thought to cover their admission to the play. I had a little heart attack when I saw that the amount he had given me was far, far more than the cost of tickets. When I protested, he replied, “I know you want to go shopping Friday. Now you can.” How little did I know that I would indeed need that gift!
Wednesday morning I woke up and could not find my glasses. They were gone. I was looking everywhere I thought they might be, which was kind of comical because I am really blind without them. Star Child eventually found them. On the living room floor. In pieces. It seems Curious George
stole and destroyed found my glasses and tried to put them on. Or something. Whatever he meant to do, the end result was a terribly warped frame missing the ear pieces. I had a moment of rage and then realized that Curious George is two. (Because, yes, this month we actually celebrated two birthdays, and Curious George is now 2 years old.) So I calmed down and had someone find the phone book. A call to the eye doctor’s office resulted in a small miracle. They had my lenses in stock and could set me up with a new pair of glasses with frames off the bargain rack for $75. Now, one of the inconvenient things about not being employed is that cash flow is severely limited. However, I had a check for an amount more than enough to cover new glasses.
So there was grace given in abundance. God provided for a need that I did not even know I had. He answered even before I asked, just as His Word promises He will.
But this example of grace doesn’t end there. You see picking out glasses is always a bit of a challenge for me. Always I have the dilemma of what frames I should get. Which frames say, “this is me.”? And always I go with what other people say looks good on me, even if perhaps I am not sure if they are me. And always I try to pick something conservative and understated, for drawing attention to my face is not something I have sought to do in the past. But Wednesday was different. As Dee and I stood there looking at frames, I realized that I actually had an idea of what I liked, but I also had the vague idea of what I thought I *should* like.
It is a subtle thing to know the difference between what you actually like and what you think you should like. And as I get more and more free to be me, as I shed the legalisms and fears about whether I am acceptable, as I ditch the notions that I have to measure up to some invisible yard stick, I am discovering what I really like–colors, styles, etc. And one thing I am realizing is that I like bold colors. I like the idea of being ME in way that everyone around me might know that I am ME. And then Dee summed it up. As I held up the more conservative frames, Dee said, “Momma, that is who you were.” Then grabbing the other pair from my hands, the ones about which I was debating if I could actually be so bold to wear, she said, “These are who you are now.”
God’s grace. My daughter recognizing that there has been a shift in her mom. It was a reassurance that all the pain and hurt and raw emotion through which I have worked during the last year have not gone unnoticed by my daughter. And that gives me hope that maybe she is learning the healthy way to deal with things, that she will walk a path not strewn with as much turmoil and pain as her mother has walked. (Oh, I know she will have her own issues and her own turmoil. It is part of what God will use to refine her as He has refined me. And that is good.) God’s amazing grace to reassure me, to show me how He is working to break generational sins and curses, is more than enough for my needs and even my wants.
I walked out of the doctor’s office with purple glasses.
Here is a self-portrait of me yesterday. (I was playing with my new camera trying to figure it out. Not a great photo, but you can see my new glasses!)