As laundry churns in the dryer, I have time to reflect on my day, week, and month. Although this marks the 5th week of the semester, yesterday was the first day I can say I’ve actually had time to sit at my desk and think about something other than what needs to be done next. I’m a planner to the core and therefore thrive on being busy and having a full schedule, especially when I know I’m helping people, but a reprieve from the hustle and bustle is sure nice every now and then.
School resuming also comes with stability and routine in other areas of my life, with some new additions. Knowing my friend Jaclyn was moving to California to begin seminary left a vacancy for our Sunday School class to have a teacher. I knew about her move for quite some time and had begun praying to see if the Lord would have me step into this position, which He has allowed me to do! Our young ladies group recently began studying Radical by David Platt, where we are being challenged to take Scripture at its core, apply it to our lives, and set aside our Christian comforts we so often think we “deserve.” I’ve also been dually challenged and encouraged by Scouting the Divine: My Search for God in Wine, Wool, and Wild Honey by Margaret Feinberg, which I finished last week. My two take-aways from many gems are as follows:
1.) The realization God plants seeds in the rocky areas of my life and brings forth fruit. It may not be as well-matured and beautiful, but He is able to use every area of my life for His glory.
2.) Even while wandering in the dessert, “God gave his people a taste of the better things that were to come” (p.142). Though the Israelites had not yet arrived in the Promised Land, God was still providing sweet nourishment along the way.
Other lessons God is teaching me:
1.) do I agree in knowing my sole purpose on this earth is to give Him glory?
2.) do I truly believe God answers prayer? My prayers?
3.) do I believe He can/will change the hearts of those who do not believe, for whom I long to trust Jesus as their Savior?
4.) living with a more generous spirit in how I spend time investing in the lives of others w/o strings attached // spending my money in wholesome ways w/o the worry of there not being enough.
And a constancy:
“I will cause my people and their homes around my holy hill to be a blessing. And I will send showers, showers of blessings, which will come just when they are needed.” ~ Ezekiel 34:26 (NLT)
Furthermore, my spirit has been encouraged and stimulated through a new community group I’ve joined. Most of our group are all from the same church, but some are not, and some are seeking. I am so excited to invest myself in these people as we learn more about each other; sharing in life’s struggles and joys. It’s our desire to bring others into the fold, engaging one another in spiritual discussions, loving on seekers with the love of Jesus, caring about them simply because they have value as people. The process of learning, relearning, discovering, embedding, believing scripture, and hearing God’s voice clearly brings a thrill to my soul.
Yesterday as I drove to work I noticed the side of a storage building had been spray painted with graffiti professing true love: Jesse loves Tamie. Immediately the Lord reminded me that His love for me is not proclaimed through a roadside attraction but on my very heart.
“But now, O Israel, the Lord who created you says:
‘Do not be afraid, for I have ransomed you. I have called
you by name; you are mine’.” ~ Isaiah 43:1 (NLT)
“This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel
after that time,” declares the LORD.
“I will put my law in their minds
and write it on their hearts.
I will be their God,
and they will be my people.” ~ Jeremiah 31:33 (NIV)
The way I view the Old Testament will forever be different because of a recent experience I am privileged to have had: attending a friend’s bat mitzvah.
Being invited to celebrate this milestone in Allison life, her entrance into young womanhood, was a thrill in and of itself, but experiencing a full Shabbat service with Hebrew readings from the scrolls of the Torah, listening to the Temple congregants sing in modal harmonies from the prayer book, and eating bagels and lox afterward was a once in a lifetime opportunity for this Christian girl.
Later that evening I attended a local Cherokee pow-wow with friends. My senses were once again assailed, this time with tribal cries, colorful costumes, and the smells of Indian tacos.
A bat mitzvah and a pow wow in one day? Amazing.
Another exciting re-development is that our community knitting group has restarted! Last Tuesday was our first time to meet in several months and I loved not only seeing my yarn friends, but seeing all their wonderful projects: dishcloths, baby blankets, slouchy hats, hand embroidery…all so unique, just like us. Over the weekend I paid a visit to the public library to pick up my requested copy of The Knitter’s Year: 52 Make-in-a-Week Projects-Quick Gifts and Seasonal Knits by Debbie Bliss and am pleased to have made 1 and ⅔ Christmas tree ornaments since then.
Three separate pieces, a quick sew up the back of each piece, stack them together, run thread through the tops of all three, and voila! Now to churn out at least a dozen more from my personal knitting factory between now and December…I think I can do it!
Other recent crafty and culinary feats:
Chocolate-espresso torte made for a dessert auction at church benefiting our mission team going to East Asia. This was the first time I’ve made a torte (flourless chocolate cake…oh so decadent) and look forward to making another where I can enjoy the spoils of my labor with friends. Maybe.
Courtesy of Emeril and Good Morning America, this butternut squash and apple soup recipe has quickly become one of my favorites and, yet again, did not disappoint.
With hints of fall in the air, the confidence of God’s leadership in all areas of my life, opportunities to be creative, and live in community with others, I am reminded of a new favorite scripture, “Be at rest once more, O my soul, for the Lord has been good to you.” ~ Psalm 116:7 (NIV)
Yes and amen.