I’ve been hosting this weekly study in my home every Wednesday morning for the last month and a half. This is a first for me and waaaaaaaaay out of my comfort zone. I stress about my house. I stress about my kids. I stress about the coffee. I stress. But every week the study meets. It meets despite my house not being the best decorated. It meets despite the dirt on the floor and the smudges on the door. Despite the books being piled up on the coffee table (I really did mean to put those away), despite the fact that I’ve never led a Bible Study before … really despite myself, basically, it meets. People come and even more profound, they come again.
We are studying Jennie Allen’s book, Restless, (http://www.jennieallen.com/books/restless) and with one week left, I can safely say that I highly recommend that you not only read this book, but that you grab a friend, a neighbor … anyone, and read this book together. It is not profound. It is not the greatest written work. But this book makes you think. Change that, this book makes you stop, pick up the shovel and dig.
This morning’s discussion was on Passions. As we talked, we found that it is important for us to be present in our lives, as well as in others. It is important to not just go through the motions, but to feel them, think about them … to notice them, wrestle with them … to truly be there. Jennie uses the life of Joseph to guide the readers in her book, which she refers to as her “project.” Joseph was always present. Joseph was always there. He was always doing his best and going the extra mile, so to speak, in whatever circumstance God placed Him. It took decades for God to reveal His plan to Joseph, and decades of losses for every little gain Joseph made. I couldn’t help but think back today of where I am right now. For the last two years I have been coming off of the biggest “survival stretch” that I’ve ever been on. Many of you are readers from my old blog. Many of you watched (via my words) me push through the hardest 15 months of my life. And many of you would probably say that I “encouraged” you or that I was “so strong” or even, deep breath, that I was “a great example.” The reality, however, is that I have never been in more of an autopilot role in my life. I had to. I wouldn’t have made it had I not. But the letting go of that … the turning off of the autopilot … the transitioning to living from simply surviving has been a daily fight. I started blogging again because this was my “home” during those months. This is where I was present most. This is where I need to be right now … for whatever reason, for however long. I love words, I love life … I love being forced to “say it,” to have to write it down and be accountable for it. Yikes, did I really just type that? Okay, we all make too many mistakes to actually love being held accountable … but I guess what I appreciate and what I need is the push to “show up” here. I do feel like I started something and in many ways I hit a bump in the road and then the road started getting really crowded with other drivers and some of them displayed a bit of road rage towards me and I just decided that my trip was over and I needed to go home. And all the while the there were people who kept looking out their window waiting for me to drive up, but I never arrived.
Life. We were not created to simply survive. No, God loves us too much. He had something different in mind when He created us. We were created to live for Him. Surviving is not living and surviving is not eternal. Surviving is hard, yet many times it is safer to just show up, than to truly “be there.” Well, I don’t want to just show up anymore. I want to be present … to live. I want to show my girls what it means to invest in the lives of others. I want to show them that somedays that’s a whole lot easier than others, but many times it’s the hard investments that yield the greater return.
I have held on to surviving far too long. And my heart, I’m sad to say, has become a little hard.
Watching Momma look up at me just hours before she died … too exhausted, too weak, too dehydrated to speak … I couldn’t help but wonder what her eyes were trying to tell me. And for once, this Southern girl who never seems to struggle with something to say, felt zero desire to even think, much less speak. All I could do was just brush her bangs over off of her face.
That moment taught me that life is so fleeting, so quick, so precious. I am thankful Momma gave me one last lesson of the value of life, by hanging on until I could get from Kansas to Alabama. Life … it’s not about our house, or our kids or us at all. It is about pointing others to Christ, and looking to Him ourselves.
Thankful for the girls who show up at my house each Wednesday at 8:30am. They are all amazing in different ways, and far exceed me in just about every area. But they come, and as a result force me to be present, too. They encourage me to live, and I am thankful.
disclosure: The bunny photo has nothing to do with this post, other than that it was cute and kinda crazy. I can’t help but wonder if bunnies off military installations are walked on leashes …