Collecting bits of normal

Confession:  I had a bit of a melt-down this past weekend.  In the wake of yet another new medical wrinkle and another set of challenges for the two of us I came unglued.  My husband and I were reviewing the events of the past several months and talking about some of the hurdles we still have to cross and I just lost it.

“This is NOT my life!” I cried.  “This is NOT my life—and I am tired of it!  I want MY life back!”

It seems more than a little bit silly now that I see that written out on the screen, but there was absolutely NO humor in it at the time.

Obviously, this IS my life right now:  complete with significant stressors and serious health issues for people I love, difficult business decisions to be made and…in the midst of all the tired and the hurt and the frustration, God…showing up with His still small voice and His miracles both large and small and every other size even remotely conceivable.  This IS my life right now.

So, what did I mean by those statements?  The name of this blog may help shed some light on that.  Quiet ambitions.  I chose that title based on the life goals I’ve taken from 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12 in which the Apostle Paul urges:

“…that you aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you, that you may walk properly toward those who are outside, and that you may lack nothing.”

These verses inspire me to live a life of quality over quantity, to choose simplicity over the complicated, to use my strengths to build instead of spend and to seek to bless those around me instead of seeking the limelight for myself.  It is about choosing a life of deliberate pace and determination to reach for goals that have nothing to do with the chaos of perpetual drama.  It is about understanding that growing in grace and in fellowship with God is more important than becoming…well, anything else.

This isn’t about having an excuse not to try or to be excellent in any task I’m assigned.  On the contrary.  These verses challenge me to become excellent at life…no matter what that entails or what God sends my way.  It is my own personal challenge to seek out the beautiful and the overlooked in the midst of the mundane and the tedious…to realize that the opportunity to become is often a bigger challenge than the one that exists after you supposedly “get there.”

Obviously, I still haven’t arrived there yet.  I’ve still got a ways to go.  Along the way–for a time on Friday–I took a detour and I rebelled for a bit against the stress and the strain of recent days.  My cried out words were all about wishing for things that simply haven’t been possible for a while.

As crazy as it might sound, it was a cry to return to my regularly scheduled programming that lets me be able to do laundry and run a vacuum cleaner, cook a healthy meal or to pet a cat longer than on my way out the door.  Yep.  Wild and crazy stuff like that! (grin)

In His grace, God heard my frustrated cries and I was gifted—yes, gifted, I tell you!—with about six hours at home Saturday morning all by myself.  I put on some instrumental praise music…followed by some Tony Bennett, Ray Charles and a little James Taylor and it was ALL praise to my heart!  I opened up doors and windows and I turned up the volume and I changed sheets, cleaned bathrooms and did laundry, dusted and vacuumed, ate a healthy breakfast and sat in my chair covered up in purring cats while I re-read Psalm 103…and absolutely reveled in every single moment.

On Sunday morning, I entered our church sanctuary and I worshiped a God who revealed the very Psalm I had been reading and the songs I had been singing to the rest of the congregation and I exulted in the way He had prepared my heart for worship even in the midst of such chaos earlier in the week.

On Sunday evening, I led a Bible study about choosing to be thankful in the midst of difficult times and circumstances and I could say what I said and be real about it because this IS my life right now. Afterward, our home was filled with the aroma of a healthy meal and the laughter of friends and a piece of my heart landed back in it’s proper place.

Monday morning was friendship and sharing over another healthy breakfast and then a call to come and see my middle nephew as he participated in a school project.  I couldn’t wait to get there.  I love that kid—along with the other two!—and it was another gift of grace…another bit of ‘normal’ to be collected and savored and stored against the days that are already scheduled for us.

So, that’s what I’ve really been doing over this past weekend.  I’ve been collecting bits of normal to sustain my soul during what I’m told may be my “new normal” for a bit.  I’ve been storing up the scents of Spring and the sounds of wind chimes, seeing the faces of loved ones and using God’s word to put things in perspective again, singing praise songs and just being.  I’ve been working to achieve my quiet ambitions…and that’s all about finding God in the midst of whatever ‘normal’ He sends my way.

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