Yes, this is my hardest work, but it yields the greatest return. And so I do the hard things. And there is joy unspeakable.
Some days down right stink. Some don't work. at. all. Some days I forget so easily about being intentional, forget about hunting for His joy dares. some days my soul is just tired. Some days theirs are. Some days my physical body cannot perform the intentionality my soul is ready for.
You see, some days being intentional actually means laying to-do's at rest. Let us eat those last bit of odd pantry and fridge items that don't go with anything when I'm just too tired to go to the grocery today. It teaches them and you of gratefulness and creativity. Let us call "teacher 'work' days" from homeschooling and watch their confusion as you pack a picnic lunch and their glee when you stay at "the awesome park" all day long. It teaches them and you to always make time for play. Let us put our feet up once in a blue moon and eat pop corn all day long because they laugh so hard as the hot air popper blasts strays away from the bowl and they dash to collect them. It teaches them and you to make time for needed rest.
Oh, but don't you yet still see it? The intentionality and commitment even in that?
I desire to be more intentional with their hearts than a to-do list, and especially during a to-do list, may I not lose sight of purpose. Because you know, things must get done. Intentionality and commitment; washing the same dishes every day, the same laundry every week, teaching them of school and of life constantly, answering never-ending questions. And it teaches them sacrificial love, diligence, discipline. And you.
Four years of change so far, but it's been this year that's changed me most. These last almost eight months of continuing to live since Jane didn't.
There has been so much more hunger for the Lord's presence, so much desperation to simply sit inside His heart, some days just to keep breathing. There is a new tenderness I feel in me, a good tender. No longer a fresh wound kind of tender, but a kind of humility to my core as I recognize more and more of my need for Him and I learn to rest firmly and rejoicingly in faith that is only found whole in Him. Still there's more to this new reality I muddle down to an inadequate word: tender. There's a quiet surety, a kind of firm strength I didn't have before, meekness. And I know I want to grow in it all my life.
I am not glad for her death or this never-ending but always-changing grief journey just because there has been good change. God is transcendent in faithfulness. He would have been faithful to grow me out of intimacy with Him without my children dying. Yet because He is faithful without waver, He never wastes a moment to work His love into all our hidden rooms of soul and open doors within us we didn't even know were there, let alone capable of walking into. I believe I have changed and grown in Him per His plan all the while. But sometimes how we respond to circumstance speeds it along. ;-) He did not cause it for my growth, but is always, always, always faithful to carry us through when we fall on Him.
I am exceedingly grateful for how I have been irrevocably changed since Jane's death this year, for the change that got me on this road when Caleb died eight years ago, and the four years after that when I realized it.
Carly Marie asked of today what do we want to become. I want to become...more. More growth from more of His presence, more faith from more rest in the hard things, more love from more seeing husband and children, friends and strangers through His eyes, more intercession on their behalf, and more worship. Always more worship. :-)