Dave Ferguson, who wrote Five Ways to Bless Your Neighbors, uses the word bless as an acronym.
Look too far ahead or behind, and we risk missing the joy intended for here and now. There’s a certain richness in today that may never be around again.
This may not be your favorite time of year or your favorite stage of life. You may be dreaming of your next season already. Remember to fight that urge. There’s a certain richness in today that may never be around again. A year from now the landscape of life may look very different. Choose to enjoy the little things. Choose to enjoy the loud times or even the sometimes too quiet times. ‘Tis the season … to appreciate where we are, just as we are.
– Joanna Gaines, The Magnolia Journal, page 24
As Sophie Hudson opened part three of her book, Giddy Up, Eunice, she pointed out what may be obvious: “Lois and Eunice are mentioned in Scripture for, like, a minute.”
I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well (2 Timothy 1:5).
She made two interesting points:
“Guide older women into lives of reverence so they end up as neither gossips nor drunks, but models of goodness. By looking at them, the younger women will know how to love their husbands and children, be virtuous and pure, keep a good house, be good wives. We don’t want anyone looking down on God’s Message because of their behavior” (Titus 2:3-5 | MSG).
On days when I feel anxious about my future, I go to God’s word. Two passages that author Lysa TerKeurst highlighted in Uninvited have been especially helpful reminders to me of how God loves his children.
The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing (Zephaniah 3:17 ESV).
… God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved … (Colossians 3:12 NIV).
When I “live loved,” my worry or fear is replaced with assurance and confidence in God and the sufficientcy of his grace for each moment.
I came upon this glorious yellow iris while walking in my neighborhood park. What a treat to see a spring flower blooming during October!
This reblooming flower variety made me think that midlife feels a bit like this iris; we can experience a second — different — growth before winter.
I spent the early part of my life preparing for and then growing into a career, family, community, and faith. I saw much of that grow and bloom.
Now I’m in a new phase of growth that’s beginning to blossom.
This listing of opportunities for change and growth makes this season of life sound so easy.
It hasn’t been.
Hardships include watching my dad’s life and health change dramatically, and then being with him when he passed away. I felt like I had the wind kicked out of me and couldn’t suck in air for nearly five years.
Releasing my children to make their way in the world has been difficult: I sobbed when they moved off to college. I prayed for them. Worried over them. And hovered over them too much.
Selling my favorite house where we raised our children brought many tears.
And there have been a few twists in the road after returning to work.
I see my friends navigating their own changes, too. Each story is unique.
And I look forward to the beautiful bouquet we will all be when we bloom again.
I have always loved two of Jean-Francois Millet’s paintings: The Angelus (above) and The Gleaners (shared here). Perhaps my rural roots draw me to these portraits of people working the land. Also, I have always associated these paintings with the story of Ruth — she worked as a gleaner and later Boaz noticed her working in his field.
The Angelus depicts a couple pausing to pray during their potato harvest as the church bells ring from the steeple painted in the background.
This scene reminded me of author Lysa TerKeurst’s advice in chapter fifteen of Uninvited: When we pray “Thy will be done,” we trust God to redeem the pain and guide us to the help we need.
Today I listened to a rebroadcast of journalist David Brooks addressing the Aspen Ideas Festival. His thoughts fit so well into what I’m reading, so I thought you might enjoy listening to him as well.
In her book Giddy Up, Eunice, author Sophie Hudson describes the story of two widows, Naomi and Ruth, as an account of seemingly unimportant people during insignificant times.1 Yet, these women’s lives were a necessary part of God’s plan for a savior: Ruth is an ancestor of King David (Ruth 4:22) and counted in the genealogy of Jesus (Matthew 1:1-17).