With the changing of the leaves and the dropping temperatures, a new season was arriving. I had a busy summer getting my children to work, soccer camp and the many other summer activities that our five teens and one ‘tween were involved in. I had expected rest and enjoyment, but instead spent even more time in the car than I do during the academic year.
At the end of the summer, I began a new season of life, caring for my elderly father. This was a change, which perhaps I should have been better prepared for, that caught me by almost complete surprise. I have always planned to honor my parents by caring for them when they would need me to, but hoped that season would wait until our children were raised and living on their own.
As has happened so many times, my expectations have had to be revised in order to follow God’s will during the trying times of life. Yesterday was filled with worry over my dad and hurt over words flung at me by one of my teens. At the end of September, I had to let go of an opportunity that would have been very fulfilling for me, in order to serve those in my life who need me to focus on them.
Truthfully, as fall set in I felt weary and tired of giving up my dreams to make everyone else’s life work better. But it is truly my calling, and so I ask God to adjust my attitude once more and give me contentment enough to serve as He wills.
On my own I cannot do this: focus on others by putting my own desires second. So, I began focusing on being content, by asking the Holy Spirit to help me. Still in this extremely busy season, I was struggling with finding time to recharge my own batteries and discouragement seemed my closest friend. I complained a lot!
My amazing husband, has learned well not to try to “fix” my problems, so he took another tack. He asked me how I was taking care of myself in this time. When I began to whine about not having time for this, he told me of a concept in one of C. S. Lewis’ books (If you know which one, please share it with me) about “pleasant inns.” He explained that the idea is that even when you are short on time, you can take a stop at one of those lovely, relaxing inns even in the midst of a busy family.
It’s been two months since I asked God to really work in my heart and I recently realized that He is answering my prayer, daily. Last week my fifteen year old and his friend put up our Christmas tree while singing carols. As I looked around my living room, the laughter, the warmth of the fire, praise rising past our rooftop, I knew this was one of those inns. And they’d been happening a lot lately, as the Spirit nudges me to look around myself. At dinner one night, the laughter rises over the aroma of tacos and my I find myself pondering joy.
I pray that you can find one of those places, even in the midst of this very busy season, to stop for a joy break here and there to let your praise rise to the One who makes our hearts to sing.