"Oh, then, spiritual soul, when you see your appetites darkened, your inclinations dry and constrained, your faculties incapacitated for any interior exercise, do not be afflicted; think of this as a Grace, since God is freeing you from yourself and taking from you your own activity."
St. John of the Cross
I am entering Year Two of gratitude counting. I guess specifically, of writing graces down in a numbered format. I say this because I've been counting grace for the whole of my life ~ and Grace has always had the sweetest smile.
My earliest memories were of being awake.
Being awake on a swing-set in the hot, sun-baked yard of Texas summertime,
a four-year old lost to this world and happy to be swinging and singing for hours with my best friend ~ Jesus.
My mom says she used to be afraid I wasn't long for this world, what with that friendship I knew and no Sunday School or church or family devotional time helping me create this image I could see so clearly. Him.
There was no slumbering then.
I've since slumbered through years, off and on, discovering as of late that some of those times of quiet desperation,
not feeling Him,
not seeing Him,
but always knowing He was there,
those times Saints before have called Dark Nights of the Soul.
"When God lovingly draws us into a dark night of the soul, there is often a temptation to seek release from it and to blame everyone and everything for our inner dullness. The preacher is such a bore. The hymn singing is too weak. The worship service is so dull.
Recognize the dark night for what it is. Be grateful that God is lovingly drawing you away from every distraction so that you can see him clearly. Rather than chafing and fighting, become still and wait.
Who among you fears the LORD
and obeys the voice of his servant,
who walks in darkness
and has no light,
yet trusts in the name of the LORD
and relies upon his God? (Isa. 50:10)
The Spiritual Disciplines are things that we do. We must never lose sight of this fact."
from "Celebration of Discipline" by Richard Foster
I have fully awakened from my slumber. It has been a slow rising to consciousness, these last 18 months. And from a deep, quiet place of two years before that ~
two years of waiting for sun-baked backyard swinging.
Oh how I love to be completely unencumbered in His presence!
I'm grateful that God lovingly drew our family to this new lifestyle of homeschooling and then moved us far and away from anything or anyone we could seek to release us from what He was doing, our hearts held firmly in His grip.
"Wake on up from your slumber," Favored One. It's time to swing high!
and counting on with Grace...
803. blue pj's on Sam, that used to slide off Ben's frame before they could no longer stretch his frame to cover his ankles ~ stretching a bit now to cover Sam's. How they grow.
804. old curtains hung new on each set of windows in each new house we claim as home.
805. eyes to see, ears to hear, and hands to marvel at the love He has placed into them.
806. a swing set, hot sunshine, and made-up songs of praise that set the shape of my heart solid as a wee one.
807. being yoked with a man that walks neither ahead, nor behind, but steadily paces me, that we wear the yoke with ease and face towards the Son united.
808. children ~ beautiful children. Aren't they all?
809. my Thomas, who leaves for Basic training and a life of manhood in 14 days.
810. "yet I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day." 2 Ti 1:12
811. that He guards my dreams, my hopes, my circled miracles
812. that He moved us to slow-paced, Rodenbach, Germany, with church bells, and walking paths, quiet hours, woods, creeks, and simplicity.
813. here I have been moved from loneliness to solitude, and what a difference that is.
814. that He will answer my prayers for koinonia ~ for fellowship in the body of believers, and worship, oh sweet worship together.
815. that we have worshiped and prayed and taught and been taught here as we have experienced church at home.
816. five more months, being tucked as a family together in this quiet Germany cocoon.
817. the knowledge that to emerge from the cocoon, once more it will take much effort.
818. that for the first time, leaving a place will not require pulling up roots ~ the roots grown deep here are in our family.
819. Solitude: "the more solitary I am the more affection I have for them...solitude and silence teach me to love my brothers for what they are, not for what they say." Thomas Merton
820. that there is a community to count grace and share grace with, and that we are all accountable for encouragement. Amen, Favored One, and Amen.