Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Bountiful Dealings

The past few weeks since my last post have been busy in some ways, and rather relaxing in others.  Jim and Erin went away to camp in Virginia while Isaac and I stayed home and found ways to enjoy our time together in spite of the heat wave that practically annihilated any outdoor activities.  Once our adventurers returned home we had a pleasant week together, all four of us, for the first time all summer.  Wineberries have been jammed and peaches have been deliciously preserved.  Books have been read and movies have been viewed.  A good time has been had by all.

I've been trying to stay consistent with running, though it's needed to be earlier and earlier in the mornings.  There have been many runs with Janet and her friends who are training together for a Disney Princess half-marathon in February, and since most of these ladies are new to running they're taking it very easy.  Though they need to meet later in the morning than I would prefer, the trail they run is entirely shaded and beautiful.  Since I learned that the half-marathon for which I registered is hilly, I've mapped out another route around home that will give me more training for that sort of terrain.  Hills plus humidity are a most difficult, but not entirely impossible, combination.

There has finally been rain on several occasions, so we have been able to go a couple of weeks without dragging the sprinkler all over the yard.  The grass is returning to life and we've been able to withstand several intervals of sustained yard work, getting the flower beds weeded, the stone steps weeded, and the vinca beds weeded...  After the Apocalypse, our planet will belong to the weeds- they'll withstand anything and keep coming on strong.

God has been so gracious to give us a somewhat calm Summer.  Jim was able to finish the final work for his Master's Degree only moments before leaving for camp with Erin.  He was therefore able to fully enjoy the trip without homework hanging over him like a cloud.  There have been some hopeful signs in his search for employment, though nothing which I can yet share at this time.

The graciousness of the Lord has primarily been in the lesson, slowly learned, that we rely on Him each day for our needs, not merely when there's a potential job lead in the pipeline.  While employment is a good and needful thing, with or without it we must depend daily upon God and the riches made available to us in Christ.  The ultimate expression of His goodness was shown to us 2000 years ago on a cross outside the walls of Jerusalem, and nothing can take that away from us.  Mere unemployment is a small trial in the annals of Christian perseverance, and yet for us it has been a means by which God has carried us through many valleys of shadows and tears, until even in the darkness we have learned to feel the firm grip of His hand on our lives and discern His loving face.

So, as I re-read what I've written here and try to reconcile the beginning of the post with the end, I realize that the calmness and relaxation have undoubtedly been a product of God's mercy.  Trusting Him, not in inactivity, but in the normal means of job-seeking, without the frantic undertones which we have experienced in the past, has been a clear evidence of the working of the Holy Spirit in our hearts and minds.

"Gracious is the LORD, and 
our God is merciful.
The LORD preserves the simple;
when I was brought low, He 
saved me.
Return, O my soul, to your rest;
for the LORD has dealt
bountifully with you."
-Psalm 116:5-7

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