Time is not our enemy, nor is it a hostile place
from which we must flee.
It is a meeting place, a point of rendezvous with God.
Dorothy Bass, Receiving the Day
There are a couple times each year when I pause and take a closer look at my life. I always find time between Christmas and New Year's Day, when it seems all the world is slumbering. At least the parts of the world that celebrate Christmas.
The second season of time to reflect is my birthday week. It is not quite as easy to set aside long periods of time for reflection but I manage to get an hour here and there, made easier by the fact this is the hottest time of the year where I live.
This year the humidity seems worse than usual and I quite enjoy, when the household duties have been accomplished, to sit in the Study with the AC going and... ponder. Even for a few minutes. Especially after the day's last load of dishes have been washed and the kitchen is clean.
There are two things I think about in July... where I have been and what I need to tweak here and there. It is important for me to cling to the Ancient Ways in a world where they don't mean as much as they once did. It would be easy to go along with the flow and think such Biblical foundations are no longer practical or necessary.
It is always easier to step into a floating tube and let the current take one down the rapids than to swim up stream. Especially when most of the people are going the other way. The changes are all around us. If we don't make the decision to stand firm in God's Word, we will find ourselves slipping on the wet rocks of the river's flow and we may stumble.
I'm not talking about looking back with either regrets or longing. Whenever I think of something I wish I hadn't said or done, always I hear the Still Small Voice ask me if I learned anything from the experience. Then He reminds me it has been forgiven already. While He provides holiness as a goal, He also knows we are made of dust.
It is not God who brings our failures and stumblings back to our mind... it is the enemy of our soul.
I may look through some photos and remember fun times together and cry a little over who is no longer with me. Whether it is my mom or Victoria, there is a vacuum where each soul had a part of my life that cannot be replaced by anything or anyone. Except God.
As for looking forward... I ask God what I am to accomplish and what needs to change and what needs to be added and what needs to be taken away. These days it is usually a lot of tweaking instead of major changes.
A few years ago I thought about giving up blogging. I wanted more time each week to read books just for enjoyment. However, when I prayed about it during a time of reflection... no was the answer. Instead I received wisdom that giving up the regular mid-week blog post would provide the free time I needed. I hadn't thought of just cutting back. So for awhile now, the mid-week posts are mainly book reviews and only once in awhile is there an additional post added. I can do that.
This year I feel the need to read more authors whose books may expand my theology teaching. Not people who teach heresy, of course. I don't need anything to defile my walk with Christ, not on purpose! Instead let's say... out of my little corner of the theological world. The Body of Christ is wide and deep and wonderful and I'm sure there are plenty of writers who are orthodox while bringing something new to the table. Even if we do not agree on every jot and tittle. I'm sure as I stretch my reading, I'll share about it here.
During this week, I'll think about little ways to get out of my daily rut even without traveling to another land. I want to try a couple new spices (this is how I discovered I loved sumac), read some new cookbooks, and prepare for when the temperatures cool down and I like to be in the kitchen again.
I'm using this month's Amazon credit to buy myself a new cookbook for my birthday. I definitely do not need one but a highly readable cookbook is as much fun to me as a bestselling novel. Anything that can bring joy and relaxation without adding calories (since we are only looking and not nibbling on chocolate) is a good thing.
My birthday reflections tend to be less serious than the week long late December time with God. Probably because the days are still long and hot and not prone to bringing on deep reflection. Let's face it, that is why beach reads are usually quite light in tone... even if we are across the road from a barn and not a beach.
It's still good to stop and think and find where I am on the journey. Is the road still heading True North? Have I let my theology slip or gotten into some bad habits. Like ummm... buying potato chips too often. Who me? Brushing the salt off with a quick swipe.
Earlier today, I made a small pot of Paris tea and started reading a book that has been waiting on a shelf. The kind of book that can be perused off and on and not necessarily read cover to cover. I have a couple old friends to reread soon and that cookbook I plan to order.
My birthday is later this week and Hubby and I will have lunch out somewhere. I'm not sure where but nothing expensive. Stephanie did such a remarkable job taking us out to family favorite restaurants when they were here that I already feel spoiled.
So I will thank God for one more year and leave the rest to Him. Not going to worry about the tomorrows. Today is enough.
Photo: The deck quite a few years ago during a morning quiet time.