|Peter Adams, Sunrise over Cat Mountain|
The most joyful and comforting and inspiring project of this young year has been Blogging Through the Bible.
For one, given that I am also a mum, and a writer, and a pet-owner, and an owner of a publishing company which solely supports our family, and a middle-aged woman who needs to exercise to preserve what strength I have, I have accepted it will not be as good as if I had Thomas Merton’s life, let’s say, and lived in a shed in the wilds of Kentucky, with endless hours of silence and leisure stretching in front of me.
And I don’t want to trade. I have won fellowships to artists’ colonies in America, where my breakfasts and lunch were brought to my studio and my dinner cooked, and all I had to do was read and write and think, and by the end of two weeks, I could not wait to return to my old tumble-drier of a life.
(And is liberating for me to release work that is not my very best. Because if every thing we did was our very best work, we would do very little. It is a daily exercise in humility!!)
But I do have enough of silence and solitude for my head to become an echo-chamber for the phrases and ideas I pick up in my reading.
The people walking in darkness have seen a great light. Mt. 4.
Imagine that. Walking in darkness, then seeing a great light.
And that is Christ.
When I first became a Christian, I had difficult years when I had to accept by faith that I was a new creation, because I was still struggling so much with sin. I had a dreadful temper, for instance. And so did Roy. For years, we found each other impossible to live with. Fortunately, we also found each other impossible to live without, and so, we are together 21 years later, much milder, much sweeter, and–who would have imagined it? almost miraculously–happy.
During those years, I would not support evangelistic missionaries financially. We happily tithed right for the first 15 or so years of our marriage (a practice we are no longer as good at) but to World Vision, Compassion and Samaritan’s Purse and the Heifer Project. I felt I needed to see faith transform me and the way I lived my daily life before I would financially support preachers rather than those involved in social action.
Re-reading Matthew this month, I realized that yes, faith has changed me and my life.
Jesus is a great light to me.
I jotted down a list in any old order.
1. Guidance. Specific direction on what to do.
2. An assurance of spiritual protection when I am following directions.
3 Comfort in depression
4 Comfort from his word.
5 The waterfall of intense grace and joy which he can pour into my anxious fragmented spirit. His offer, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink.”
6 The quite literal lifting of fear when I turn to him.
7 The sense that he loves me. That he is sometimes amused by me. That he accepts me as I am. That I make him smile.
8 I know my life is in his hands, and he can work out all things for good.
9 When sad, unjust, unfair things happen, in times of reverses or financial loss, I know my affairs are in his hands, and he can bring good out of these things.
10 I can trust my children and husband into his hands. And their futures. And my future. And old age.
11 I can trust my health, and my safety and my house when I travel into his hands.
12 He gives me ideas when I have none.
13 Oh, there is so much wisdom in his words. He teaches me how to do life.
14 I can talk to him during sleepless nights. And he talks right back. In fact, that’s when he’s most loquacious.
15 Talking to him calms me down when I am agitated.
16 I love him, and that brings much light into my life.
He tells me to stop blogging and go to sleep when it is nearly midnight, and I am rambling, and waxing over-lyrical.