Dear friends, I’m so glad to see you here again. Really, I’ve missed you.
When I took that little blogging break, I intended to rest and rejuvenate so that I’d have something to pour out again. To my family, my friends, this blog, life.
I’ve been worn out, and there’s no getting around the fact that this life demands so much of us, in all kinds of ways.
(I was so laid flat by the bedtime routine the other night that my eyes kept rolling back into my head. I felt them going and could not make them stop. Our laundry room hamper holds some hand washables that have lived there since before the turn of the the decade. I struggle to parent and love well. I am simultaneously elated for and afraid of summer vacation. I don’t know the last time I sewed a popped-off button.)
While I have purposed this last week and a half to be still and know that God is God…
While I’ve had some sweet moments in quiet without the tapping of keyboard keys to reflect and pray…
While I have seen tender goodness in the faces, words and arms of family and friends…
Though in a few choice moments I stopped when I might normally keep going…
I have learned again how difficult it can be for me to receive filling. I have learned again how I can’t white-knuckle myself to receive the love, grace and peace that is.
For the very posture of receiving is hands open, isn’t it?
I imagine that when I am filled — really, really filled — then I will have something good to give from the overflow. Though this is true in ways, the giving and receiving of our lives and hearts cannot be managed and controlled, no matter how hard I try to keep accounts. Truth be told, it’s usually when I think I’m good and filled up and have something really special to pour out that I spill all over the place anyway. (Maybe it’s the thinking I’m all good and filled up that’s the problem?)
And though we need breaks to fill, need to ask ourselves questions about priorities and why we do what we do and what is ours to give and what needs to remain undone, I can’t forget the mystery of grace in all this.
Giving and receiving, being blessed and blessing others are not intake and output to be measured, nor ledgers to balance. This matter of blessing is mysterious and uncontainable like air, difficult to grasp like water and sand through fingers.
Most of us can recall the joyous blessedness in blessing another — in the very act of being poured out. Most of us know times we felt unable to appreciate that which was poured in, try as we might to receive it. We’ve known well the joys that fill and make demands at once.
So while our days are for pouring out, we must not forget the blessedness in slowing to remember we are blessed.
We are loved.
We are held.
We are known.
In spite of ugly behavior, frenetic activity, confusion, laziness, apathy, missteps and mistakes. Not only in spite of our weakness — but right in the middle of it is this grace.
This grace lives in the depletion and in the filled. This is the blessing.
I am held not because I have done enough to deserve the holding, but because I am called by name, loved by the Maker of my spirit, soul and body — the one who chooses to hold me and stay with me.
My Maker doesn’t love me for what I wash, what I write, what I sort, what I sew, what I say.
He loves me. Empty or filled, loves me.
These blessings in and blessings out — they are part of the river, and the river winds and wends, wraps around rocks and over snags. New trickles join in with the flow. Sometimes it rushes, sometimes calms to still, but still it is the river. And we can’t hold, can’t tame the river.
All of us, we journey in little rafts, and we paddle so hard. Then sometimes we’ve just got to throw the oars to the bottom of the boat, cast ourselves over the sides and let go.
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Ashley I do love this river imagery, this flow of our lives that can’t be tamed nor its pace and movements minutely predicted. And i love too this picture of a time when we let loose our oars, release and surrender to the current and be carried along. You’re so right about this notion we (many of us) have, that we can balance our lives like a set of bookkeepers logs, debits and credits, income and expenses. Life (thank God!) is so much more mysterious than that! I’m so happy you’re back to writing here – I’ve missed coming here! – now please give me that pile of hand-washing and those shirts missing buttons! xoxo!
Ha! Yes, thank God we are freed from trying to contain it, right? And that includes that pickin’ laundry pile! Feels good to be writing again!
Welcome back- I’ve really missed reading your unique slant on life’s delights and travails! Don’t fret the, “Hand washable piles” life presents, we all go through that. But I really think it does all of us good to read that we’re not the only one, thanks.
Thank you, Don! And so glad I’m not alone. :)
You are a blessing to all who read your blog, and a specially to all your family. I feel your love flow out through your wonderful analogies. Thank you for filling my heart to the brim!
Thank you, Auntie. You fill me up, too, so so often. Thank you for being free with your blessings and the blessing of you! :)
Ashley, so lovely to have your words to read, your insights into this life, but most importantly your encouragement that points us to our Maker!
love you girl….your words are a gift!
Thank you, my friend, for helping me to remember what this (writing) life is all about. I love you.
Oh I’ve missed your insightful words Ash, but am thankful you took that break! Life is so very very full at times! Love you!
Thanks, Becca. The break was needed, and it feels good to be back. Now be gentle to yourself in the midst of the crazy. Love you.
we are confronted with so many choices & so many ways of prioritizing those choices. thank you for stirring the pot & raising the questions. who knows when I’ll sew the rip under the arm of a favorite pink shirt, but I do like examining what it is I’m really waiting for. a phone app, perhaps? :)
regardless, I think your post is a fine choice.
Thanks, Carolyn. Does feel good to ask the questions. I love it –a seam-ripping app!
So glad you are back missed you and your heart warming messages.
Thank you, Mom. :)
So glad that you are back. Your messages are needed. You touch all of us.
Thanks for your encouragement, Papa!
Missed my “draw near devotions”.