Only Temporary

 

Todd, age 4, playing in the snow outside our basement home, winter 1980-81

I have learned to get along happily whether I have much or little. – Philippians 4:11 NLT

Thirty-nine years ago, we moved into an unfinished basement fifteen miles from town, hoping to save rent money as we built our house ourselves. I was a stay-at-home mom, so money was scarce with just my husband’s income—and even that was sometimes only a hundred dollars a week.

The children were still toddlers—Todd was four, and Jaime was 11 months—and boxes, clothes and toys cluttered every square foot as I struggled to make that concrete cubicle a home. The furnace, on loan from my husband’s boss until we could afford a new one (which ended up being 25 years later), needed repair. It was already mid-November, and winter was closing in fast. A constant fire in the woodstove did little to warm up the concrete surrounding us. Insulating the place was still on our to-do list. I wore long underwear, a toboggan hat and layers of clothing indoors.

The plumbing was unfinished, so we hooked up a garden hose to the water tank and fed it through the hole in the wall above the tub meant for the fixtures. Lugging pots of hot water from the kitchen, I’d flooded the floor twice getting the kids’ bath ready.

My back ached from sleeping on an old, lump sofa bed mattress so thin I could feel the support bars. Our comfortable queen-size bed was still in the wagon shed, where we temporarily stored items while we unpacked and organized.

Three days or disorganization, interruptions and things gone wrong left perfectionist me struggling with my emotions. Why can’t I have nice things, the easy way, like everyone else? I wondered. Why am I always a “have not” and never a “have”?

Although I tried not to complain (too much), my husband knew I was struggling and tried to cheer me up. “It’s only temporary,” he’d say when my impatience oozed through the growing cracks in my composure.

“Yeah, right,” I’d answer.

Then an early snowstorm dumped six inches on the countryside overnight. Every two hours I bundled up even more and shoveled swirling drifts away from the only door. Flinging heavy, wet snow over my shoulder, I finally gave in to self-pity.

“Temporary, temporary!” I fumed. “Is everything temporary?”

The answer came immediately. Even if you had everything exactly the way you wanted, it would still be temporary.

I couldn’t argue with that.

Lord, help me to remember that my earthly condition, whether rich, poor, or in-between, is only temporary. Remind me daily what’s really important. Amen.

Read and reflect on 1 Timothy 6:6–8.

From God, Me, & a Cup of Tea for the Seasons, © 2018 by Michele Huey. All rights reserved.

Our house now (summer 2019)

The Priority of the Season

 

“Patience means waiting God’s time without doubting God’s love.” (Our Daily Bread, 3/2/2009)

For we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose for them. – Romans 8:28 NIV

 

“Obeying God,” I told my husband recently, “isn’t simple or easy.”

I was referring to taking a sabbatical from writing fiction. I didn’t want to do it. I love getting lost in the story, letting the characters carry me away on a journey of their own making. It’s a high like no other, this thrill of writing fiction.

At least it was for my first three books. Then came the elephant – my fourth novel, book two of the PennWoods Mystery series. Like Mama Elephant carries her baby in her womb for two years before giving birth, so too has been the gestation period for Ghost Mountain. Over two years, six partial drafts and more dead ends than I cared to count.

It isn’t that I no longer want to write fiction. I do. More than anything. I miss dancing with the muse. It’s that I’d lost the passion, the excitement for the story. “No tears in the writer,” Robert Frost once said, “no tears in the reader.”

What happened?

Life happened. With all its crises, issues and upcoming changes. Things that take time, energy, emotion, and prayer. Things on which I need to focus before I can move on to pursuing the vision of writing. For now I’m called to lay my Isaac down.

I think of how Abraham felt when God told him to offer his only son – the son he’d waited a lifetime for – to Him as a sacrifice. Sacrifice – giving up something you want for a higher purpose.

Renowned Christian author and speaker Priscilla Shirer had to lay her Isaac down at one point in her life, too. When her sons were born, her priorities changed. Between gigs of traveling the country and speaking to hundreds of women, she changed diapers. She soon sensed God telling her to put the speaking ministry aside for a season.

She obeyed.

In time, Lifeway contacted her: Instead of Priscilla travelling to, say 10 different churches in an area, she would travel to one central location and the women from those churches would come to that venue. Awesome! Less time. Same effort. More people reached with the messages God gives her.

She obeyed God and took a Sabbath from what she knew she was called to do. Then, at the right time, God gave her ministry back to her, better, more effective, more efficient, and allowing time for her growing family. It was like the Israelites gathering twice as much manna on the sixth day in the same amount of time and with the same amount of effort as they did on the other five days because they were not to gather manna on the Sabbath. They obeyed. God blessed them with a double portion.

Essentially God told them, “You honor my Sabbath on the seventh day, and I’ll give you a double portion on the sixth.”

“Focus on the priority of the season,” Priscilla writes in her Bible study Breathe.

The priority of the season. With health and family issues, and DH’s upcoming retirement, life is just too tumultuous right now to focus on writing fiction. I am, however, reading it and studying the craft while I wait for God to open the door again and say, “Now.”

Thank You, God, that You haven’t removed the dream, the desire, to write fiction from my heart. Give me the wisdom to use this time wisely and strength for the wait. Amen.

Read and meditate on Genesis 22:1–18; Exodus 16:21–26

© 2018 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.