We’ve had a relatively busy summer. My husband participated in graduation at the college where he works on a Saturday in May. He then started 2 weeks of summer school the following Monday. The last day of summer school, he left for Europe and was gone 25 days!
While he was leading a student tour through Italy and Switzerland, I was finishing the school year with my children. We ended school on a Friday, which also was my last day working at the school (in a job I had loved!) after being there since its beginning over 5 years ago. The following Monday, I started a new job which God clearly led me to this year and for which I am also so very thankful. My mom came in town for 2 weeks to help me with the transition until my husband returned.
In the transition, I gave up my computer and cell phone, which belonged to the school but which I was allowed to have for personal use as well, and I have been learning to enjoy more of a technology free life. It’s been good for me to not spend as much time on the internet when I have spare time, but to do better things.
My children and I have been to the pool a lot this summer. I’ve enjoyed reading while they swim. I finished Uncle Tom’s Cabin (what an incredible book!) and am now on Pilgrim’s Progress. I have a friend who is newly seeking the Lord, and she is reading Pilgrim’s Progress, so I thought it would give us something to dialogue about.
I’ve also written a lot more letters. For a while, I was trying to keep my stationery on hand and send out one a day. I wrote a letter to a couple who have meant a lot to me in my life since my childhood, but it occurred to me that I had never said it! The reply letter I received within a week showed me what it meant to them! I have also written more timely thank you notes. I’ve also tried to act when I feel like the Lord is moving my heart with the thought of someone to do something for him/her.
One thing I’ve most enjoyed: memorizing and reflecting on Scripture. I decided to just randomly pick out passages of the Bible that I’ve memorized in the past, but just can’t quite remember all the words. For example, Philippians 4:4-9 — when it gets to verses 8-9, I would always forget the order of these words: “Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, let your mind dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace shall be with you.”
I can now say them all and know what I am really supposed to reflect on and think about when my mind is tempted to think on other kinds of things (worry, anger, bitterness, pride, self, etc.). So my goal has been not to introduce all new passages, but just to really nail down the ones I should know. I’ve gone over Psalm 103, James 1, I Peter 1, Ephesians 6:10-20, and the Philippians 4:4-9. I’m trying to add a section each day.
Over the days I’ve been doing this, I’ve been blessed in so many ways. Tonight, I just blew it, stumbled and fell spiritually. I loved it that as I was praying asking God for forgiveness, the words of Psalm 103 were flowing through my head: “He has not dealt with us according to our sins or punished us according to our iniquities… as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.”
And as I pondered the first 5 verses about blessing the Lord and the benefits He give us (He forgives our iniquities, heals our diseases, redeems our life from destruction, crowns us with lovingkindness and tender mercies, and satisfies our mouth with good things so that our youth is renewed like the eagle’s), I realized that not only is God so gracious to wipe away our sins, but He goes so much farther with blessings! He crowns us and satisfies us and gives us so many blessings! He doesn’t just take our sins and then sort of keep us at a neutral place; no, He delights to give good gifts to His children, and so many of those ways are listed out in Psalm 103. It was so humbling to think on His great mercy and grace, so undeserved, yet so lavishly given.
Well, my husband brought home an iPad from a trip to Atlanta this weekend, a gift he received. I guess technology is back for me, at least in the form of letting me read my emails in a timely way! But hopefully, I’ll be a little wiser in my time and enjoy the things I’ve been learning in technology’s absence.
A page in my memory journal: