"There is a time for everything and a season for
every activity under the heavens."
1. A second or new entry
2. The return from outer space into the earth's atmosphere.
God said that at some point I would reenter The Painted Rock. I don't remember exactly how he said it, but in some form or fashion, He said that I would reenter this blog which has for the most part delivered silence for the past eighteen months.
I wish that I could sum up the past year and a half in one blog post, but it would probably take months to unpack all that God has done in this season. I could say that for the most part, these months have been a time to heal, but along with healing also comes a time to weep, a time to mourn, a time to laugh, a time to let go, a time to uproot and many other "time to's".
To be honest, I thought that by this time, I would be writing about a time to let go of Lyme treatment. I was supposed to be well by now. I had asked God to heal me by my birthday of last year, and I believed with all of my heart that He would do it. But July 29th came and went, and God made it clear that my season of "captivity" was not to come to an end yet. I still faced months more of the healing process, and today, the yoke that he has promised to remove from my neck still seems heavy upon it.
"Remember me," he has spoken over and over in this season of captivity, and He has led me time and again to using this blog, The Painted Rock, to remember him, to tell the story of how He delivered me from captivity like He delivered the Israelites from the Babylonians. I thought perhaps it would be on the other side of Lyme treatment before He called me to remember. Over the past week, though, He has made it clear that the reentry is here. Well or not, its time to go even though my body doesn't feel ready, and my heart feels too full of sin and frustration to be splayed on the internet.
I spent the last week in an utter state of self-absorption and self pity. My pharmacy let me know that they would no longer be filling any of my Lyme prescriptions, so I spent hours on the phone sorting through Express Script orders and insurance issues and running back and forth to the pharmacy. I started two new medicines on Monday which left me feeling as if my spirit and body were treading through quicksand. The middle child was home sick Monday, and the firstborn Tuesday through Friday. The cat decided to abandon his toilet and began using the bathtub instead. (yes,our cat IS potty trained, at least he is most of the time). Thumper, the family bunny escaped twice this week, leaving me chasing him over and under furniture during my only opportunities for a little alone time. And in addition to my 210 pills a week, he has needed eyedrops three times a day. My firstborn has needed doctors visits and antibiotics and new thermometers, the youngest has needed ear drops and doses of cough syrup, and the middle child has needed a string of eye doctor appointments and eyeglasses so she can see the blackboard at school. And I have been in desperate need of seeing clearly myself in the midst of it all.
I slammed the dishwasher door on Friday when the dog appeared at the door having rolled in dead fish for the second time in a week, meaning my thirty minutes of free time that day would be taken up with a dog bath. I told God how mad I was. I asked him why he had to make everything so hard. "Is this some sort of sick joke? Do you think this is funny?" I asked through clenched teeth as the fish stench entered my nose. "Why don't you want me to ever have any time of my own?" I asked him as I grabbed the bunny shampoo to go wash the dog, hoping perhaps it could be lethal to dogs.
I tied his leash to the iron gate of the garden and angrily told him to sit. I expected him to resist, to lie down on his back in defiance, or to try to run. But he stood in one place, perfectly still as the early-morning cold water poured from the hose.
It was a beautiful spring day. The sun was making its way up over our untended garden. Light and shadow moved in unison all around us begging for me to move towards the light, to push away darkness and enjoy bathing the dog. I took a deep breath, surrendered to joy and began to move the shampoo through his black hair. I scrubbed every inch of his body from head to toe, under the ears, in between his toes, under the collar, hoping to cover every strand of hair so that every trace of the stench would be eradicated.
He stood still, through every second of my scrubbing and rinsing. Shivering, his eyes looked deep into me, calmly waiting for it to be over. He seemed to know he had only one choice and that was to surrender.
When I finished rinsing him clean, I dried him with a towel as he rolled on his back delighting in every minute of the attention. It was as if he had been waiting his whole life for that moment. As I watched him, I wished I could be him for a minute, soaking up all that affection, having someone else tend and care for me.
I told my husband last night that I was a bit starved for his attention, that I needed more of his affection, that I needed to see his love for me in action and not just hear it from his mouth. I told him I needed him to remember that I'm still healing, that I'm still battling for a life unyoked of Lyme.
I meant what I said in the moment, but today as I begin to see clearly, I wonder if it's really me that needs to remember. I wonder if it's me that’s doing the forgetting. I wonder if I have forgotten how God rescued me in the early years of our marriage. I wonder if it's me thats forgetting that my husband just bravely stepped out of his job, like Abraham, not knowing where he's going. I wonder if it's me forgetting that he is battling too.
For some reason recently, I cannot see clearly in the evening. It is as if I become blind to truth in my tired and wretched state. Morning comes and for a few brief hours before the meds kick in, I am able to see. This morning, as I write, I see. It is painfully obvious that I need a good bathing from head to toe. A sitting still while God bathes me in his love, speaking truth to me in all my shivering.
That’s what writing does for me. It allows me to sit still as God speaks truth. It calms me in the storm. I am not sure what it is about words flowing out onto paper, but somehow it allows me to see more clearly who God is and what He is doing.
I've been asking God for a year and a half when he would allow me to reenter The Painted Rock, when he would give me permission to write about the stones of remembrance I have painted thus far in my journey with Him. And this week, I received my answer.
"Why are you waiting for permission to do what you were made for? Go love people."
That is what God used Bob Goff to tell me as I scrolled through Instagram a few days ago. And I think the best way I can love people at this juncture in my life is to carve out time to remember Christ because it is that remembrance that causes the tears of thanksgiving to flow out into one river, joining two hearts into one ready to run the race God marked out for us when he carved our names in the palm of his hand before time began.
We stand dressed
in traveling clothes
the reentry flight
as this season
from the shoulders
of a woman
and a man
I stand still,
outside the garden gate,
God pouring remembrance rain
down my spine,
asking my shivering heart
to receive his grace
as I return from outer space
in order to land
in the hand
of a God
who sweetly said
as I lay
in early morn,
As you surrender to the soft place of my purposes, my plan of action comes forth. He spoke it as I was departing from sleep and beginning to reenter the world of awake.
I awake and see
it's in the stillness,
in the quiet reentry,
in the shivering surrender
that a plan
from God’s hand
taking us full circle
to his land of promise.
Him singing soft words
that speak to a season.
It has come...