Ahhh…I’ve got the first day back to school under my belt. (Technically, half a day, but I’m counting every minute of it.) And lucky me, my husband was out of town for all the craziness. Lucky YOU…because as I finally sit down after yesterday’s long and monumental hours, I’ve no adult with whom to process except those of you on the other side of my computer screen.
After the kids were dropped off with all their school supplies (and I ran the trips back to the car for miscellaneous things left behind), I had quite a productive morning. I cleaned up the house a bit and then set to work putting crock-pot meals together.
The beginning of the school year makes me leap into hibernation mode–not necessarily that I desire to sleep all the time, though those days do come every once in awhile. It’s more that when school starts, I act like I will be trapped in a cave for the next 9 months of the year. I prepare and gather as if winter were about to hit hard and cover the streets with snow until spring. (I remind you, I live in Houston, TX.)
After yesterday morning, my freezer looks as if it’s been stocked my an Alaskan Bushman. I’ve got fillets of salmon, beef stew, marinated chicken, pounds of pork tenderloin, roasts, even sausage, all Ziplock-bagged and Sharpie labeled. If only I could get into pickling and making my own jam, we’d be completely set. The snow ain’t comin’… but the blizzard of life is fixin’ to hit. (Again, I’m Texan.)
Two years ago, we took our kids out of the school system and embarked on our year of “Family Rehab”. We had been caught in a snowstorm of flurried chaos and busyness, giving the best of our days to others and losing sight of our children’s hearts in the black-out condition of our calendars. We were tired. Burned out. Undone. Rehab was a necessary and defining decision for our family. It didn’t go quite as we had planned, but that’s usually how God works. We had no idea what would ultimately bring about our healing.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven
and do not return there but water the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
but it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:9-11).
Now here we are two years later, figuratively gathering wood and counting our jars of pickled herring. I find myself asking, “Has anything changed?” “Did we rehabilitate?” “Have we relapsed?”
When we started Family Rehab, we intended to pull away, hunker down, get healthy, and push the reset button. We built our cabin and boarded up the doors for a bit. We lit some candles, grabbed some blankets, held each other tight, and tried to hear the faintest sound of falling snow outside the frosted windows as we shivered inside. We desperately trained our ears to hear the Spirit. We twitched from our selfishness-withdrawl. We hadn’t been discipled in how to properly cope with the American rat-race–relying on His truths and directed thankfulness. We were not prepared either for the craziness that is marriage, family, ministry, etc. and we needed to learn the art of being still, listening to His voice. During that year, we didn’t stumble across a trendy new way of organizing school papers, or spend time researching the best meal plans for busy families.
The healing for our addiction was found in storing up truth, then resting in the still, whispered, and very powerful presence of God.
As I mentally review, I think I can safely determine that we are, and have been, transitioning out of recovery into long-term sobriety. We’ve learned the necessity of gathering spiritual fuel and provisions. We’ve walked with mentors and guides who have taught us valuable lessons for the harsh environment we all live in. We are still in our “Life After Rehab” season, putting His truths to the test and practicing the slowness of mind and spirit needed to daily and deeply commune with Him. This beginning of the school year marks our 1-yr chip of sobriety, so to speak. It hasn’t been a prefect year, by any means, but we continue to learn in fuller ways what it means to sit still in the presence of the Lord. And honestly, He’s done way more in the past year than we ever did in all our years before Rehab.
“You can do more in my waiting, than in my doing I could do.”
– To Those Who Wait by Bethany Dillion
This year, with snow showers in the distance and busy thunder rolling, I find myself eager to sit still in the presence of God, snuggling under protective blankets of His Word, my stocked and loaded freezer sitting in anticipation.
So, here’s to slow-cooked cream of mushroom and chicken! “Cheers!”, to a warm cup of cocoa in the middle of the blizzard, listening to the sound of wind’s howl. “Woo-hoo!”, to walking with children down a snowy path until their eyelashes droop with icy dust. “Amen!”, to heavy quilts of His truth! And a prayer to remaining sober-minded, full of gratitude, brimming with joy for all that He has done, in the midst of impending winter.
“Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:13).