There are moments in our journey towards home that cause us to reflect on living. How alive are you? I’m breathing and my heart is beating. I can feel the old age of muscles and needing to stretch. There’s life and there is living.
This amazing woman called the Shunammite woman has walked with me this week. I dare to say that her story and God’s love saved my life. I moved from life to living. Her story is found here if you would like to read from an online Bible.
We had an ice cream party with my grand-daughter about a month ago. During the course of the party, I broke a tooth while eating the soft cone. Feeling the tooth roll around in the ice cream mixture inside my mouth is probably how I see life sometimes–the amazing, wonderful and then, out of nowhere, this hard thing happens in which you have to figure out how you are going to maneuver the item out of your life or just swallow it and move on. I excused myself from the table, and when I went upstairs and looked at my smile–the gaping hole–I laughed. Here we go. It’s Sunday, we are trying to just have some fun. Long story short, my wonderful dentist is in the process of restoring my tooth, which is a 3 visit process. I have one visit left.
Why am I telling you this story? I’m sharing a small part of my life to acknowledge the impact of the chain of events. By the time Thursday night hit my mind and body, I was pretty much done. I adjusted my hurts, tears, and happenings into that little box I keep stuff like that in. No margins is what my mom would say to me, pretty much all my life, which should tell me something. “Anna, you have no margins.” This means I have no space to be living.
I knew my visit would take a couple of hours, so I took my headphones to listen to something other than drilling. None of my podcasts seemed to be working so I switched to audible and my Bible study chapter for the next week’s lesson. Yes, the Shunammite woman. I told some close friends that I was looking forward to the dental chair so I could take a break, and I asked for the day off from work.
In the shower that morning before the appointment, I was reflecting on a significant event that happened Thursday along with the other things rolling around in my life like that chipped tooth in my mouth. I started to write a letter in my mind to no one in particular. The title was “I’m done”, or “There has to be more to life than this.”, or how about, “All the reasons I should move to the beach and live in a tent.” No drama here. I’m not claiming that I’m the only one who has moments in the shower like this, but I am sharing my moment with you in hopes I can get it out, heal, and move on to living.
As I settled into the comfy dental chair, I knew I had two hours to myself. I don’t have a recliner chair at home like this–nice head rest, leather, arm rest, and the place is clean. No clutter around me, and a bright light shinning on my face kind of resembles the sun. By the way, the only reason I have a picture of me in the dental chair is because someone called me, and I wanted to prove that I was not available. I’ll get back to you in a moment. I start to listen to my chapter and worship. He is drilling, and I moan from the back of my throat noises of agreement with the author’s questions. This confuses him, and he asks if I’m okay. He realizes I’m making noises because of what I’m hearing, and we smile.
I’m going to cut to the end of the story within my chapter. Basically, this woman for all the reasons that are justifiable began to accept things in her life that she should not have accepted. Women are good at this. Our dreams and longings get pushed down and out (so we think) so we can serve, love, and serve again. After all of her service and hospitality, the man of God, Elijah, wanted to give back to her and she exclaimed, “No!” She knew better than to dig up all those longings again. We have to keep it moving around this house.
I love how T. D. Jakes will ask questions:
“Have you accepted spiritual barrenness? Have you accepted brokenness, either in yourself or in your children? In your spouse? Have you accepted burdens you were never meant to carry? Have you accepted relationships that are dragging you down? Have you accepted abuse or unhappiness or disrespect?” (p. 166)
I began to answer those questions in my mind and felt like God was healing me and showing me things I needed to claim and get rid of.
This woman made space for God. She ran after, clung to, fed, and built a room in her home to take care of Elijah, the prophet. Elijah was not God, but she knew that this prophet could change her life because he worshiped God.
I have got to pull out a new sheet of paper with wide margins and make space for God. Ironically, I just laughed, because I will often in my work change the margins to narrow or .5 so I can get more on the page. HA! So interesting.
There is too much to the chapter and her story to write here so I will linger with you on the questions above. You can push your desires away but God, in His timing, will gently reveal and put His finger on that area inside of you. You may exclaim, “No!” but He will use things like a chip tooth, dental chairs, this week’s Bible Study, text messages, a day off, and music to say over and over again, “I see you daughter, and I love you.”
I’m working on living.
As a side note, my friend Amber posted a song that got me curious about the artist. Sitting by my open window in the quiet, I listened to a few of the songs. This one reminded me of the importance of human connection even in our brokenness. Let’s help each other in the living.
“I’m on Your Side”