Between Then and Now
Sometimes we experience seasons that are very full. Have you ever had a season like that? For me, June 2022 through March 2023 have been so full that I was stretched beyond what I thought possible. For nine months, I was carrying a full load!
I didn't choose to place everything on the ”To-Do List” at the outset. I added as life progressed, and God had even more in mind! Criteria for the “To-Do List” were (and still are) that activities honor God, and be in line with my spiritual gifting, talents, and role in the home.
Altogether, in this household of my husband and me, we've had good things and rough things these past months.
Last spring and summer in the kitchen, I was surrounded first by food freezing equipment, then canning equipment. About canning time, I was exhausted while trying to accomplish everything. On one of those days, I stopped and listed all I did. That exercise proved two things: 1) my days were indeed way too full; and 2) I had to drop some activities! Here's a peek at the list:
Life and Death Situations
My husband became ill in May 2022. I attended closely to his health concerns with its accompanying appointments to seven doctors in four towns to diagnose and treat his condition. My husband's illness required that I didn't leave him alone for more than an hour or so once in a great while. It also required that I become the driver.
Then a heart procedure for my husband by Doctor #7 in town #4. It was to resolve the situation, but didn't. At this writing, my husband just had a repeat procedure.
Errands required my involvement since I had become the driver. We had evenly split our work when we got married. However, with his illness, I had to take on most of my husband's half as well as doing my own. The errands had been a large part of my husband's half.
For five consecutive weeks of early fall, various close and extended family as well as some long-time friends passed away. I grieved the losses.
Continuing Education Units—26 in 2022! An aggressive aspiration! By God's grace, I did complete them all and did well on them.
Small Group Mentorship Zoom Meetings for writing :)
Women's Prayer Meetings each week
Hymn Sings once a month at the nearby retirement/nursing home
Once a month outreach to help supply needs in the area
Worship team once a month
Homemaking—You know the never-ending work: cooking, cleaning, dishes, laundry.
Preserving foods—Freezing peas and peaches, canning tomatoes and applesauce, dehydrating apples, parsley, and some purslane. Yet, unable to get to it all, I gave away a lot of produce. In so doing, I got to share about our Creator God who grew the fabulous foods in my garden. (Maybe that was God's plan all along.)
Garden—Mentioned above. It was 12 feet x 27 feet, and so beautiful! God grew large plants with abundant produce.
Writing—Family Newsletter Articles, Bible Accounts for All Ages, letters each week, and updates as needed for my husband's family about his condition.
Counseling women and couples :)
What did I learn in all this? To trust God deeper for the todays and tomorrows, continue to pray unceasingly, and reduce the list of things I could control. Also, that my husband's and my 2022 summer vacation away was very wise. It was refreshing, reviving, and rejuvenating in the midst of what felt like chaos.
What's the shake-out? How has my life changed during this long absence from the Blog? I increased vigilance on my time, and went back to including buffers between activities. I rest when tired. I defined that, in order to have fulfilling days, three things are important for me:
time in the Word,
time reading books,
and time writing.
Hence, while it already had been my daily practice to exercise solitude and read Scripture, think on it, and pray; I became even more intentional about doing so. As well, I strive to read books at least an hour a day, and write almost every day. Additionally, I've increased my purposeful waiting on the Lord to determine my “To-Do List.”
What are your full seasons like? How can you adjust your “To-Do List” for the better?
Here are parting thoughts that helped me through this full season. They may help you in yours, too. Start to practice them now—or continue if you've already started:
Cling tightly to God through Jesus. God is always faithful, and his promises are always true. Read the Word in order to know God and His love and promises.
Our holiness is God's aim. If it is necessary that we endure trials for holiness, God will allow us that favor.
It is God who upholds us. He uses His Word and the Body of Christ. Be involved in a church that preaches and teaches God's Word. You will benefit, and so will the people in it as you love one another.
Choose gratefulness. To be honest, several days in this interim my gratefulness quotient was pretty low. Although tears characterized some of the other days, “thank yous” were still on my lips. Scripture says, “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” (2 Thessalonians 5:18)
“The Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you;
the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.”
Copyright by M.G. “Trudy” Granstrom Seward