God heard me today as I told two women how I was praying – asking God – to help me nurture relationships at this season in my life. He heard me say how I can be alone; how I don’t have this great urge to be with people. I enjoy it when I am – most of the time, but alone is where I feel comfortable. Alone is where they don’t hurt me, but most importantly, where I don’t hurt them. Where I can’t disappoint or say something wrong or stupid. It’s where I can’t hurt the glory of God by trying to fit in and saying something I would never normally say. Alone is what has felt safe for me and for them, that is, until I realized it was my seclusion that was doing the damage.
Being by yourself can lead to more self, and that has never been a good thing. Staying away can make others feel left out and hurt and eventually, they also stay away. Pretty soon, Satan has you in solitary confinement and your safe place becomes the pit you dug. Me, I am praying about how in the world to do it! How do I homeschool children, give enough of myself to building in-home relationships with husband, children, and dogs, and nurture friendships outside the home? How can I possibly promise them time, when I don’t have extra to give? I want them to know I love them – that they are special to me – but the effort, energy, and schedule re-organizing…well, it overwhelms – it scares! I know I can’t be close friends with everyone…Jesus had 12. I know I can’t be really close to even 12…Jesus had 3. I just know that the most comfortable place for me is with just me and Him, but I also know even He is not singular. He is 3-in-1.

I don’t know where to begin. I find I sometimes don’t go outside because I know my neighbors are out there, and it has nothing to do with not liking them! It has everything to do with…me.

I have asked Jesus to empty me over and over again this week so that He can fill me over and over again. I want His fruit in my life. I want to bless others. I want to have JOY! I am scared, though! It’s not so much the hurt they might inflict, though that can cause me to retreat like a turtle quick to hide in its shell. It’s more that I may hurt them – that I may speak before thinking (kind of like I did yesterday).
I read my words and I can plainly see the prison I am in. Why is it we stay in a mental prison just because it’s what we know? Why did the Israelites want to return to Egypt – their own slavery? Because as hard as it was, they knew how to operate there. This freedom thing, it’s foreign to me. And though many have gone before me, their shoes seem too big to fill. I wrote earlier this week on freedom – on how to have it. I guess I need to go back and remember.
I am free; I just don’t know how to live that way.

These were my thoughts just a few hours ago, and I was right – God heard me!  One of those friends who listened to me today gave me the gift of “white tea”.  This means nothing to you, but this is a loaded gift for me.  Here I had been expressing my deep desire to know how to nurture my friendships, and here she is showing me how a simple box of tea passed on through the hands of my son can grow two people together.  Not just this, though – I told you, this is loaded!  I had recently been telling Nathan that I see black tea and green tea and Chick-Fil-A tea everywhere but that I had never found white tea.  I knew it existed.  We had stood right over a “field” of white tea leaves in Taiwan almost 7 years ago.  Taiwan, a place and a people that stole pieces of my heart as we walked their streets and within their temples.  So, today when Orange Spice White Tea made its way into my kitchen, I smiled at how God had not forgotten the desires of my heart or my simple wish to drink white tea.

How He loves…

Following that gift, I was in a mad rush to get dinner and brownies done to take up to the office for Nathan and as I was washing up dishes and counter tops, the song I was listening to was suddenly interrupted.  I was about to go see what had happened when these words were sung to me…

He is jealous for me,

Loves like a hurricane, I am a tree

Bending beneath the weight of His wind and mercy…

My breath caught, my hands dropped, and my arms barely held me upright.  Tears stung my eyes as I heard Him once again say, “I love you.”  He knows my form; that I am but dust!  That just like Adam and Eve needed Him to form them and give them life, I need Him to transform me and give me new life.

I don’t know how it will all work out.  I may lose friendships along the way, I may save some, or I may actually learn how to garden and grow some.  I just know that I don’t want to live this life like I have nothing to live for.  I want every breath of every day to be purposeful, full of His Spirit, in His fullness of joy, and to the glory of His Name!

He’s still workin’ on me

To make me what I oughta’ be!

Took Him just a week to make the moon and the stars

The sun and the earth and Jupiter and Mars.

How loving and patient He must be

Cuz He’s still workin’ on me!