“Mom-can-I-be-a-milk-buyer-today?” My Kindergartener rapid-fire demanded.
“No,” I hurried, “I still haven’t put more lunch money in your account, sweetie…”
“WE DON’T HAVE TO PAY, MOM!!!” She once again informed me, with her face all scrunched up and frustrated as she reenacted her walk up to the lunch line to tell the cashier she’s a milk buyer.
If only I realized, morning after hectic morning, that she was really just informing me of her intention rather than asking permission. After a semester of self-proclaimed “milk buyer” days, the bill came home in her “parent communication” folder.
I needed a serious break.
One gray Northern Ohio day after the next, my face froze as my dog’s ears flipped over in the frigid North wind off the lake. Trudging through my determination to exercise, I kept thinking about the packed suitcase waiting to be zipped up and loaded into the mini-van. My normal knack to focus on “I love the four seasons” positive thinking had faded away with the forecast for snow well into April. Robbed of a season… again. Huff.
I needed some serious sunshine …the warm kind.
In the middle of an argument about why we actually do pay for milk, it’s hard to relax. When my thoughts are literally frozen by the North wind, it’s difficult to rest in the beauty of God’s creation.
I simply get tired of trying.
The Space gives me time to realign and rejuvenate.
If I don’t stop to be silent, I forget. The smiles behind the struggles begin to fade, and the wind rips my well-intended goal’s fortitude right out the sail.
When it’s 29 degrees and hail is falling in April, it’s hard for me to accept that I’m “right where I need to be.” When, one by one, family and friends move South, it’s hard to understand why I’m being left behind. When colleagues collect where the sun shines, it’s hard to understand why I shouldn’t move.
Somehow, sitting silent on a sunny beach allowed that verse to smack the truth right back into my soul. Separated from the strife of my schedule, I could see where my heart was misaligned with God’s Word.
“Drinks the rain often falling on it…” I’m being nourished right where I am.
“…a crop useful to those for whom it is farmed..” I’m already surrounded by people to reach.
“…receives the blessing of God.” Pick me! I want that!
With each lap of ocean surf, His creation echoed His Word. Spiritual and deep …but so is He. The rambunctious rant of my daughters laughing at their Papa was sweet peace compared to the incessant whining of the “get ready for school” grind. Created in His image, we must take space to get quiet …to learn who God is… and go deep.
The NIV Study Bible notes that “Changed lives and works of love suggest that many of these persons were indeed regenerated.” (The author was speaking to a crowd undecided about who among them was truly “saved…” much like we unjustly take stock of each other now, isn’t it? #sidenote)
Regeneration reminds me of crab claws on the beach. A claw gets lopped off, and they grow a new one. What is God trying to reveal through a creature with this feature?
Google‘s definition of regeneration is “(of a living organism) Regrow. Bring into renewed existence; generate again.”
Sometimes, I have to stop so God can move.
When I’m scrambling for a solution and going after my goals, the last thing I think I need to do is relax. So, I don’t. I push, and strive, and work, and completely exhaust myself. I keep buying milk even though the lunch account is empty. If I neglect “the space” for too long, I find myself praying to inform God of what I’ve discerned rather that asking for His permission.
My good and faithful God sent a note home in my communication folder this Spring, packed my suitcase, sat me down on a Gulf Coast beach, and thawed out my doubt. His Son, Jesus, lopped off a few disconcerting thoughts and misaligned intentions. His Spirit spoke encouragement into my heart through the surf.
I’m ready to move now… right from here.