Peace …

Rain falling outside in the darkness of the evening.

Windows open to let in the fresh, cool air.

A sweetly-scented candle burning on our kitchen table.

Hazelnut coffee shared with friends in our home this afternoon.

Reading C.S. Lewis curled up on our bed.

Nourishing potato soup as a pleasant evening meal.

A clean sink after all the dishes of the day.

Leftovers in the refrigerator to draw from during the week.

Time to spend reading, thinking, and preparing for another week.

The memory of a uplifting conversation with a friend at church.

A quiet heart.

All glory to God for the rest and joy and peace He brings to us on His sabbath day!

When the exterior peels off…

In the midst of my delightful day at home, I took the time this afternoon to finish processing the bushel of apples I had gotten over the weekend. On Saturday I had made four and a half quarts of homemade applesauce, with two apple crisps in the next few days for get-togethers, but my goal was to make a little more applesauce to freeze and to have a few bags of sliced apples in the freezer for future desserts.

As I lined up my peeled apples on the counter, I thought about how insignificant they all looked without their skins. The various bumps and bruises became much more obvious, and the misshapen lines of peeling distorted the beautiful roundness they once possessed. They were now to be cut and cooked rather than kept on display!

At the same time, though, I realized how much I’ve been feeling like a not-very-nice peeled apple. These past few days and weeks have been a time of exhaustion, much hard work, and sickness, and the exterior of joy, calm, and peace that I cherish has been peeled off again and again. All of my raw needs (those bumps and bruises, so to speak) have been revealed in painful detail, as once more, as ever, I stumble towards Christ, crying out for His mercy.

My dear husband has been faithful to remind me of the need to persevere in godliness even when I don’t feel the wonderful optimism by which I love to spend my days. Feeling cheerful and excited about life is not the reason by which I live. Christ the Savior is my hope of glory, and it is by His grace I walk, in seasons of joy and in seasons of struggle. He is always faithful!

Meanwhile, I have applesauce in my freezer, along with two bags of sliced apples destined for future apple crisps. The Lord is gracious to continually provide such delightful little joys each day. May He do the same for you today!

Toward a new season…

We drove down the road into town last week, passing the stream that is a moment of beauty in my journeys. Leaves covered the surface of the water, strewn in their flight from previous homes above. A tree behind the alpacas’ pen in our back yard scatters leaves in the wind, reminding me with each burst that autumn approaches. A tinge of change is in the air, in the morning coolness, the faint color in the leaves, and the calendar’s steady progression into the coming month.

The cozy interior of our home is no less marked by change of season. Hebrew cards are piled on our living room coffee table alongside my husband’s textbook. He pores over this new language in the evenings, slowly ingesting a new alphabet and mode of writing. Over lunches he works through the deep theology that undergirds our living faith. In less than two weeks he will appear before the local presbytery to be taken “under care” — that first step of accountability and encouragement as he journeys toward pastoral ministry.

Alongside his Hebrew are a few new books in another category, which we have both read with avid interest. Shepherding a Child’s Heart has been a source of conviction and encouragement, while What to Expect When You’re Expecting has also brought many new insights. A little revelation one morning back in June was the herald of a changing season. Itty-bitty clothes are mixed in with our big ones, and we anticipate one midwinter day when we will bring home a tiny bundle of great joy.

Presently, however, there are the in-between days, days when clothes don’t fit and dark circles mark my face and time is long. I look out the kitchen window at the baby alpaca bounding about in circles, wishing I had that same frolicsome energy and excitement. My body is tired, giving life unto life, and my spirit sags as I toil onward.

Then, in the moment of exhaustion, in the chaos of change, I find peace. A supper made for my beloved husband. Fragrant decaf coffee with a splash of milk. Glorious motifs in the Beethoven string quartets I listen to in our home. Joy … gladness, quietness, peace in the moment between moments, the haven of Christ’s presence in the daily routine. He is there; all is well.

A new season is a good thing. Our Savior goes before us…