Sometimes your life can seem to turn on a dime. Within the last month my mother’s forgetfulness escalated dramatically into dementia, and now my family and I are on a path we never envisioned. This past week Mother moved in with my sister and her husband, and I (who thought I’d never move out of Pennsylvania) am readying my house to sell so I can move closer to them and help care for her. The year’s sabbatical was preparing me for this change that I couldn’t then foresee. That’s just one of the ways I recognize the grace of God in my life: if you give events enough time to unfold as they need to, when you look back you find that what appeared as difficulties have turned out to be providence.
So here I am, moving across that bridge where I’d been standing, watching, and waiting all this time. It isn’t the first time the Lord’s grace has held me in preparation before walking with me into a landscape I’d not foreseen. The pattern of that process is clearer now than when I first began my walk with him. I’m grateful for the many ways and times that he’s made me wait upon and trust him. It’s the faith that grew out of those accumulated experiences of finding him trust-worthy that makes this a peaceful transition for me now.
My spiritual director once asked me to pray and reflect with the Lord over “all the ways that he has been exercising his Lordship over you.” Then he reminded me of some of the possible ways that might manifest, opening wider my understanding of what “lordship” means, i.e., how a Lord’s power is expressed in the lives of those who belong to him. I’ve seen that Jesus’ Lordship is expressed whenever he teaches us; or defends us against our enemies; or makes a way through difficult times; when he blesses us with challenges to help us grow, comforts to strengthen us, or delights to cheer and warm the heart; when he commands us (to love, to forgive, to give, to accept, or whatever he bids us do); when he forgives us; when he feeds us with material and spiritual food; when he takes on himself the fallout from our sins; when he builds us up; and when he brings us together and forms us into community. He has also exercised his lordship over me by guiding my life through dark valleys and treacherous terrain, up steep hills, and through restful meadows and sheltering forests….
You get the picture. All of that is why I’m not afraid or rebellious now. I see this as the beginning of a great blessing that’s going to unfold for me and my family as we come together in what will surely be a painful and difficult time. It has already been opening up a sense of blessing for me, and I know that, whatever the sorrows and challenges to come, it will continue to be a time filled with the presence and power of God’s love.
I pray that you too may know, with a deeply-felt heart knowledge, the peace and promise of God’s blessings to come. May you have peace and joy, and may we always hold our loved ones near and treat them as dear to us as we are dear to God.