Right now, I’m sitting in Bryan College’s still library. It’s Spring Break, so the campus is empty except for a handful of staff members charged with duties that aren’t suspended in the absence of classes. It’s a beautiful, well-lit library on a cozy campus. It’s my first time here and frankly, I can see why, after visiting this past fall, my husband spoke so highly of it. It’s beautiful, yes. But it’s peaceful, too. Everywhere, the motto “Christ Above All” is sprinkled– and feels real.
I’m not sure I will ever quite get over the “how cool is that?!?” factor of loading up before breakfast to run down to the post office and pick up a box of chicks.
I don’t know how it happened, but somehow, we mothers decided that we should be busy. I blame the NIV Bible, which translates Titus 2:5 like this:
to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.
The email was a welcome bit of encouragement: you are not forgotten, I pray for you and your family, your work. There was a simple ask at the end. Just a request to partner in ministry.
And yet… the tears.
Here I am, sitting in a hotel room more than 9,000 miles from my home in Tennessee, and I should be spending the evening reviewing and refreshing the material I plan to teach about 50 pastors tomorrow morning.
I recently received word that a friend and supporter of our ministry had died following a brief respite in hospice for brain cancer.
Slightly older than me, he had already lived years longer than the weeks, maybe months, doctors had given him. And while clean brain scans for much of that time gave him an appreciation for life that few of us will ever have, he used that period to tell people about the peace God had given him no matter what the outcome.
We school year-round—three months on, one month off. The shorter, intermittent breaks suit the rhythm of our family well. By the end of a twelve week summer break, all of us were craving structure and weary of open-ended days. Too, we find the heat of the summer in the south exhausting at its peak, and not enjoyable in the “we’re on vacation!” sense. So: three on, one off. The perfect compromise.
The Gospel is universal but the language we use to share it is not.
And that can at times make it difficult — so difficult that only the very grace of the God we’re trying to explain makes it possible.
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When I was pregnant with my second child, a kind acquaintance farther down the path of parenting more than one child passed on a reading list of helpful titles. I was an eager student, especially given that seven long years passed before I became anyone’s sister. I grew up dreading my friends’ summer vacations and envying families where there was a built-in playmate. My babies, however, would be just thirty three months apart, and society told me exactly what to expect. Competition. Struggles. Drama. Vying for my attention. Jockeying for position. Whining. Tattling. Bickering. Rivalry.
At the very top of the list of suggested reads, I found what I was looking for: Siblings Without Rivalry. I immediately went to the library, checked it out, and dug in.
I know this routine well. Wake up in the dark. Pull on some clothes. Whisper to a teenager that I’m leaving. Lock the door behind me. Drive on empty roads. Pull up to the curb. Open the door. Say goodbye.