Friday, July 15, 2005

strengthen me

In two hours, I'm taking Tera and her friend, Mandy, to the river at Granite Falls. We'll be joined there by a dozen other women from church and their children. En masse, we'll tote folding chairs and towels and zippered, soft boxes bulging with p.b. & j. sandwiches, cheddar-flavored potato chips, granola bars and foil-pouched drinks. It'll be a snackin', splashin', laughin' good time ... and I can't wait.

But right this minute, staring at me from the back porch, is a tall Sweet Annie plant ... and two bright green fennel plants ... and French tarragon, basil, lemon balm, chives and horseradish. I bought them all, deeply discounted, at a nearby nursery yesterday. Do I ignore those waiting plants so I can think of a new post? Or do I give you something I've already written and spend these next two hours in the garden?

You guessed. Here's something I wrote several years ago.

* * *
“My soul clings to the dust; revive me according to Your word. My soul melts from heaviness; strengthen me according to Your Word.”
~ Psalm 119:25, 28 (NKJV)

My daughter flits about my feet, unleashing pent-up energy. She slaps at the floor, whirls around twice and hops onto one toe. She’s never had ballet lessons, but that doesn’t stop her.

I watch with envy. While she shimmies and skitters across the kitchen tiles like some bug on a pond in the heat of July, hovering and defying gravity, my every step threatens to sink me through the floor. When did I last feel weightless? I can’t recall. I only know that I'm tired.

My mind drifts. I hear again the hurtful words a friend spoke the day before. She’d tossed them toward me the way I throw chicken scratch to my hens: not caring where they landed, but simply wanting the task done and the bits scattered. I had somehow offended her, and she returned the favor.

For the thousandth time, I wonder if God made a mistake. Did He really mean for me to be a pastor’s wife? I’m not equipped. I don't fit the mold--not in the least bit. What can I give to these women? I'm not the sweet, piano-playing, too-good-for-this-earth type of pastor's wife. I should have the patience of Job and the gentleness of Mary, but instead, I am Paul; forever urging repentance with my voice raised and my finger waggling. I am Peter on a bad day, with a fire in my belly and a sword in my hand.

Tera follows me to my bedroom, still flitting, but now also reciting her scripture verse for Sunday school.

“Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

She begins again immediately, faster this time. I’m pleased she learned it so precisely. I smile my approval and she launches into a third recitation.

I pull my hair back and check my face in the mirror. When did those dark smudges appear under my eyes? I check the time. We’re leaving for church in twenty minutes. I wonder if my friend will come. What will I say? I can’t worship like that. I can’t pretend it all didn’t happen. I'll have to deal with this mess somehow, so I'm free to focus my thoughts on God and not my hurt feelings.

“They will soar on wings like eagles …”

I’m so tired. I just want to rest. I just want a day of peace, one day with no conflicts, no heaviness …

“They will run and not grow weary …”

What I want is to go back to bed. I want to sleep and sleep and sleep.

“They will walk and not be faint.”

For the briefest second, I think, “All right, Tera, you know it well enough. You can stop now.” But then I hear the words God is speaking through my daughter.

It’s for me.

Thank You, Lord, for reminding me of the promise. When will I learn? The rest, the strength I need is in Your Word. Keep drawing me, Father. Keep me drinking from that well.

Strengthen me, Lord

8 Comment:

At 7/15/2005 12:45 PM, Blogger Fishkrisser <> had this to say ...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 7/15/2005 1:08 PM, Blogger Fishkrisser <> had this to say ...

Sorry I deleted my post but I forgot to do a spell check and when I read my post to check it I noticed a couple of spelleeng errors and I'm kinda anal when it comes to grammar. At least about the stuff I notice of my own. That's ok though Shannon cause I didn't alter its original content, I just made a couple spelling rongs, right! Here's the post that I made such a big hum about k! :-)

I'm gonna have to be honest with you Shay (that's your new nickname if thats ok, "The Ultimate Shay") your writings are probably the some of the longest things that I read, which proves that I don't read much at all but still. The reason why that is, is because I have a short attention span unless I'm doing something really active like volleyball (which won't be happening anytime soon). I'll get to the point now.

When I read your post's I'm able to fly through them and I don't have to read them more than once to try to remember and understand what you wrote. If I read it more than once it's because of how good I thought it was (sorry I meant think it is). I don't know if I made complete sense to you but in my own non-creative writing way I am complimenting you and flattering you (sorry if I made you blush). I guess I could just go with the generic post reply though and say "That was really good Shannon, you cut me deep! keep it up. Thanks", but I don't like being the same or plain because regardless of what Brad Pitt might say in Fight Club I am a beautiful and unique snowflake...

At 7/15/2005 6:23 PM, Blogger fannie had this to say ...

Thank you for your post today. I am a pastor's wife, and you nailed me with your verse. There are days I want to give up. There are days it doesn't seem worth it. There are days I wish my husband were a bricklayer so I could throw one or two. :-)
I needed the reminder of His strength.

I'll take another sip from that well. And trust Him.

At 7/15/2005 6:43 PM, Anonymous Carol Cool had this to say ...

I guess there are a lot of us ministry wives who don't fit the mold (and since the mold broke back in the 1950s, most of the women who fit the mold have been "promoted to glory" as they say in the Salvation Army). It can be exhausting. How many times I have told God I don't have the personality for this job. But I think he just laughs. You so eloquently reminded me that he has and is all I need.

At 7/15/2005 10:04 PM, Blogger shannon had this to say ...

Fish, thank you for such a nice comment. And for making me laugh there at the end, you beautiful snowflake. :) The real question is this: when you're back on your feet and the internet isn't your sole source of entertainment, will you still have the patience for my long posts? Time will tell ...

Hello, Fannie and Carol! So glad to meet two other ministry wives.

Fannie, we all feel like that sometime. I sometimes envy others who are free to take a weekend here and there or free to skip meetings just because they're tired. But then I (as I'm sure you do, too) remind myself of Who we're serving, and my joy and sense of purpose is restored.

I agree, Carol. I was so terrified of being a pastor's wife in the beginning for the very reason that I didn't seem like any of the pw's I've known in the past. But I've learned over the years that God knows what He's doing. The people we have seem to fit both my husband and me pretty well. I'm thankful He can override my rough spots. :)

God bless you both!

At 7/16/2005 12:04 PM, Anonymous Karen Woodward had this to say ...

Hello! Lori Seaborg at homeschoolblogger encouraged me to come here and read your blog. I can really relate to what you said about not fitting the mold. I am a missionary wife and I always wonder why God chose me. Thank you for your words of encouragement.

At 7/16/2005 6:53 PM, Blogger Fishkrisser <> had this to say ...

Well Shannon I will have you know that I actually took time out of my work lunch hour to post. It wasn't because my leg hindered me to do anything else. I mean c'mon give me more credit than that. But in a way your right I guess, I suppose that time will tell.

At 7/19/2005 9:52 PM, Anonymous Sandra had this to say ...

One time I told God, I don't WANT to be a Pastor's Wife. He answered, concern yourself with your position in Me, and I'll concern Myself with your position in the world.


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