For years, while raising our kids, part of my “Plate of Life” included a daily routine of packing lunches, making breakfast, and cooking dinner. I really found fulfillment in it and found myself duplicating what my mother did for me when I was growing up.
I don’t regret one minute of this daily pleasure/job. Meal time, especially dinner with the 5 of us, is one thing I miss most on the Back 9 and even more now that we have an empty nest. It was a time when our family gathered over much conversation, laughter, and a whole lot of eating. Overall, it was a time of day that I looked forward to with great anticipation. In the last 3 years I have had to lean heavily into God to show me on the Back 9 what I could do to not be too sad about the changes in meal time and how to replace that time in a positive, fulfilling way.
Bill probably would tell you he misses the meals at home, but now we go out for dinner more often than not. It is refreshing to go about my day and not think so much about planning dinner. We often get to try out different places to eat and I especially enjoy it when we can fellowship with others. We love to take young people out for dinner. Fortunately, we have made friends with college students and love taking them to dinner. It allows us opportunity to be involved in their lives while they are here in Columbia and hopefully for a long time thereafter! Many of them call me “Mama B” which is a pet name I have really enjoyed acquiring. In looking back over the last three years of empty nest, none of the years look the same….in fact, my days are anything but routine so far on the Back 9, very much unlike the daily Routine and the “Plate of LIfe” I loved on the Front 9.
Trust……I believe is one thing that God has sitting in a prominent place on my “Plate of Life” for the Back 9. God knows I am a planner, organizer, and love to be proactive…. and I am at one of those places….where I believe God is smiling…Let me pause here: If you have been a steady reader of the Back 9 posts, you know by now that I am a firm believer in God having a sense of humor, especially when His plan involves teaching, stretching and challenging one of His children who has been a believer for a very long time!
God is smiling because He is continually “shaking things up in my life,” getting rid of the routines…..and has given me a “Plate of Life” that is unpredictable and NEW every day. I now have 3 years of experience under my belt and looking back, I can testify there has been a “real shaking” going on. Life in the Back 9 has been anything but predictable! What I had thought it would look like…….doesn’t even resemble what it has been.
The scripture that has been the most comforting to me has been Psalm 91, “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty, I will say to the Lord, ‘My refuge and my fortress may God in whom I trust.'” The whole Psalm has been one I have prayed and read over and over again, partly because there have been some real disappointments and challenges for our kids. God has used them all to teach us to Trust Him with blind faith when we didn’t understand. Even looking at the recent and sudden stroke my dad suffered right in front of me was a “real shake up” of having to TRUST in God and the unknown.
I would be lying if I said I wouldn’t want to change some of the things in the last 3 years. The end of the story has not been written on some things, but because of the nature and character of God, I know that I know that, even the pain and suffering we have experienced is for our good. I also know that we are not assigned a “pain-free life,” in fact, no one is. I Corinthians 15:57-58 reminds us that our labor is not in vain, “But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.”
Trust….Blind Trust is what I want to encourage you to choose. God will not take you to a place that He will not see you through. HE is the only one who has the whole view of your life…. learning to walk by faith and trust and not by sight…..allows you to SEE HIM more clearly….I have found if everything were predictable and manageable, I might take too much of the credit….thus not having my eyes on HIM……self-reliance is not where God intends for us to live……HE intends for us to “ride on his shoulders!”
Psalm 9:10, “Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.”