I got to visit with one of my dear friends today. We spoke of where we are in our lives. The last time we saw each other I was cleaning out my office at the Wesley Foundation. I remember her words to me then, "It doesn't look right, but it doesn't look wrong." Today she said to me, "You look years younger than you did this time last year." I see myself in the mirror every day. I wasn't aware of how outwardly noticeable the changes in my spirit have been.
I remain wonder struck. This weekend will be my oldest son's seventh birthday. It is the first time in his life that I can enjoy his special day without being weighed down with concerns and worries about the beginning of fall semester. For the first time I don't have to rush off to another back to campus event. For the first time, planning my little boy's birthday party can be the most important thing in my life during the weekend that freshmen move in to campus. It is wonderful to me.
This morning I sat beside my sweet boy on the floor as he ate dry Trix cereal before going to school. I looked at his feet, noticing how they look more like my husband's feet than mine. I had never noticed before. It was a quiet, beautiful moment. I noticed because there is room inside of me for such observations. There didn't quite seem to be that kind of room several months ago.
It is almost as if whole parts of my being went to sleep in the pressure cooker I was living in. I didn't even recognize my own diminished capacity for joy; who knows when it quietly slipped away. Well, actually I am very aware of Who knows. I believe it is why He did for me what I could not do for myself: give me freedom. At the time, I was devastated. Today I can see God's goodness in it. He is so good.
My friend spoke wistfully of cup filling. She had attended a women's group at church one time where each participant was asked to fill a clear plastic cup with water and set it where it would be visible. Each week she was to mark the water line. Of course as time passed less and less water remained in the cup. What was there became stagnant. The point was that no one else fills our cups for us. When we always pour into every one else, ignoring the condition of our own hearts, eventually we have nothing left to give, and what is there to give isn't worth having. As she explained the dynamic to me, I began to sense that God used the events of the last few months show me how empty my own cup had become.
It's hard talking about the oppression I used to live in. It seems like talking about it brings the feelings of suffocation back. But at the same time I know that I must articulate the differences, simply so I can
recognize them and fully own the the changes that have come forth. I know that if I fall asleep again I can walk right back into the same kind of prison I was in, simply with different wall paper. Really I want to be free. This is a season for learning to walk tall in this God gifted freedom.