The Lord in his sweetness has been giving me gentle, tangible lessons during this season of my life springing from the things I do every day.
I have to admit that part of me grieved when Ian returned to us as I realized that I wouldn’t have that extra free time I thought I would with Olivia starting school in April. I wouldn’t have those free mornings to do extended Bible study; writing; getting caught up on the projects I have dreamed about the last few years. Not once have I regretted the Lord’s bringing a fourth child into our lives; but I have realized that I need to let go of some of my dreams for now, and perhaps for the future as well.
It was precisely as I was thinking about these things, and adjusting to the long-term notion of four children, that I came across a Brazilian theologian named Valdir Steuernagel. I read some of his work on the theology of Mary, and was completely enthralled. He writes this:
“For theology to have the taste of God’s things, and the smell of transcendence, it has to be born in the unexpected encounter that happens in the messy kitchen. Wasn’t that so with Mary?”
Theology — messy kitchen — in the same sentence no less. OVER HERE GOD! Have I got the place for you to speak and to be doing some transcendent encounters!
I think in a very profound way Steurnagel’s survey of Mary’s life has hit home — my home. God surprised Mary while she was, perhaps, scrubbing pots in a messy kitchen, wearing an apron. He did not pull her out of her context nor tell her that He would wait until her life was devoid of everydayness. Rather, he stepped into that world where she lived. And He wants to step into our everyday worlds, and bring realness and bring truth and bring perspective that makes sense purely because it is in the midst of our everyday worlds.
These truths have brought more hope and fresh air into my world than the blossoming plums outside our window. Really. My life feels a bit insane at times. And utterly mundane (how many loads of wash again did I hang out this week? And fold? And put away?). But it also feels very sacred. I have been practicing the task of looking for God in my everydayness. Or allowing God to appear. To speak. To encourage me. To rebuke me (“How’s that yelling working out for you, Sue?”). To make, and to find beauty out of this life He has called me to.
So I will at times on this blog continue my apron theology thoughts… sharing what God is teaching me as we walk this life together.
Yesterday I read a wonderful Psalm as I started my morning that has never stood out for me before. Psalm 131:1b, 2:
“I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me. But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; my soul is like the weaned child that is with me.”
My favorite times of day recently have been those few minutes after retrieving Ian from his naps. When I pick him up, he usually curls his arms around me, almost in an intentional embrace. I walk down the stairs, treasuring his warmth and his cuddles and I plant little kisses on his cheek. He is completely at rest, thoroughly trusting me to handle him with love and care.
So I’ve thought about this posture the past two days… it is one that the Father wants from me. To choose to calm and quiet my soul; to lean into my Father’s love; to allow His quiet strength to carry me through the day. Even when our three year old “cleans” our laptop using the water spray bottle. Or our parakeet S’Mores dies (yesterday — we are still all very sad). Or I am just tired. I know that Jesus wants this apron-clad mom to even more lean into His very real and sufficient grace as He meets with me in my everyday life.