At my table today sat an inspiring woman. She’s a woman who has faced a great deal of hardship, for a great many years. Recently she had the courage to say ‘Enough!’ This has caused her even more hardship, but she’s stronger for it. She has lost much, but gained so much more. She told me today that she has only been able to do this with the strength that God has given her. She has felt his empowering, loving presence in so many ways.
We were sitting at my table enjoying Marcella Hazan’s ‘Tomato and Anchovy Sauce’ with spaghetti – having a lunch break after sanding and painting my old outdoor furniture set. One of the seats also required some serious nailing to keep things in place. With irony, and perhaps good timing, one of the slats broke while we were sitting having our morning coffee break. I hasten to add (as it was my seat that broke) that the furniture has needed restoring for some years. The breakage is in no way related to any weight that may or may not have been gained during my ‘Marcellan’ cooking adventures! (In fact, my ‘Marcellan’ adventures are helping in the losing of some pounds gained during earlier ‘Nigellan’ adventures)
Today’s writing challenge was an appropriate one to reflect on this evening. My house renovations, inside and out, are coming to an end. The whole project, while necessary, has been something which I have given to God, trusting that he would use it to bring fresh life into a weary heart. He has been doing that.
Yet, in some ways I am a little nervous of the project’s completion. I have moments where I fear the silence that might ensue, the sitting and wondering ‘What now?’ But again, I trust that God will give me plenty to ‘find’ in place of that which is ‘lost’. I also know that I follow a Saviour who promises that as I lose myself, I will gain everything. That ‘everything’ may not look like I expected – but it will be an ‘everything’ that lasts evermore.
My renovations have been part of ‘Losing Magnolia’. My adventures with Marcella’s cookbook have been part of ‘Losing a Magnolia Life.’ That is, losing a life that is safe – safe in the sense that it involves no degree of risk and every degree of grasping at security.
The thing that I have found, sometimes through my choosing, sometimes through God choosing it for me, is that the greatest security comes when I give up my stubborn efforts to keep control. When I let go of control, God steps in and leads me in paths I’d never have experienced before. Some paths by still waters and green pastures. Some through dark valleys with deathly shadows.
But life with him in control is nothing like a Magnolia life!
Oh, how I’m learning to love that Magnolia-free life!
Today, at my table: #31 ‘Tomato and Anchovy Sauce’ with spaghetti and a woman who knows God’s love and leading and absolutely no trace of Magnolia!