Recently I joined a small group of women for five weeks of pondering sessions through the Biblical book of Ruth and my devotional book 31 Days of Gleaning with Ruth: questioning my way through a famine season was our discussion guide. My devotional book used a list of 31 words and each word was the topic from which each daily devotional was written. At the same time, the book of Ruth was the subject matter for study in God's Word.
It's an interesting concept. I hope you might purchase a copy for your summer reading and ask a couple of friends to join you in a discussion group.
At the end of our five weeks together, we joined in fellowship around a table to share a meal and discuss some of our gleanings from our time together. One woman suggested that we continue together through the summer by writing creatively on one word. She asked if I would be willing to send out 'a word' a week for each of us to ponder and write about.
Obviously, I said, "Of course, I would love to do this summer creative writing with y'all!" And here we are with our first word:
I'm going to set my timer for five minutes and see how far I get with this one word prompt today. Don't be afraid to try. Do it scared, I say! Come on jump in. You'll like it!
He who is full loathes honey, but to the hungry even what is bitter tastes sweet.
Proverbs 27:7 NIV
It is the maddening month of May as a good friend calls this beautiful spring month in the south. If you have children who are school age or have any association with schools you probably know what she means by the maddening month of May.
Here in my community, we've deemed May far more chaotic for the family life than the month of December!
Anyway, in this month of May, I think of graduations and prom and college visits, and I think of weddings. All of these events have a tendency to cause parents and grandparents to exclaim, "It's all so bittersweet!"
As for children and graduations, proms and the like, this is an exciting time of growing up. All of these activities are mile-markers of maturity, which eventually lead to those precious babies climbing up on the edge of the nest. And you know what's next; with a bit of a nudge, they flap their baby wings and begin to fly!
I constantly reminded our sons that we were in the business of raising them to be responsible and independent men who would long to leave our nest to make their own one day. All that nudging out onto the edge was prompted by some bitter moments. Many of us will face those issues which help us to accept the fact they are not meant to live with us in our home forever. They are the bitter in the bittersweet.
Oh, but the JOY of watching them fly free! Now that is sweet...
(Five minutes are up... I'm going to finish my ponder though. I'm on a roll)
The Proverb above reminded me of the bittersweet of growing young boys into men. Parenting is not for the faint of heart or the impatient or the perfectionist. In fact, I'm pretty sure God gave me children to help scrub all of those things right out of my character.
As parents, at all the various stages, we get hungry. We hunger for some sign of success. In the drought seasons of family life, we wonder if any of those seeds we planted have taken root. We long for evidence.
I'm not even asking for fruit, Lord. Could you just show me a sprout? Something green so I know there's something rooted down there below the surface!"
I've never really thought about this proverb of God in this light, but today I see it. I know God's Word is true. And yes, sometimes in parenting, we grow hungry. Some of the perfection we once longed for fades in light of some bitter circumstances. However, the love of God filled up in a parent will cause even the bitter to taste sweet as the circumstances become an opportunity for discipleship.
Lord, Jesus, may we hunger just enough that we crave You in the bitter knowing you will turn our dining with You to sweetness. Help us to be filled up with Your love for our children and for our neighbors. And may give thanks to You, God, for all the bittersweet moments You allow in our lives because they are evidence of life and growth and maturity.
Eyes on You, Jesus... let us Shine with Your glory!