Beware of feeling entitled to my good gifts. Receive blessings from me thankfully, yet be willing to release them back to be — without growing resentful.
When I read these words, out of Sarah Young’s Jesus Today this week I realized that I was holding onto the good gifts of my summer.
When I arrived in Arkansas in June I began to soak in every detail.
I drank deeply of place and people I dearly love.
Constantly welling up with emotion and awe at being granted a summer season at home.
But towards the end of the summer, and on my return to Scotland I was holding everything with tight fists.
Big things and little things.
Oldest son and parents and family and friends.
Hot sun and swimming pool and Vitamix smoothies and bottomless bowls of tortilla chips.
They were mine and I wanted them.
Not just for a season, but for all seasons.
Beware of feeling entitled to my good gifts.
Oh yes, entitlement was rearing its ugly head in my heart.
And so it is time. It is past time.
To list as many of the incredible gifts of a summer at home that I can remember.
And then to open my hands to the sky.
And let them go.
Because my God is a good God.
And He has more good gifts to give.
And though I don’t know what they are and maybe like a spoiled child, I think I do not want them, I am trying.
I still have another phase of letting go in the days ahead. (Saying goodbye to Scotland.)
And then I am praying that God will begin the wrenching open of my heart to what is next.
familiar faces at the airport // feeling the hot night air // sweating // driving my mama’s car into the Ozark Mountains // gorgeous green trees and hills // arriving at camp and finding Cole // big hugs and sweet reunions // Ben jumping in on work crew and Simon jumping in as a camper // my three boys together, serving, loving // goody bags from friends // going into church and seeing so many faces I love // hearing Dena sing and Harold preach // the smell of honeysuckles // bunnies on the walking path // black-eyed susans // the sticky scent of summer // going to the Boultinghouse’s farm // Sandy and Carol holding a baby lamb // fresh pesto with basil from the garden //
going to the pool // American flags all over everything // Sonic happy hour // the smell of sunscreen // flip flops // Simon with his cousins // making smoothies in my mama’s Vitamix blender // seeing Daddy up early in the mornings with his books, getting ready to preach // long flowy skirts // singing at church // smelling like a mix of a dozen perfumes after so many hugs at church // being with my daddy on Father’s Day // celebrating SB’s bday at Bev’s and laughing so hard // bran muffins // live jazz bar with my princesas // pedicures // sticky sweaty walking with my Mama // Simon’s birthday // chik-fil-a // chocolate cake and Blue Bell vanilla ice cream // getting gas station fountain drinks with Simon // Ben riding the Halls’ borrowed scooter up and down the street // seeing my aunt for the first time in three years // meeting up with friends // froyo // watermelons and berries // biting into a peach and the juice drizzling down my chin
Peter and Whitney inviting Simon and me to Fort Morgan // Mama keeping, loving, cooking for Ben and Cole // sandy feet // chairs and a tent all set up // Simon squealing when he realized how warm the water was // floating in the waves // Peter making breakfast // coffee and mimosas in the morning // dinners together with lots of friends // kids looking for crabs with flashlights // going for long walks by myself in the morning // seeing the sun rise over the water // fresh fish // a little bit of sunburn sting // fireworks on the beach // Lulu’s // laughing so hard // catching up with old friends // meeting new friends // shrimp and grits // glowsticks // Simon piled on the couch with Wilson and Campbell, reading // Whitney taking photos // shrimp boil in the rain // being still // Chris playing guitar // chairs in a circle // talking to Taido and MP, both celebrating big accomplishments: a turned in thesis, school finished well
Simon and I making our flight to Chicago even though we were sitting at the wrong gate // a new house // Fourth of July // lemonade stand // sleeping in my Grandmother’s old bed // working with Anna at Blackberry // backyard fire pit // s’mores // walking to the library and the park // picking raspberries in the old backyard // Taido and MP arriving // processing this hard in between time together with Taido // Bob and Anna loaning us their car // road trip to Arkansas // laughing hard // music // taking five cousins to meet up with the other four // Simon’s reunion with Campbell and Wilson // 9 cousins at the pool // playing “Empire” // singing in the choir with Peter, MP and Emily // Simon’s baptism // Taido preaching // letter from my sweet friend in Scotland // rainy afternoon // watching movies and eating popcorn // six big cousins staying up late together // coffee and tears in the early morning with Diane // homemade popsicles // outlet mall shopping // giant chick-fil-a nugget platter at the pool // drinks with Carol // four cousins to youth group // MP seeing her friends // Taido getting a “yes” from Tubingen
Road trip to Denver // CoraFaye’s Soul Food // Picking up Anna // Trader Joes // finding Daddy at the campsite outside of Lake City // Last car arriving // Everyone finding their spots in tents and hanging up hammocks // All nine cousins around a campfire // Taido and I having our own tent // Aspen trees // lunch and ice cream in Lake City // boys buying slingshots and knives // playing Empire and Bungalo // the sound of the river running // being with Cole on his 19th birthday // Daddy giving wild rides in his car // Ouray Hot Springs // everyone racing on the obstacle course in the water // Peter giving the name “Malachi” for our burger order–making us laugh // sharing highs and lows around the campfire // TC making salmon and “special pasta” // walking to the river to get more “perfect” stones for the slingshots // reading in a tent in the rain // peak climb for six big cousins // lunch in town with three “littles” // chicken fried steak // kids sad to be leaving camp // last night at a hotel in Pueblo // swimming and grilling burgers // Phineas choosing John Stott and Mama choosing Jason Mraz for the last round of Empire // praying for each other by the pool
giant washing machine and dryer // being back at the pool, back in the hot sun // lunch with the Halls // dinner with Earles // hearing Bobby preach // singing Victory in Jesus // sitting with Nikki // crying through church // crying to Sarabeth on Sunday afternoon // Mexican food and margaritas // walking with Mama // taking MP to the farm to talk about her trip to Kenya with the Boultinghouses // thank you dinner at the Eubanks // jumping in the pool at the end // Diane’s prayers // early morning family photos with Whitney // saying goodbye to Cole and MP and Taido // calmer dinner table with only 4 grandkids // watching Napoleon Dynamite // frozen yogurt with a friend // dinner and late night drinks at The Pantry with friends // River Market peaches // breakfast at Community Bakery // pool, pool, pool // playing games with Simon and Campbell // Daddy’s sermon on hope // singing It is Well // praying with Skyla // summer farmers’ market dinner // meeting Kelly for coffee // walking on the Big Dam Bridge with Donna // being hot and sweaty and still loving it // Blackberry Pie // final trip to the pool // Ben at Good Eats // saggy bathing suit bottoms on little kids at the end of summer // early coffee with Diane and Tanja // making sushi with Cole, Wilson, Simon and Whitney // crepes on our last morning // tears // the hard goodbye // seeing familiar faces at the airport // welcome ladies passing out mints // strangers who call me “sweetie” // that being so sad is an indicator of so much love