Saturday, November 19, 2016
This summer I spend a few days in Shipshewana, Indiana, which is Amish country. The group I was with stopped for lunch one day in a local restaurant and we chatted with the friendly waitress. We commented on how an unusual an experience it was for us to share the road with the Amish horse and buggies.
The waitress laughed and said... "We have a saying ...'Embrace the Pace' ".
It was a catchy phrase and echoed in my mind. Since then it has taken on very personal meaning for me. When life takes a sudden unexpected turn, you suddenly find your life-path blocked and you can no longer travel at your usual speed. Your focus has narrowed to the one thing that has 'slowed you down'.
Our initial reaction when we are suddenly encountered by a road block - be it on the street or in life - is to groan with impatience at the inconvenience and having to deal with the stress of necessary adjustments in our plans. Road blocks in life come to all of us at one time or another.
I have neglected my blog because in September my mom had a serious stroke and has been in hospice. Caring for her has demanded my daily focus and time, putting most everything else 'on hold'.
When we were told that our mother would not recover, we willingly took on the responsibility of her care 24/7. At first we were given the diagnosis that she did not have long to live, but the reality is that her condition plateaued and, though needing full care, is still with us after two months. Our own lives have been indefinitely 'put on hold' to make her our first and only priority.
That was my initial perspective - my own life 'put on hold' and the question was, how long could I put it on hold before I could of necessity pick it up again?
But then, I began to feel convicted that this was not how I should be looking at the change in my life - expecting and waiting for life to be 'normal' again so I could be in control of my own 'pace'.
"Embrace the Pace" took on deep spiritual application. I realized that if I truly believed that God was in control of my life, this too was something He had allowed and something that I needed to accept - yes, even embrace - in the same way I would willingly accept anything else from His hand.
Just as the motorists have to accommodate and slow down for the horses and buggies who share the road, so to I had to slow down and 'embrace the pace' set before me. The things that were important in my life were overshadowed by something more important. For this time in my life, I am as called to serve as in any other time,that I would more gladly choose.
In Shipshewana, I was privileged to have a ride in an Amish man's horse and buggy. I so enjoyed the experience - the hypnotic clip/clop of the horse's hooves on the pavement was stress-releasing and the unhurried pace allowed me to notice things the speeding motorists missed.
So also in life - embracing the pace - reveals and teaches us things we would otherwise never notice in the fast paced lanes of 'normal' life.
I do not think I am unique in struggling with impatience - and then feeling guilt for being impatient - for a difficult time to be over. But II Thess. 3:5 gives me the directive God leads me to -- Now may the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the patience of Christ.
First, knowing my heart is secure in the love of God and then, in that love allow the 'patience of Christ' to rule my emotions, is key to finding the peace that passes understanding. The peace that does not deny the difficult situation or circumstances or emotional pain, but calms the heart in the midst of it.
And then I need to remind myself that it is never in my own strength that I do the things before me ... but that the Lord's words to Paul are directed to me as well... "My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness." II Cor. 12:9
God makes no mistakes and when I am called to Embrace the Pace , I know that God walks it with me.