We are in the mountains of North Carolina this week celebrating our 33rd anniversary (24th). It has been a beautiful week. Our daughter, son-in-love and two grandchildren were able to join us from Saturday until this morning, and now we have the rest of the week to enjoy being together–alone.
As they packed up and prepared to leave, we wanted to go with them to a local coffee shop first. When we pulled into the parking lot at 11a., we were surprised to see the “Closed” sign in the window. I got out to see if the shop was indeed closed.
The door opened and the shop owner apologized for forgetting to switch the sign. We were glad the sign in the window was wrong. It meant we would have coffee after all, and a few more minutes to enjoy being together before saying the dreaded “goodbye.”
It made me think about something with which the Lord has been dealing with me.
When a couple first gets married, they enter a season of receiving many gifts from the Lord–wedding presents, homes, children, careers, memories, two lives becoming one. It is all so wonderful. We receive each gift from the Lord with gratefulness and joy. Our hands are gladly opened to receive from His gracious, loving hand.
After a couple of decades the Lord starts removing things. This isn’t as easy as we think it will be. Our first child moves away to go to college or to get married. The room they used to keep so messy, suddenly stays clean–all the time. And it brings sadness, not joy. We can be tempted to wish things were like they used to be. But it never will.
Life moves forward. Our hearts must embrace these changes or be forever stuck in the past.
Tom and I are in the season of letting go of more and more in our lives. It has been hard, especially for me. I am one who holds on to those I love tightly, because I’m supposed to. I’m the Mom, and this is what love does, does it not? Or is it more loving to let go, and trust God?
I recently was pouring my heart out to Tom about how hard it is to have our daughter live so far away. What he shared with me was profound, and it has changed how I will view life from here on out; He held out his opened hand saying, “When we keep our hands opened, God is free to give and to take away as much as He wants. Our capacity is much more than when we grab hold of what we’ve got. A clutching hand is limited to the size of the palm. An opened hand can handle as much as the Lord wants to pile on.”
I was quite affected by Tom’s simple metaphor.
I had been clutching when the Lord obviously wanted me to keep an open hand. Like the coffee shop, a closed sign limits who can enter. An open sign invites the world in to come and stay for as long as they wish.
I want to be open, not closed. But I must pay attention to the sign I have in the window, and what I’m communicating to those I love. If I’m open to all the Lord has for them, they will be free to follow HIM, not me. This is what I’ve prayed for, and this is good. I’m just grateful I have a husband who is there to help me remember to change the sign. Otherwise my heart would never be open to take on more from the Lord.
What sign is in your window? Open or Closed?