By Joy Casey
During February I had two times “away” where I quit doing and took time to just be. These unique interludes caused me to reflect on spiritual things and gave me time to think about other aspects of life, too.
The first part of February our staff had a retreat. Of course, we picked the coldest weekend of the winter so we couldn’t sit outdoors and have s’mores around the fire pit and sing Kum bay ya… (thankfully for the latter, disappointing for the former), but we gathered as a team at beautiful YWAM Discovery Bay and thoroughly enjoyed time to laugh, pray and get to know one another better on a personal level without interruption.
Later in February I flew to Montana to be with my big sis and 95-year-old mother for a week. I have impeccable timing and picked the snowiest week of the winter so far… but it was beautiful and quiet as only a snow-filled landscape can be. No one expected us to go anywhere and the scenes out my mother’s window looking at the Bitterroot Mountains were breathtaking.
10 THINGS I LEARNED IN FEBRUARY
1. I despise the word “wait”. This word has become an anathema to me over the years and I blame it all on adoption work. Painful waiting started with my own two adoptions that grew into working in the adoption field (what was I thinking?) and “The Wait” has morphed into sinister draconian dread and frustration since working in Ethiopia. Yet … God has been whispering to me about Waiting who is the twin of Patience. Impatience and I have regular coffee klatches, and Impatience almost convinced me that she was virtuous! She most definitely is not, and God’s Spirit and His Word are gently revamping my perspective.
2. The only thing consistent is change. For people like me who like things nice and tidy and predictable, embracing this truth is a huge step. It is also liberating. I hope that with my newfound acceptance of the inevitability of change I will hold most things loosely while holding tightly to God’s Word.
3. This month I have taken another small step to consciously step aside and allow God to author my life. Most of the time I have only permitted him to edit my plans, but God is not just an editor. He wants to write my biography. When hard chapters come, I am confident He will meld it into His epic story.
4. I have enjoyed relaxing. I blame my constant need for projects and outcomes on my father’s Scottish heritage (I can’t blame it on the Irish half!), but I have always felt guilty doing nothing. And, worst of all, I turned the guilt into virtue which made me look down on dreamers and those who were not driven. Really ugly. But I loved sitting with my mother who is mentally acute but physically handicapped and marveling with her on the incredible scenes displayed outside her window. Playing cards with her of an afternoon or giggling with my sister at midnight when we should be sleeping opened my eyes to the wonderful refreshment of doing nothing but being in the moment with those I love.
5. A cozy fire and a good book are two of life’s special joys, made even better while sipping a cup of Lady Grey tea.
6. I learned that I will never get over my son’s death, and I never want to. He was born on Valentine’s Day and these last 3 ½ years since he died, February has been a dreaded month. This year, in a very private way, I celebrated his life and allowed myself to remember.
7. Becky is an inspiration to me. She is our Ethiopia administrator and does everything with excellence and she has become my good, good friend. Her dedication to detail and her integrity and desire to change and grow as God would have her has always been her hallmark, but this month I have slowed down enough to process and verbalize the immense impact she (and her husband Jeff) has had on my life.
8. If I know something is very, very wrong, do I do enough to stop it? There are two things I am passionate about. Most other things I can view with ambivalence or maybe have an opinion about, but children without families and babies who are deliberately denied life thrust me into the arena of action. But am I doing enough? Am I lending my voice, my resources, my talents, my energy, to end abortion and stand for the orphan?
9. The abundance of my life, the shear amount of blessings bestowed on me, unearned and undeserving, overwhelms me. Why was I given a wonderful family and place to live while others were born in less than optimal surroundings? Gratitude for all God has allowed in my life should define my every thought, word and action.
10. Sitting at our staff retreat with the incredible people God placed in this ministry to offer hope to pregnant women, adoptive families and children on two continents, demonstrated God’s ability to use every day common folks to impact lives, one person, one family at a time. But the thrust of our time together centered on sitting at His feet as our first and foremost priority. Only out of our intimate time with Jesus will come ministry pleasing to Him.