Monday, July 10, 2017

First Cup, Second Cup (Part Two)

"Let me hear in the morning of your steadfast love, for in you I trust. Make me know the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul."
Psalm 143:8 ESV

    In my last blog entry, I began writing about my thoughts on "second cup"--that rare bonus time of the day when  I get to enjoy a fresh cup of tea as well as fresh insights during my quiet time with God. If I am fortunate enough to have the luxury of that second cup, it is a relaxing and renewing time, when I breathe more deeply and pray more fervently. On a good day, it's also when I listen more quietly. It doesn't happen every day, but, when it does, I am grateful for it.
      As I was writing that blog entry, God was allowing me to see that cup of tea and that time more metaphorically--not only as a literal cup of tea that I sometimes get to enjoy in the mornings with the birds and the Lord, but also as a symbol for this period in my life. It has taken me awhile to mull over this idea, as evidenced by the two weeks that have transpired since my last entry.
     This is a time of transitions for our family--sort of a second chapter. Our youngest child was graduated from her university  recently, and we no longer have college bills to pay. Hallelujah! I saw an ad for a back-to-school sale and realized it doesn't apply to us. And, for the first time since 1981, there is no need to plan our family calendar around those dates delineated by the school calendar. How different this is from all my years of actively "mothering".
     Our loved ones don't seem to need us in the same ways they have in the past. For example, our parenting role, though not over, certainly is changing in its function. Our children no longer need us in the way they used to. They are all grown and have their own lives to lead. My aging parents need us at times, but they remain independent. I am grateful that we get to spend time with them. What a source of wise counsel they are to us!
      Even our living arrangements have changed. My husband works in Austin, yet I work in Tyler. Since we work in different places, we maintain two homes while trying to spend as much time together as we can. We would like to be able to spend more time in the same place--together!  Although we love our homes, we are challenged by their upkeep.  Frankly, we need to downsize.   While I still continue to practice medicine, I also actively serve on a governing board in Austin. One or the other of us is on the road traveling between the two places nearly every weekend.
     Our lives, however, are not solely about work and responsibilities. We want time for rest and for creativity. We also want to visit all our children and grandchildren whenever we can, and those grandchildren live far away. Although we would love to spend more time with friends, we find it difficult to do so since we are not in the same place at the same time for very long. Those who know me well would affirm that I would rather be singing, no matter where I am. The frequent traveling often precludes that. My suitcase is nearly always out. I unpack and wash the things from my last trip, only to be preparing and packing my clothes for the next.
      I find myself wondering what God has in store for us during this part of our lives. It seems awfully chaotic for me to make any sense of it. I can't help but wonder, "Where are we going with this, Lord?"  Above all, we want to be in the place that He wants, doing what He desires of us. Fortunately for us, we don't need to "lean on our own understanding". Perhaps He is preparing us for our "second cup". 
      I think about the beautiful old song, "Fill My Cup, Lord", and how I've sung it many times:

"Fill my cup, Lord.
I lift it up,Lord.
Come and quench this thirsting of my soul.
Bread of Heaven,
Feed me 'til I want no more.
Fill my cup.
Fill it up,
And make me whole."

      God has filled my cup. He has quenched my thirst and fed me with the bread of life. I have been satisfied with Jesus. But, instead of that being my only cup, I am realizing that finishing a "first cup" may mean there is now room for a second. God is able and wanting to fill it. He's offering us a second helping.  
      We don't know where God is directing us, but we do know that He is. God has a second cup for us – – the second chapter during which he wants us to be active and fruitful. 
Lord, here is my cup. I'm holding it out to you.

" For you, O Lord, are my hope, my trust, O Lord, from my youth. Upon you I have leaned from before my birth; you are He who took me from my mother's womb. My praise is continually of you."
"My mouth is filled with your praise, and with your glory all the day. Do not cast me off in the time of old age; forsake me not when my strength is spent."
"But I will hope continually and will praise you yet more and more. My mouth will tell of your righteous acts, of your deeds of salvation all the day, for their number is past my knowledge.
With the mighty deeds of the Lord God I will come; I will remind them of your righteousness, yours alone. O God, from my youth you have taught me, and I still proclaim your wondrous deeds. So even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me, until I proclaim your might to another generation, your power to all those to come."
"You who have made me see many troubles and calamities will revive me again; from the depths of the earth you will bring me up again. You will increase my greatness and comfort me again. I will also praise you with the harp for your faithfulness, oh my God; I will sing praises to you with the lyre, oh holy one of Israel. My lips will shout for joy, when I sing praises to you; my soul also, which you have redeemed. And my tongue will talk of your righteous help all the day long."
Psalm 71: 5-6, 8-9, 14-18, 20-24. ESV

     


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