TIME TO WAVE THE WHITE FLAG

Ready to surrender?

Ready to surrender?

By Lisa Huddleston

“See, I am setting before you the way of life and the way of death. Whoever stays in this city will die by the sword, famine or plague. But whoever goes out and surrenders to the Babylonians who are besieging you will live; he will escape with his life” (Jeremiah 21:8-9).

I have written on this passage of scripture before; but every time I read it, I am struck anew by its counterintuitive, countercultural way of following God’s will—SURRENDER.

And not to some glorious call to service in an exotic and exciting location. Nope. God told his people to surrender to a brutal and foreign and heathen king.

How could that be God’s will for his people? To command them to serve and pray for a heathen kingdom? But that was exactly what he required.

It was shocking then, and it is shocking today. But sometimes God’s will is like that. It goes against what we and the culture around us expects—even the religious culture. (Disclaimer: God will never command us to sin!)

In Jeremiah’s day, God’s will was for his people to surrender to a heathen king. No glamour, no glory, no obvious victory.

For me today, it may be to lead a quiet, contemplative life here on Hudfarm, far away from the busyness that my world applauds both inside and outside the church.

What is God’s surprising, even countercultural will for you? He promises, “You will … find [him] when you seek [him] with all your heart” (Jer. 29:13)!

Ready to wave the white flag?

THANKFUL FOR THE QUIET LIFE

Learning to spin.

Learning to spin.

By Lisa Huddleston

For many years I’ve had a special attachment to some words in a letter sent by the Apostle Paul to the Christ-followers living and worshiping in Thessalonica:   “… make it your ambition to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody” (I Thess. 4:11-12).

These words have meant different things to me over the years as I worked to raise my children, take care of my family, home school, serve at church, and live a purposeful life. Sometimes I didn’t want my quiet life. Where was the glory? Where was the glamour? Surely not in the laundry room or the kitchen or the schoolroom. And most surely not in the empty nest that was left behind when my chicks flew off. Sometimes I mourned the careers I could have had if I had not stayed at home.

My first handspun skein. Lumpy and luscious!

My first handspun skein. Lumpy and luscious!

But at other times, I just felt blessed. And that is the feeling that lingers today and keeps me pushing on in the path of my Quiet Life–blessing. My work has changed but my calling has not, and it makes me smile to find myself more and more drawn into literal hand work in the world of fiber arts. From knitting to weaving to spinning, I have discovered a deep satisfaction and sense of quiet purpose that is pulling me deeper into this woollen world of peace.

Surely, we (Chuck) can do this!

Surely, we (Chuck) can do this!

 

 

I’ve already written about the vision that is growing in me, about a studio full of creative work, about raising animals, and shearing, spinning, weaving, and knitting their wool, and about the ways my husband and I will be able to work together in these creative new endeavors. I am excited to think about our future, but I am also thankful for the work I have today and blessed by this Quiet Life I’m leading right this very minute. Even if none of my vision actually comes to pass, I know I will have business to mind, work to do, and a Quiet Life to live.

And today I am thankful for the words Paul wrote, thankful for the many different ways of living them out that are weaving themselves into my life, and thankful for the new works my hands are discovering.

Baruch haShem.

TENDING A QUIET LIFE

Feeding the Quiet Life.

Feeding the Quiet Life.

By Lisa Huddleston

When I was a life coach, one of the hardest things for most of my clients to believe was that taking care of yourself was not being selfish. It was actually the best thing you could do for yourself as well as for everyone who had to be around you. When you are well-fed physically and spiritually, you can give to others from the abundance of your life. When you are starving and puny, you may try to keep on giving, but your efforts will be mighty weak. And if you are anything like me, no one will want to be around you while you groan and whine and generally become a pain in the neck.

Naturally, that good advice is as easy for me to overlook as it was for my clients. In fact, if I am not super vigilant, I will allow too many activities to push me over my mental health cliff (always a short push!). For example, last Friday was Concrete Pouring Day. Yes, it deserves capital letters as it is a big deal around here. Chuck had spent all week preparing the ground for Friday, and I spent it worrying, I guess. Sure, getting the house ready for my son and his friends took some time. And going to the grocery store to load up on food for hungry workers took some more time. And cooking took some … well, you see where I headed.

I have a very low tolerance for busy-ness. I like to ease into my day with several cups of coffee, some good reading and then some good pondering. (Today is a good day!) Housework, tutoring, visits with friends, mowing, and other activities are carefully spread throughout the week so as not to stress me out too much. But I can’t always control my time as carefully as I need to and that’s when things (mainly me) get ugly.

I really do see how blessed I am. Not everyone has the freedom I do. And that knowledge makes me feel guilty and selfish. Just like my clients did. But as my dear husband pointed out recently, how terrible to have such a gift and then to reject it. Talk about selfish! He reminded me that God has placed me where I am and that my writing and availability to others are my work. And, despite my guilt and feeling selfish, I am starting to see what he means.

Yesterday I read a passage from the Book of Acts, and verse 3:15 appeared in neon letters: “And you killed the source of life whom God raised from the dead.” Jesus didn’t come as the expected Messiah should have. The people were looking for a Warrior King and instead received a Carpenter Rabbi. Instead of realigning their expectations to match what God had given, they stubbornly kept their misguided beliefs in place and killed the very source of life! And that is so often what I do. I devalue the gift of my “Quiet Life” and try to be what I am not–and sometimes I come way too close to killing the source of my life. The further away I move from where God has put me, the further I move from Him.

This morning’s readings reiterated that same truth: “In the same way a Christian can lose the Christ-life which has been put into him, and he has to make efforts to keep it. But even the best Christian that ever lived is not acting on his own steam–he is only nourishing or protecting a life he could never have acquired by his own efforts” (Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis; emphasis mine).

I could never have acquired this life on my own–neither physically nor spiritually. God has put me where I am, here in a “Quiet Life” on Hudfarm, and it is my job to feed it and look after it. Thanks for the reminder, Coach.