I worked my first three 12-hour shifts this week, and now I have five days off! I'm definitely adjusting to a new schedule. Amongst our early mornings and early bedtimes, meals around here are a bit skewed. I'm still working on a list of meals to make ahead of time for busy weeks and I welcome any suggestions! Also, any general suggestions about working nights?
I really enjoyed having a few days off throughout the week between works day, although I have a tendency to fill up my days off. I vacuumed the apartment, cleaned the bathroom, made homemade granola, made our favorite soup (which yields the best leftovers), spent time with my devotionals, knit, made a trip to the library and grocery store, and baked our favorite gluten-free brownies. Maybe I squeezed too many things into just one day?
As with any other transition, there will be ups and downs, and times where I'll need to have grace on myself. I'll need to rely on and trust Jesus through it all. Although I'm certainly not considering my job an affliction, but I think I would be kidding myself if at some point in the next few months we didn't feel like we were in a trial of faith. However, I think these words are very encouraging, regardless of what season of life you're in:
See then, although it is true that faith brings peace, yet it does not always bring it instantaneously . There may be certain reasons calling for the trial of faith, rather than the reward of faith. Genuine faith may be in the soul like a hidden seed, but as yet it may not have budded and blossomed into joy and peace. C.H. Spurgeon
This comes up over and over again in conversations I have with close friends. We can point back to specific things in our pasts (or in the present) that are painful, but because of them, those areas of ours hearts can bud and blossom through genuine faith into more joy and peace.
I love this related Spurgeon quote, too:
Present afflictions tend also to heighten future joy. There must be shades in the picture to bring out the beauty of the lights.
But I want more from myself these next few months. I want this season of life to be intentional and purposeful. I don't want to put everything around me on hold while I adjust to a new schedule. But rather, I intend to acknowledge that parts of it will be difficult, and parts of it will be good, and I will not be alone for even one second. I heard this verse at our women's gathering at church the other night, and the simplicity of it struck me. And the weight of His command to us from Psalm 37:3
Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness .
Trust in the Lord—always working on this. Do good—an invitation, but more importantly, a command. Dwell in [Austin, Texas]—be settled here. And? Befriend faithfulness. I want to be so familiar with and welcoming to faithfulness.
And that is what I can do, whether I'm working a night shift, or I have a day off, whether I'm vacuuming, or meeting a new friend for coffee, or enjoying a day to myself.
P.S—On an entirely unrelated note, the birthday cake I made for myself froze beautifully! We just finished it off this week. If you're an almond fan, and/or want a yummy gluten-free treat, you should try this not-too-sweet cake.
Fall feels like a number of transitions, one right after the other. We are now bridging into late fall, with lots of frost in the mornings, first sightings of bare trees, and darker, cozier evenings at home. Of course, there is talk of Thanksgiving and Christmas on the horizon too, along with early preparations for those. I do tend to be swept by the momentum of this season, if I'm not careful. I'll admit that Christmas music accompanies us throughout the day sometimes, and I've already done most of our shopping, but I do want to be intentional to savor the almost-but-not-yet. To not wish away November and it's baring of trees in favor of the glow of Thanksgiving and Christmastime. There is great beauty and contentment in this month, as well. I don't want to miss it.
We've taken to a regular "cozy hike," as we've termed it. A nearly wooded path, my favorite spot for fall color, a wagon, an eager toddler, a cozy blanket, and snacks. I look for the bright red leaves, since those are a favorite for both of us. And we also look for acorns and pinecones, treasures on the ground.
I'm typically in a rush to wish away the hot days of summer, to exchange them for cozy days, sweater season, cool mornings. I'm an optimist, and that optimism frequently couples itself with being future minded. Constantly looking forward with hope, but also sometimes looking forward with misplaced longing that can inhibit me from being present. But this past weekend, the events of both days were lovely, and being present felt easy and good.