Thursday, October 12, 2017

Who is Sufficient?



225,000 square feet.  It seemed like an impossibly large building for only 2 people to care for.  But that is just what was asked of us, barely married for 3 months, while my husband attended college. The caretaker/janitor's position opened up at the new church we had begun attending, and with youthful enthusiasm we jumped right in.  We cleaned and monitored, attended events and washed up afterwards, and became intimately familiar with the church that had a caretaker's apartment built into the upper level for us to live in.  Sufficient for the task? Not at all, but we found ways to push our limits in order to keep going.





This week over at Michele Morin's site, 
Living our Days, 
 where we are in Week 6 of our study of 
Jayber Crow, by Wendell Berry,
our friend, Jayber, finds himself taking on the church janitor's work also.  


So it should have come as no surprise when I found one of my favorite scenes unfolding in this week's reading.  Jayber often came to do his cleaning at the church in the evening after he had worked all day at the Barber Shop. Needless to say, the quiet and calming presence of the church was an easy place to rest and even take a nap. (I remember those same peaceful feelings when the sanctuary was empty, and while cleaning, we played our own music through the church's high tech--for then--speakers!)


It was during one of those rest times that a dream overtook him:


 "One day when I went up there to work, sleepiness overcame me and I lay down on the floor behind the back pew to take a nap. Waking or sleeping (I couldn’t tell which), I saw all the people gathered there who had ever been there. I saw them as I had seen them from the back pew, where I sat with Uncle Othy (who would not come in any farther) while Aunt Cordie sang in the choir, and I saw them as I had seen them (from the back pew) on the Sunday before. I saw them in all the times past and to come, all somehow there in their own time and in all time and in no time . . . They said nothing, and I said nothing. I seemed to love them all with a love that was mine merely because it included me. When I came to myself again, my face was wet with tears."

Berry, Wendell. Jayber Crow: A Novel (Port William) (p. 165). Counterpoint. Kindle Edition. 



The longing that I felt for Jayber to know more about the TRUE Love that had touched him, only grew as I read through the next few chapters.  Sadly, Jayber moved from his own touch with the Wonder of Love to look for love in all the wrong places.  I still have hope that in upcoming chapters he might find where that longing will be fully met.


But my own longings are hanging in the wind,
crying out for GRACE 
when I have none of my own.


In the same way that Jayber failed to see that the One who is all love was right beside him, giving him that dream of love for His people, I too have ignored the call of that ONE.


When I have sought my own sufficiency,
When I have leaned on my own strength,
When I have looked for my own help,

my own Sweet Lord has never stopped calling me.


While chronic illness calls me to 
muster up my own strength,
My Jesus calls me to 
find a sufficiency
deeper than my own
and a love 
that fills every longing.

There is Life from the Lord
that is bigger
than any work of my self,
a freedom
brought from His Spirit.


"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control"
Galatians 5:22,23 



 Who is Sufficient?


Years came and went
Strength surged
Depended upon.

My ways were laid 
bare
before
Him
Who sees everything.

Abilities brought out
Self-Sufficiency
A way of life.

My heart was crushed
bare
before 
Him
Who sees everything.

Illness has a way
Pointing out lack
Hidden underneath.

My body was broken
bare
before
Him
Who sees everything.

Mercy invites inside
Seeking to give
What I have not.

My soul was enlarged
bare
before
Him
Who sees everything.

Grace covers, fills
Christ-Sufficiency
Living in me.

My Life is overflowing
bare
before
Him
Who sees everything.

Immanuel,
God with me.
--bg

And a verse usually spoken at Christmas gives the invitation for each of us to find JESUS,  the son
given to be with us.


The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).
Matthew 1:23 NIV 



May this song of encouragement bless you today. He is with us, and invites us into His Presence where His Sufficiency is everything we need.






You can find Jayber Crow by Wendell Berry by clicking here.


I am linking this week with:
Debbie Kitterman, #TuneInThursday 
Barbie Swihart, #Glimpses 
Meg Weyerbacher, #TeaAndWordTuesday 









13 comments:

  1. Oh, Bettie, I love this! So many times I try to do things in my own strength, but God is always there to pick me up.
    "My Jesus calls me to
    find a sufficiency
    deeper than my own
    and a love
    that fills every longing."
    Amen, such profound truth here. A sufficiency deeper than my own - Yes!

    Many blessing to you, dear Bettie, with much love. Hugs! xoxo

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    Replies
    1. Dear Gayl,
      Oh, yes, why is it so hard for us to let go of our need to "do things in our own strength?" I am so glad that God is always there to pick me up too. It seems that in each new situation I must learn it again, but then perhaps each place is just a new opportunity to learn the lesson a little deeper than the last time! Blessings and Love to you too dear friend! xoxo

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  2. What a great connection you have with Jayber, and you reminded me that I actually had a little job during high school of cleaning our church. (How had I forgotten that?)

    And this crazy do-er of all things is continually coming in exhaustion and neediness to the One who fills me up. I'm looking forward to hearing your thoughts on the next few chapters as Jayber's world and his loves are turned upside down!

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    Replies
    1. Dear Michele,
      Isn't it funny how memories get hidden away until something uncovers them? That do-er of all things lifestyle sure gets us overwhelmed sometimes doesn't it? The Lord has been loosening my knuckle-hold from all of my duties so tenderly. He knows how to fill us up so sweetly! Thank you for hosting such a lively book discussion this go-round! You are a great moderator, and I so appreciate your Leading! Blessings to you!

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  3. Dear Bettie, how timely this is for me! I have been mourning my weakness this morning, feeling discouraged and wondering if I can continue the daily haiku series. Now I see those thoughts stemmed from worry due to dependence on self-sufficiency instead of being given over to God as needs which only HE can meet! I also love the lines Gayl quotes above. Our lives are saturated in God's grace and we never need to be concerned about how we will cope or deal with anything that comes our way. Yet my forgetful heart so often decides it can manage by itself. What foolish, hubristic tosh that really is! Because we depend on God for our very life and breath, never mind health. Being weak and afflicted actually paves the way for God to act. Thank you SO much for this beautiful, reflective post! It's done me a world of good. Much love, blessings and hugs to you! xoxo 💜

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    Replies
    1. Dear Joy, Oh how thankful I am that the Lord has encouraged you here--your words have so often been that blessing to me! I know that "my forgetful heart so often decides it can manage by itself" also! And, yes our weakness and affliction can pave the way for God's help, when we will let Him. I can surely understand how easy it becomes to give into that enemy of lies who tells us that worry, or bitterness is our only option. How precious of our Lord to send us His word of comfort at just the right moments of discouragement, to pull us away from that old enemy! You are in my prayers, Dear Friend! May you feel His arms supporting you, and filling you up with every word that He wants you to speak, from His own sufficiency! Love and Hugs and Blessings to you!xoxo

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  4. Oh Bettie, these words were so timely and such a gift to me. My soul might not be laid bare by physical pain / illness, but it is being laid bare in my own prison - but a prison that's freeing my soul to truly live and breathe in the freedom that is Christ. Sending you so much love today

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    Replies
    1. Dear Anna, I so appreciate your words here today also! "But a prison that's freeing my soul to truly live and breathe in the freedom that is Christ." He takes the very crushing and uses it to set us free to worship Him. His ways are truly higher than our own, aren't they? Love and Hugs to you my dear friend!

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  5. We often feel tired, in great pain, and no longer able to go on. This is natural when we suffer illness or as we grow older. But let us remember this. On His way to die on the Cross, Jesus must have felt tired, exhausted and surely He must have fallen to the ground many times. He must have felt like giving up and dying there and then. But He got up, continued on His way, did His Father's will ... ... ... all for us.

    He is close to us right now consoling us in our moments of pain and tiredness.

    Praying for you. God bless.

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    1. Thank you for these precious thoughts tonight. Yes, our Lord was willing to suffer so much for our sakes. How thankful I am for his consolations. And I am so thankful for your prayers also, Victor! God bless you!

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  6. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and beautiful poetry. There is something about the word sufficiency that makes me stop and reflect on my own life. If I asked myself the question if I have always had what I needed the answer is a resounding "yes'. God is my Provider and shows me this again and again.

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    Replies
    1. Dear Mary,
      Oh, yes you are so right. When we look back, we can see His provision again & again! Even today, after a thyroid biopsy, He continues to show me more of His Sufficiency within me. Blessings to you!

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  7. This is beautiful, Bettie! I love this reminder that in Jesus we can find "a sufficiency deeper than my own and a love that fills every longing". Often it's when we are weak that his power is most clearly seen. I love the song too- it's one I know but I haven't heard it for a long time so it was nice to be reminded!

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