The Miracle of the Cocoon
(Early Will I seek Him....Early Morning Reflections)
This morning I awakened early, needing to visit the little room. Then, just when I got all settled back in the bed, Fiona, Emma's dog, began barking that insistent bark like she really needed something. So I got back up to see to her, since I was already awake, then Emma didn't have to roll out before five. Yes. When I say “early”, I usually do mean before five or six! Typically, like for over 35 of my 58 years, six o'clock in the morning, and beyond, is “sleeping in” for me! Usually when that occurred, I was significantly down with some viral affliction, or something equally dreadful!
The ironic thing about that, however, is that these days, especially in the last year or so, this is really early for me. I have, in recent days, rather lost my drive, in all realms. So I have been staying up later with everyone more often than I used to, and then “sleeping in”, until at least seven, and sometimes until 9 or later! This is new for me. Astoundingly, significantly new. And at first it was a bit disconcerting. Suddenly my “get up and go, just got up and went”, and it didn't leave a forwarding address, nor an estimated time of arrival on when it might return!
For years my regular wake up time was 4:00. Yes. In the morning! This was due to the fact that, if I didn't get up then, there would be NO WAY to manage getting my spirit (much less the household) quiet enough to hear the Spirit of God! Once the world was awake, it seemed, I could forget about it! Someone was calling my name, ringing my phone or coming in my back door (usually unannounced, because I had little to no boundaries back then) from sun up to well after sundown, most days of the week! In those days I literally felt blessed if I could go pee without the process being interrupted! That is not a complaint, just plain reality.
Most days. I admit that I loved the hectic flow of life. I did get overwhelmed, but it was “just life”. It was what I had grown used to, so I found the grace, and dealt with it! The “busy-work” was a good thing for me then. It kept me feeling useful, productive, worthwhile. But I think I got my sense of worth from that – which is not God's idea. I have noticed that whenever we leave God's best, on any subject, a mental affliction develops around that area. Some call it mental illness, some spiritualize it and call it “Strongholds of the flesh”. Either way, or both ways, we become bound and driven, and it separates us by some degree from God and His best for us, and we do not thrive at our ultimate best.
Over the past several years, however, there seems to have been a major shifting of the earth, and universe at large! And, consequently, the people who once needed me so incessantly have grown up, moved out, moved on, or passed on! The social activities, which once kept me running outside the home, those seemingly incessant “Church” or Community doings, etc., have been ceremoniously weeded out of my schedule – due to being more of a liability than an asset – or – perhaps the fact that I just needed some cocoon time to complete the transformation process! Actually both, I think!
Also, the prayed for changes in my relationship with my husband have come to pass, and have taken a lot of pressure off me spiritually as well. So I think that the sheer relief, of suddenly NOT bearing all that intense responsibility, which was on me alone for so long, has caused sort of a jet-lag effect on my being. Suddenly, the fury of the last 50 years just caught up to me! And it has laid me down. Gently, but firmly! So energy has been a rare commodity of late, as one might imagine.
Honestly, I try not to complain about that. It is difficult some days, because I was very spoiled in having more kinetic energy than most people I know! And I was VERY blessed to have had that raw, seemingly limitless energy for most of my adult life! Which was a rare gift I think, and somewhat of a miraculous occurrence. Those kind of blessings do seem to follow me!
But, I say this because I was frail as a child, and cripple for most of my early years. I could walk, but at great pain, and not at great speeds. And this continued until the second corrective surgery at the age of twelve. But as I healed from that, my responsibilities began to grow with me, and soon I was the one who was responsible for everything.
By the time I was sixteen I was driving mom to the doctor, doing what little house cleaning which got done, doing the shopping and bill paying, going to High School by day, and working a part time job at night, and on Saturday! I usually drove mom, myself and my younger sister to Church twice on Sundays as well! I had the life of a grown up, but was allowed none of the privileges. It wasn't thrilling, I'm sure, but I didn't have time to notice, or mourn the lack of privileges! Lol
Then there was college, a job, maintaining my own car, apt., etc. AND running home to help mom on weekends! Then she died, college was over, and life took off at a frightening rate of speed, in a decidedly downward cycle – and my many D's began to manifest (PTSD, OCD, MDD, MPD, etc.). I became the woman with the issue of issues! I sought what help I could find within my economic limitations, which was sort of a bad joke. And I was about to succumb to utter despair.
Just then, (Coincidence? I think NOT!) I got Filled with the Spirit of God, and all those D's sort of went latent for a bit. Suddenly I was involved in so many positive things – church, coffee house, prison ministry, nursing home ministry, still working full time, and helping other people, who had health issues, etc., manage their lives, homes and kids....etc.! I became a lean, mean, working machine! And usually, in those days, I rode a ten-speed bike everywhere, because I wasn't making enough money to keep a roof over my head and a car running at the same time!
At some point, as time marched on, at God's leading and guidance, I added marriage, and then, eventually, my own kids, to that mix. Then, slowly, over time, my personal responsibilities, including caring for ailing siblings, aging parents, and parent-in-laws, plus homeschooling the rather full quiver, displaced outside the home ministry, for a number of years, though a dizzying number of church and home school events still kept me running at a rather furious pace!
So (though it was a rather difficult adjustment, and at first I chafed a bit. Okay. Truthfully, I complained pretty badly.... but....) I am now learning to REST!!! I am disciplining myself to enjoy a slower pace, while I heal from “Adrenal Exhaustion”. Which is the consequence of having “run the horse hard and putting her up wet”, for so very long! Because, as I am quick to explain, “It isn't the years, honey! It's the mileage!” Now, finally, I am trying to learn the art of Rest, which the Spirit of God has been trying, unsuccessfully at first, to impress upon me! The meaning of relaxation, which has been such a foreign concept -being that it was forbidden by religious spirits and doctrines, that kept insisting relaxation is the height of selfish laziness! Ugh. And I am learning, and have made great progress in grasping the concept of balance, as I am looking forward to the next phase of this adventure.
I know that there are still “...miles to go before I sleep”, that my particular “Race” does not end here – unless I grow “weary in well doing” and throw in the towel. But God intends me to learn to go at a civilized, balanced pace, from here on out. Because it is a marathon, not a sprint! And He is guiding me, enabling me, to learn the personal boundaries and limitations of my life, which does include, but is not limited to, knowing when to say NO! And the chutzpah to exercise that knowledge without wavering, or being unloving about it! Which is hard on us old gals from the South. Since we are typically never allowed to utter that word, by surrounding society....but I am learning both by His Grace and insistence!
That grace is very real to me right now. And it was so rich and sweet this morning in the early hours. I realized, this morning, that I have sorely missed my early morning time! God seems so much nearer, clearer, and dearer then! This morning I was able to read leisurely through several books in the Bible without feeling the pull of “the List”. Because, “I had plenty of time” before the list should begin!
I mean, I am being very selective, these days, as to how much list I go for each day, but, since I am not dead, I do still have responsibilities! Despite my lagging energy levels this house still grows dust at alarming rates of speed (more noticeable I think since my rate of cleaning has dropped behind the level of dust production...), the blasted food refuses to cook itself, and those pesky dishes pile up each and every day, like clock work! Not to mention laundry, and … well you know … just those annoying daily necessities of maintaining life!
Of course, I do delegate a lot more these days. The kids who still live at home are very helpful, as they should be. They may as well learn to get in the flow of keeping these things done. Their house will probably grow dust too, since the planet is deteriorating more rapidly each decade. Anyway, learning neatness habits are very useful. If one practices them enough, then it becomes second nature, and it will save tons of time in the long run!
Seriously. I am not kidding at all. It IS actually easier to just go ahead and put things back where they go, or to just go ahead and wash that dish before the food on it turns to concrete, etc., when you are not in a particular hurry! Because, you see, it saves searching frantically for the things you need when you are in a rush, or having to wash that dish so you can start a meal later. (Besides the fact that you will use much more water, soap and “elbow grease” to do so, once it has “set up”!) I have done it both ways, of sheer necessity! I maintain, however, that I seriously prefer KEEPING things clean as I go, to massive cleaning events every so often!
Sometimes that kind of diligence isn't realistic or possible, but the lack of it has only happened when I am significantly outnumbered! When it was just Gene and I you could have eaten off the floor – but it wasn't necessary because the dishes were always clean! But I deliberately laid aside my neat-freak tendencies when I had kids. Because I wanted them to be able to be kids, without fear of recrimination for “ruining the perfection”! And in the process, I have learned some balance. People are more important than things, and creating is better than maintaining constant seamless order.
Creating can be a messy ordeal. Like Birth! It is still amazing to me that life comes in such a way that it leaves the room looking as though a dreadful battle just happened! And in some ways that is true! Birth is a battle. Whether one is birthing physically or spiritually! But the miracle of new life is always worth it, as having happy kids is worth a slightly messy house! (Or a really messy one, for that matter!) The clutter at my home is a growing sentimental monument of things which hold precious memories.
Actually, Gene and I began our life together with pretty sparse furnishings! But then, the bulk of our energy was expended outside our home, so we had no need for much of anything. We slept there, ate there, and stored his guitars there...etc. But we rarely entertained there, or stayed there during our waking hours! However, our home has grown with the loves it has nurtured, the stuff came with them, and then stayed as they moved on. It gives a whole new meaning to that concept of “Staying by the STUFF!” lol No worries. As soon as my “Get up and go”, gets itself back over here, the weeding process will begin!
But this morning, as I enjoyed the quiet, I found the old energy returning to my spirit-being, filtering down into my soul, and strengthening my body! The Joy of the LORD really IS my strength! Most literally. I think I am going to have to get firm with myself again, on going to bed at a decent time, so that I can gain back my morning advantage. I don't do well in the night watches, I am much more of a morning glory! By the time evening comes I become somewhat vegetative. But in the morning I am fully awake. It is when I do my best praying, thinking, writing and creating.
When weather permits, I love to sit on the porch, after having connected with the creator, and just take in His creation as it awakens. I love the calm of the early darkness, and the glory of the day as it creeps up over the horizon, the increasing shards of light illuminating things, first in shadows, and then in streams of glorious sunshine! I feel so blessed to belong to Him, to know the One who made this beauty happen. And it inspires me to go make something beautiful of my own, a cleaner living room, a load of freshly washed clothes, a perfect omelet or pan of muffins, or a work of art, or a prophetic word of encouragement – wherever the Spirit leads, whatever the family, or the larger family of God, needs! But early in the day has always been the time when I do my best work.
However, I know that this lull in which I find myself these days is one of those “seasons” we read about. There is, after all, an appointed time (moedim) and a “season for every purpose under heaven”. As I mentioned, I believe this experience has provided some much needed “cocoon time”, to complete some character transformation in my spirit-being. I believe that His nature is being forged in me, and the heat of that process is melting away and displacing fleshly patterns of thinking, being and doing. As the gross dross floats to the top, He is there to skim it off, replacing it with more of His Goodness – more of Himself.
We are changed by this process, but not diminished! Just as Moses' bush burned, but was not consumed. I believe that the quiet, almost eerie, lack of busy-work, lack of noise, lack of voices making withdrawals of my time and resources, lack of hectic, daily, near-insane activity levels, has brought me to center, to the “self”, which everyone “goes out into the wide world” to look for, but which is only, actually found, I have discovered, in the Secret Place, Face to Face with the One who created it!
At first, I admit, this "cocoon" season, sort of felt like a tomb, or the path to the tomb, at least! And I believe that it was a tomb, but only for that flesh which has been sentenced to death, so that the spirit-being can live, unhindered! I believe, therefore, that I will soon emerge from here – when HE is finished with my transformation. And not only will I emerge, but when I do, I will be a stronger, brighter, truer, more loving and productive, more Anointed reflection of the One who bid me to follow Him into here! He sits as a refiner of silver and gold, it says. And we are the metal which He is testing. It does take a significant amount of trust to be melted down this way, and re-formed, returned to the original design – which is the point of all of this, after all.
I find that trust was made much more possible by my early morning trysts with the Spirit and Word of God. I highly recommend this practice as a discipline, for all serious disciples of Yeshua. My mother used to say, “Nothing good happened after dark”. I can't really vouch for that either way, but I can report that just before the dawn some serious miracles sometimes occur.....
Shalom Chavarim! Happy Truthday!