IMG_190131 Days Walking Through Chronic Illness

day fourteen

“If we prefere to relax on the mountaintop and live in the memory of the vision, then we will be of no real use in the ordinary things of which human life is made.”

Oswald Chambers

A year had come and gone, since that fateful day in Charleston. The dull winter months crawling by slow. The holidays, the much anticipated snow, faded away.

We wait. Wait for spring and signs of new life. Long for longer days, a bit of warmth. Holding on to anything that is not nailed down, the wind a brutal thing.

I was restless.

I had spent a year on the mountaintop, radiant with His glow. Resting there.

It was time to pack up. Make the descent.

“We have seen what we are not, and what God wants us to be, but are we willing to be battered into the shape of the vision to be used by God? The beatings will always come in the most common, everyday ways and through common, everyday people.” ~Oswald Chambers

It was time to live this out in the daily ordinary of life.

“We have to learn to live in reliance upon what we saw in the vision, not simply live in ecstatic delight and conscious reflection upon God.”~Oswald Chambers

In my last two years while in the ministry of preschool, God had started a stirring in my soul.

He was calling me to do something different. I applied for a job, I saw as the perfect answer, did not even get an interview. Frustrated, the seed that was planted, seemed to be frozen deep in the ground.

Looking back, now I can see. See all that God was preparing and planning for me.

I wanted back in women’s ministry somehow, I was not sure what that looked like.

In the hike to the valley below, I was certain there was a plan.

We were in a new church, slowly building new community. A part of me keeping one foot dug in to the past, the place where I knew community.

Letting go and moving forward.

I tentatively took a few steps. Made phone calls. Knocked on the doors I thought should open. They did not.

That little itch still there, just out of my reach.

The whispers, persistent. Women’s Ministry. Okay…hmmm. I am disabled. What does that look like for me?

It came to me clear as the bright blue sky is today, share your story. Okay, well that is all good, but there is still that wee little disabled thing.

Write. Write your story. Aha (yes, I am reading The Mitford Series, and Father Timothy’s favorite term is aha).

Okay, so I do not have an English degree, a Literary degree, or even a college degree.

Does it matter that I love to journal and write? Spin stories I often give as gifts? Making one laugh out loud when I tell a tale?

I did not think so. Did not think I was good enough. Insecurities had me frozen in place. Argued round and round about this for a few months.

Finally, finally yielded.

Thinking maybe a blog, I opened up my laptop, gathered information, and figured it out.

So I will create a blog, using my name~tlmashburn. Call it Gifts of Grace.

Why Gifts of Grace? Throughout this long and sordid process, God was faithful to give me gifts of grace along the way. I wanted to honor them somehow. Honor Him.

I started to write. A small space. A place to encourage women, thinking I would not mention things like disabled, scooters, or P.O.T.S.

The daily struggles of my battle.

The weariness, the wear and tear. The bruises from the battering of everyday life.

Over time, it started to creep in, little by little.

My life in the valley, ordinary to say the least.

The extraordinary, God providing and sustaining me in the valley, as I tentatively step out.

I am now involved in our church, our new community. Facilitating a lady’s connection group, among other things.

Purpose, provision, sustaining in the valley.

Oh life batters. As does my disease, but the Glow from the mountaintop still clings. Clings, here in the ordinary days of everyday life.

Gifts of Grace

Tammy Mashburn