The Simple Things

My dearest Siestas, how are you? I have missed you! Before you go and get too overprotective, yes, I am resting and, no, I am not overdoing it. I don’t have any choice. Except to come home from the hospital, I have not been out of a gown in 6 days nor even so much as walked to the mailbox. Our family has been through quite a journey over the last couple of months, intensifying greatly toward the time of surgery and its results. I have so much to tell you – and so many funny things to tell you – when I am a little stronger. For now, please know that I have been so grateful for your prayers and have felt them! I am doing as well as I possibly could be, thank You, my gracious Abba. Sore. Still dealing with significant nausea, which you might pray about since I need to get back to my normal weight. But don’t go praying twenty five extra pounds on me. I know the power of Siesta prayer! My prognosis is great and I am told I will feel like a new person in several months.

More than anything, for me, this season is about getting in some solitary confinement with my faithful, determined God. I have longed to be out of the whirlwind to hear Him in the softest silence again and will relish every single second of this quietness. When I was too nauseated to write or read after surgery, I just whispered to Him from my bed and let the tears of tenderness wash the pillowcase. I am now able to read again, which is not only my work. It is also my hobby. I have a brand new novel and a brand new Bible study by an author I deeply esteem and I am slowly breaking into both. I will have much of this week to myself with Him and I will savor every second of it. As God alone could have it, my man had a tremendously important work project away from home this coming week and I insisted on him fulfilling it. He’d worked too hard if I didn’t absolutely have to have him here. I was recovering well and in great hands with both my dear (and blood) sisters for the weekend and now I am now back in the hands of my beloved firstborn.

Amanda has been Melissa’s and my hero through this whole ordeal. I don’t have to tell you that we three girls are thick as thieves. We carefully weighed out what Melissa should do regarding my surgery and recovery and, despite her sobs and uncertainties, I was adamant she stay in Atlanta unless we got some kind of bad news. At that point, she – and my sweet Colin – would have boarded a plane immediately. She is in the final week of her Fall semester for her seminary degree and it would have thrown a grenade smack in the middle of months of hard work. She’d paid too high a price for it to go up in smoke and those are my sentiments rather than hers.

Amanda has been incredible. I have no words for her. Her strength and tenacity have left us slack jawed. Amanda’s always been able to hold her own in a strong-willed family but she’s done more than hold her own these last 7 days. She’s hardly left my side and, because I had a bad reaction to the general anesthesia (never have before!), she had her hands full. Try not to think too much about that. How she has balanced all this with her young family is a testimony of God’s grace and the love Curtis Wayne Jones has for his mother-in-law. I am so grateful to them all.

But those are really not the reasons I’m writing you today. We are a very open family and share our feelings freely with one another so I don’t need a blog to tell Keith, Amanda, Curtis, Melissa and Colin how much I love and appreciate them. I do that face to face. I’m writing to you because of a very simple thing God has done for me for Christmas. When Keith pulled out of the driveway with a heavy heart several days ago, he summoned our two fine college-age nephews, Ben and Joe Meadows, to drive to Houston from College Station and go pick out their Aunt Beth the best Christmas tree possible and set it up in my den. The boys love Keith so much, despite the interminably hard time he gives them, that they simply call him by the endearment, “Uncle.” Well, let me be more honest here. “Skunkle” is what they really call him. They and my father-in-law (my dad, in every sense of the word) set out for the most terrific tree an old home with low ceilings can sport.

The plan was to also get down the Christmas decorations from the attic and hang them for me but I was still too weak at that time to even tell them what kind of containers to look for. “Are you sure, Aunt Beth? We can do it! He’ll have our heads if we don’t!”

“I’m sure. You let your Aunt Beth handle your Uncle Keith.”

After they left, I walked in the kitchen to fix myself some hot peppermint tea and saw a gift wrapped in Christmas tissue sitting on the end of the counter. I remembered, then, that Amanda mentioned having brought something home from church for me the previous Sunday. It was “To Beth, Merry Christmas! Love, Sherry.” That’s one of my best buddies, Sherry Webster. She and her husband Greg are two of our closest friends. They also have young adult children and grandchildren and share our love for God and rough Texas terrain. (Yes, we have normal best friends and relationships. Couldn’t live without them.) I took off the tissue and it was one of the most beautiful Christmas ornaments I’d ever seen. A crimson and pearl Cross hanging from a ribbon. I walked straight to the tree and hung the single ornament.

No lights on it.

No tinsel.

No angel perched at the top.

Just one crimson Cross right in the middle of the tree.

God has me home for the holidays for healing. For restoration. For a fresh return to the simple things. I’ve spent the entire year balancing the beauty and complexities of women’s insecurities and the Book of Revelation. How’s that for some whiplash? And I have loved every second of it. God is not miffed at me for working hard. He is the One who called me to the harvest field just as He called you. He just wants me to rediscover Sabbath rest amid the work and He’s chosen to begin with a crash course. I am gradually taking the ribbon off the gift of simplicity that God is giving me for Christmas this year. I plan to unwrap it slowly and deliberately. 2010 will start soon enough and I’ll pack a suitcase and be on another plane. But not the same. If I am, I will have missed something huge. Something vital. Something life-changing between Jesus and me. And I do not plan to miss it for this world. It’s why He has me here.

We are not getting lots of presents this year at the Moores. You have no idea how rare that is. Keith Moore believes in a big Christmas and that even a pair of earrings is wrapped separately from the matching necklace and socks are never to be in the same box as shirts. He believes in lots of gifts to open on Christmas morning even if many of them are under five bucks. Not this year. I never had time to shop before I was laid flat on my back. And that’s okay.

Because this is a year to return to the simplest truths like John 3:16. Take it slowly now and in the version from which you first learned it.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.

A Christmas Tree means nothing if not for the Cross. The Joneses were supposed to decorate my tree for me today…but I’m not quite ready. I think I’ll keep it just like this for a while. We’ll eat a little something instead.

I pray simple things over you this season, my dear Siestas. Couldn’t we all use a moment’s Sabbath?

I will look forward to being in touch with you every couple of days that I’m up to it. I won’t go back to work at LPM until 2010 nor will I work here at home but this sweet communication we have here in Siestaville, on days like this, is not really work for me. Words are the way I process things. On the days that it’s too much, I promise I won’t get on line. If I’m on here, it will strictly be because I want to be. Thank you for caring. I care so much for you, too.

I love you, Sweet Things.


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