This morning I woke to the knowledge that somehow in this new stress-free rhythm of life I had lost a day. My computer read Wednesday while I was making a plan for Tuesday. By all accounts, I have settled into this gift, this respite, this “short period of relief from something difficult.”
Having no expectations for myself is new territory. And yet, I have a strong sense that the Lord has purpose for this precious time.
Tyndale house, a residential centre for biblical studies, is quite unique. Attracting scholars from all over the globe, Jesus Christ is quite literally the tie that binds. Presently, the Countries represented include… Romania, Australia, Korea, Madagascar, France, Greece, Nigeria, Japan, Lebanon, Bolivia, Slovakia, Switzerland, America and of course the UK. Each Friday eve we enjoy a communal barbeque in the courtyard. As you can imagine, it takes a simple church pot luck to new heights.
It’s fitting that Tyndale house is located in Cambridge with its 31 colleges, each with impressive historical pedigree and reputation. If one’s first observation is the international flare of the place, a close second is how incredibly smart everyone is. OOOOMMMMGGGG! These are academics, intellectuals, hair splitters of scripture. Doug’s four post graduate degrees en route to a PhD is child’s play. The who’s who of scholars who have studied here include John Stott, D.A. Carson, J.I. Packer and John Piper.
Inevitably after someone learns that I’m here supporting Doug, I’m asked… “what are you doing while you’re here? Is there a project you’re working on?”
Intimidated by the environment, at first I fumbled my response. What exactly am I doing here? So much of my life has been about what I do. I naturally relate to Martha in the story (Luke 10:38-42). And yet, it’s as if the Lord has ordained this time. Taken me away from my responsibilities and set apart this unique season for a reason. Perhaps, to be less Martha and more Mary.
A picture of my Albuquerque grapevines comes to mind. While I abide, He prunes, restores, refreshes, renews. While I abide, He does His work in me.
John 15:4,5 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. 5 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
Even though circumstances are ideal and my lack of responsibility has been a gift, the shift from a doer to a be-er hasn’t been automatic.
I’m a practiced do-er, after all. I have a long history of productively doing. My “work” in ministry pre-dates any calling or understanding of it. Perhaps laced with some subconscious effort to prove my worth, to a large extent I’ve shown my love for God by striving for Him. Even though I realize that my service to the Kingdom has value and none of it has been wasted, He has impressed upon me this truth. He wants my heart even more than my hands; my devotion more than my effort.
Even though God will use me, primarily and unconditionally, He wants to love me. I get why living in the confidence of that truth is hard. We live in a transactional, quid-pro-quo world. Still we must never forget we belong to a non transactional God.
As that awareness has begun to take root in me, the strings that attached me to God’s love begin to unravel. I don’t have to tie myself to Him with my service. Rather I’m tethered to Him by the sacrifice of His son. It has been finished.
A few nights ago, Christopher and Carolyn Ash, supporters of Tyndale, invited us to their home for a meal. The conversation turned to the plethora of PhDs and the general brilliant aura of the scholars here. To which Carolyn responded profoundly, “True, but I too am a child of God!”
Today, may you know deep down in the depth of your soul, how precious you are. You are beyond price, beyond compare, beyond intellect, beyond knowledge, beyond transaction, beyond service.
You are not a person being “used,” you are His child being loved.
For His Glory, Debbie Hucke
Gina Cooper says
In my own, non-scholarly comment…😉, a most precious and comforting reminder, from you, Debbie! I BELONG to God; I am His child; I am LOVED by God! There is NOTHING better in this world!
Thanks and hope you’re reaping the sweet rewards already of your ‘respite’! 👍😊
From one non scholar to another… AMEN! Nothing better in this world.
Dave Philips says
Hi Debbie: You scratched where I itched and probed where I hurt in your blog. Thanks for your reminder that ours is a non-transactional God: a nice restatement of the nature of our Father’s love and the deep peace and joy that such a reminder brings.
Amen. Thank you Dave.
Good word- can relate as we moved a year ago. Also a doer – this time of more rest has seemed like a time out…but God is revealing much and I am grateful as I wait for my next assignment😊
Amen Cinda. Enjoy this re-direction.
I think God has given you a Ph.D in sharing His word with new an infinitely practical ways. A Martha, with a Mary insight. Thank you for your all the ways you serve through your words and caring heart.
Thank you friend. I do love the practical nature of faith. I’m delighted you find my perspective helpful.
Geraldine Dempsey says
God gave you this time to enjoy, so do not feel like you need to keep up with the others. God loves you and loves giving rest to his own .
Most definitely, Gerrie. Thank you.
Thank you Gail.
Vickie Everitt says
So excited for you to have this time to BE. Your Being in and of itself will be an example for all those who meet you! Glad for you to soak in his beauty.
Well thank you Vickie. My new response has been well received. To God be the Glory.
John Reith says
I have wanted to visit England since I was 21. I wanted to go to the Royal College of Music.
I am happy for you and Doug to have this time in Cambridge. Enjoy it. By the way, I have always thought it quite interesting that we are called “Human Beings” and not “Human Doings”. Since coming to Christ at age 21, I have been on a journey of becoming a human being.
You MUST go to England someday John. It’s everything you imagine. Can’t wait to go to a Evensong in one of the magnificent cathedrals.
GILLIAN DELANO says
Love this Deb! I missed a day when I was travelling last week ’cause I left England on Tuesday evening and arrived 12 hours later on Wednesday morning. Strangely enough, I woke up yesterday convinced it was the 22nd but my daily devotional said it was the 23rd, and I had again lost a day. I relate to being a Martha even though I’d much rather be a Mary. On the plane, I wondered what my answer would be to the inevitable “what do you do Gill”? I thought of saying “I only do what I see the Father do…dozed off and had a dream about saying “song writer” into the microphone (I was in a beauty contest :). What does it all mean? :)))
You make me laugh my new friend from the bus stop! Thanks for reading my blog. 🙂
Audra Wickesberg says
God compares you to no one, you are bringing HIS light to England. I am glad that you are free of difficult situations. Soak it in with all of your senses and rest in HIM ❤Audra
Thank you dear friend. Such an encouraging word.
Anne Kole says
Debbie, what a wonderful surprise to get your article from Cambridge! I didn’t know what to expect. Your time of “being” sounds true and profound and I’m glad you can let go of your “doing” for a while. In our women’s Bible class we have reviewed Mary and Martha in
the gospels and have reflected about being in the presence of Jesus, basking in his love and teaching. As a task-oriented doer it has been refreshing for me.
By the way, I have been singing in choir next to Trish and enjoying her company. She loves you dearly and things seem to be going well with Ian. What a friend you have!
Keep being God’s child in Cambridge. He’ll cause you to bloom where you’re planted !
Aww thanks for your kind word about dear Trish. She has been a gift beyond measure.
Martha Nail says
So good to hear from you and with such a refreshing message. A precious reminder of God’s great love is not dependent on our works. Enjoy each day and breath in all that surrounds you. You and yours continue in my daily prayers.
Thank you Martha. Especially for your prayers.
Betsy Everett says
Thanks Debbie. Enjoy your time and just “being.” Maybe you could offer your devotion blog to them! That is your forte!
Praying for Ian, Trish, and Karen.
Thanks for your prayers, especially!
Emmy Browning says
Love your blog. So happy you are enjoying Cambridge. Just “Be” and relax a bit. He will take care of the rest.
Indeed Emmy. Thanks for your encouragement.
Elfrida Bauer says
I am so glad you get some respite.
It’s always so nice reading your blog! Welcome to the Mary’s Club, friend. It’s easy and peaceful.
Amen dear Frida. Think of you whenever I visit yet another fantastic curry shop!