This semester was one of THOSE kinds of semesters; one of the times in my life where I had to just put my head down, and plow through it. I was snowed-in with work; I took three classes with a total of 48 chapters and close to 100 journal articles of reading. I had four papers to write, (one that I rewrote for a better grade,) 5 presentations, and two major projects to complete. I watched my advisor teach his class and then taught that lesson to two other groups, twice a week, and I lesson-planned and graded for 80 students. I also started working on a Doctoral Seminar project that I don't actually get credit for until next semester. I even presented at two different conferences, including one that was a five hour presentation. On top of that my mother had successful surgery implanting a pacemaker. (Thank you, God!).
It was the kind of semester, much like being snowed-in, where you continue unaware of what is going on around you. I came out of the semester realizing that my daughter had managed to graduate from UNL. Thankfully, she and her good friend Tiffany had party plans under control. It is not a semester that I would have planned! It is not a semester that I could have survived – on my own. It is one of those significant times in my life when I felt God at my side, keeping me alert, giving me insights, calming my heart, and lifting me up to receive His strength. I fear there are more of these semesters to come.
It occurs to me how easy it is to wrap oneself up in the busy-ness of life; how easy it is to focus only on what weighs you down and not on the road ahead or on the loved ones around you. I buried myself in a drift of snow and don't even have a snow fort to show for it. Many of the professors, with whom I work, have an amazing ability to block out everything around them in order to focus. They are also very good at protecting themselves from outside work. This is part of what helps them to achieve what they do in their respective fields. However, it is also what keeps some of them from realizing that there is a real world out there: a world of people who are interesting, a world of people who are hurting, a world of real problems to wrestle with and learn from. I have had my taste of being buried under that kind of snowdrift. Do I like it? Not so much.
God created us to be in fellowship. He created us to look to Him for all we need and to look to others for opportunities to use our faith and to be blessed by the faith of others. He didn't put us on earth to live in separate offices. He gave us each a family, by our birth and by our rebirth in His church. My Bible reading has me in Exodus. I tend to slide through the last chapters. The excitement of the first few chapters makes the painfully precise description of the building of the tabernacle rather slow reading. It is amazing to think about the skill and care that went into their house of worship. It needed to be a place to meet God and to meet with each other and it needed to be portable. Later, Solomon's temple became the place everyone returned to during Passover. It was a beautiful place of fellowship; fellowship with God and fellowship with the children of God.
There are many of us in the Midwest digging out from under huge drifts of snow. May God bless this time as a time of rest and renewal. May God then send us out to be in fellowship with Him and with His children.
Then the cloud covered the Tent of Meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.
Exodus 40: 34
If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from His love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Philippians 2: 1-2