My favorite WhINES

*Today’s humorous post about that terrible tendency to whine comes from one of our regular and beloved guest writers, Debra Dickey-Liang. Thanks for the post, Debra, and for reminding me to appreciate the finer things in life (all the blessings) rather than critique the things that bother me.*

Did a double-take, didn’t you?

Yes, I’ve determined that I indubitably do have a strong selection of favorite, personal, and very timeless WhINES!  A connoisseur, if you will.

Lamentable for me is Daylight Savings Time – changing the time, and rising an hour earlier for work doesn’t seem to tax anyone else that I’ve had a conversation with, but for some reason, my body, mind and stomach struggle, at the very minimum of two weeks, attempting to make this transition, while in the meantime, my appetite, as well as my animals, are completely confused.  Great!  One more hour during which I’m expected to be productive. ( :   Truly, a remarkable little WhINE, don’t you think?

And recently after working outside for three days of my vacation, in the beautiful weather, pulling weeds, raking leaves, re-potting, cleaning, and hauling debris, I was reminded of one of the more timid, yet notable WhINEs that I tend to keep in stock– the huge amount of yard work, weed-eating, and water maintenance that will be required during the months of tormenting heat, just to attempt to keep up with what I finally did get accomplished — for the whole summer long.  The first time around is manageable and rewarding, but I’m surely not looking forward to the continued aesthetic demands – why can’t it just stay that way!?  Would that classify as a blush, maybe a rose?

Another fine, yet robust WhINE in my depository is a specialty that I acquire only during this point in the semester with regard to my summer tasks.  As May approaches, faster rather than slower now, June, July, and August become an apprehensive anticipation at my desk.  Contrary to the vacation plans that most folks schedule for some R & R during the summer, those months are actually the busiest and the most potentially overwhelming days that I experience, with reference to the persistent challenges and perpetual changes of incoming freshman students!  Housing, letters, orientation, certificates, handbooks and more, all culminating with an event for over 250 students, the biggie, the ceremony….. all that is Matriculation!  Somehow, some way, it all gets done, and to my relief, astonishingly well, but frankly, reviewing my task lists always dampens the enthusiasm for what others refer to as ‘enjoying the summer break.’  Bon aperitif, coming up —

Genie-BottleAnd then there is the universally known brand that I always have on hand, a most illustrious renowned WhINE , one which I am sure that you are all familiar with — housework.  Ugh.  ( :  These days, I admit to that being one of the least favorite chores in my quiver. Because my trusty genie has apparently escaped – and who could blame her – cleaning continually gets lower and lower on the totem pole, whilst I watch the dust accumulating and longingly wish for a self-cleaning abode!  Vintage, yes?   

Too cold, too hot, too dark, too something— seems all these are just a few of the more preeminent WhINEs from my personal collection that are decanted with a carousel theme, week after week, year after year.  Quite distinguished, and completely predictable little WhINEs they are, actually!    I am certain that ‘gifting’ these WhINEs to anyone reading this would be inappropriate, so it is needful to just make fun of myself and admit that I have a WhINE penchant. . . .   Famous Grouse?  Yes, that’s me.  Too often, I moan and groan, benignly of course, but certainly not the right attitude or a model trait for one who so desires the presence of, and to be filled with, the Spirit of God!

So let me remember:  “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”  (Philippians 4:13)

Okay I’ll work on giving up WhINEs , and focus on, uh-oh, what’s that, an empty genie bottle . . . it just might work for it – yes!  . . . . plain ole W INE!    Oh man, I’ve got so much stuff to do . . .

Can’t get away

The first time I heard the song “You Won’t Relent” by Misty Edwards, I was 29 years old. I was recently separated from my second husband. I knew our divorce was the best option, but I still found it to be difficult, painful, and devastating. I was bitter.

Quite honestly, I was consumed with my own concerns. I wanted to go my own way, do my own thing, and drown out the difficulties temporarily. So I did what I’d always done–dated people who weren’t right for me, drank wine by myself on my front porch one too many times, and stopped going to church to avoid becoming the subject of “prayer requests” (AKA gossip).

The idea that God refused to relent until He had all of me just didn’t sound realistic or appealing to me then. In fact, it intimidated me. I wanted to benefit from knowing God, but I didn’t really want Him to know all of me. I wonder if I was afraid that He might not love what He found if He “had it all,” as the lyrics go.

Fortunately, His jealous pursuit of me ended as predicted–He found me, He knows me, and He loves me. Thank God.

No matter how many times I’ve held back parts of myself, He has never stopped coming after me. This is love–not that I did all the right things and gave all the right Sunday School answers and earned my way as a spiritual Teacher’s Pet, but that “while I was still sinning, Christ died for me” (Romans 5:8).

And continues to lay Himself down for me, break through walls I painstakingly built over the course of decades, and fight Death, Darkness, and Despair on my behalf.

Last night, during my insomnia-induced restlessness, pieces of the lyrics to “You Won’t Relent” kept replaying themselves in my mind. Only now, four years after the first time I heard it, I’m not afraid of the words. I couldn’t wait to look up the song online and remember why this song matters so much to me. It’s not a song; it’s the story of our Love.