The kids and I recently read the story in Chronicles about Elisha filling the widow’s jars of oil. It struck me this time that God filled each of the jars she brought to Him; no more, and no less. Elisha told her to borrow jars from her neighbors, but he didn’t tell her how many. That was up to her. Would she gather as many as possible? More than she could carry? Even though she might look ridiculous to her neighbors who knew she had nothing to put into them? Or would she be discreet and only borrow a few?
The fact is that God filled every jar she brought to Him. Scripture doesn’t say what would have happened if she’d brought more or less (have you noticed God always stubbornly sticks to what IS?) But I like to think that if she had brought more jars, God would have gone on filling them. Certainly this is consistent with the God I know.
When I started this blog (5 years ago? Really?!) I wrote about how God delights in filling empty things. At the time, I had an empty heart and an empty spirit, and, as I’ve brought each of them to Him over the years, He has faithfully filled them to the brink.
Now, He is setting our feet on a new path. One with lots of space to fill. 2 1/2 acres and 6,000 square feet to be exact. I’m the widow who has gathered more jars than she can carry and is bringing them to Him with simple trust. I mean…would you look at this place?!
In all honesty, our family outgrew our current house a long time ago. We organized and purged our way to eking out a (mostly) comfortable existence in our tiny bungalow on a small downtown lot. We never felt called to do anything different. It worked for us.
But recently we began to feel tugged in a different direction. God put in our hearts a curiosity about a new state, a new people, and a new longing for adventure that could only be described as a Pioneer Spirit. We made ourselves open to this calling, curious to see where it would lead us, and found ourselves buying a gorgeous property in a sweet little town almost before we knew what was happening.
After so many years in such a small jar that has already been filled, the thought of this giant Edwardian home on acreage makes us giddy. I feel a little like Sarah, laughing (from joy? disbelief? wonder?) when she finds out her womb is filled.
We’ve named the house Butterfield, which has historic significance to the neighborhood, but appealed to us immediately for other reasons. It brings to mind milk and honey. Richness and growth. Joy and Life.
So as we start this process all over again–gathering our jars, bringing them to God, peering curiously into what he chooses to fill them with–I hope to resurrect this little blog space into something that others can share in. Even as we move towards something new and exciting, we move away from the unique and very special family that God has raised up for us in our old space. We move away from the fullness, and into the emptiness. And sometimes the emptiness gets pretty lonely. God is faithful to fill, but always in His own timing.
It’s a blessing to us to have a means of staying connected, a source through which to channel some of the old fullness into our new lives as we wait for the new jars to be filled. I think of a strawberry plant (I can never get away from garden metaphors) that grows on a runner attached to a parent plant, drawing sustenance from the mother until its roots are deep enough to feed itself. That’s what we need. And I’m thankful for those of you who provide it.