What’s In A Name?

When I started this blog in 2014 (I can’t believe it was that long ago!), I called it “The Renewable Family.” I can’t even remember where that inspiration came from, but I can say what it means to me now, and why I’d name it that all over again.

Left to its own devices, nature renews itself. Watch the seasons, observe the water cycle; death, decay, rebirth and growth are continually happening all around us. But human beings – our spirits and souls – are a different matter entirely. Speaking for myself, I can run the spectrum from patient and kind to completely unreasonable, usually on the same day. And the downhill slide can start from something as trivial as how many pieces of my kids’ dirty laundry I have to turn right-side-out before I can even load the washing machine.

Left to its own devices, nature renews itself. Watch the seasons, observe the water cycle; death, decay, rebirth and growth are continually happening all around us. But human beings – our spirits and souls – are a different matter entirely. Speaking for myself, I can run the spectrum from patient and kind to completely unreasonable, usually on the same day. And the downhill slide can start from something as trivial as how many pieces of my kids’ dirty laundry I have to turn right-side-out before I can even load the washing machine.

Sometimes the daily demands of life get the best of me: high-maintenance horses that I have to watch like a hawk; the brooding and unnerving silence of a teenage daughter; continuously feeding chickens, cats, dogs, horses, people; struggling through the ironically-named “How To Teach Your Child To Read in 100 Easy Lessons” for the third time because math is Evelyn’s thing, and reading is not. If you add anything of real significance to that like concerns over a loved one’s health, an unexpected disaster with a client’s remodel, or a friend’s heartache over her father’s unexpected death, I can become just about incapacitated by worry and negativity. 

Left to my own devices, I get worse, not better. 

We have to CHOOSE to renew ourselves “so we do not lose heart.” Because “outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day,” 2 Cor. 4:16. But that renewal is far from automatic. We can so easily be overcome by fear, frustration, despair, and anger. But the antidote, which is much harder, is to “rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer” (Rom. 12:12).

Our relationships, particularly within our own families, are not automatically renewed either. We have to put down the phone, turn off Netflix, and make eye contact. We have to sit quietly with that other person long enough that we’re still there when they’re ready to talk. We have to show up for things – inconvenient things, boring things, awkward things, sad things. We have to be willing to be the first one to say “I’m sorry”, even if we only halfway mean it, and to smile even if we’re still a little mad. We have to be willing to love enough to be hurt – because we all get hurt eventually. And then we have to be willing to keep loving. 

This is The Renewable Family because it’s never a done deal. We are always right smack in the middle of the possibility of being overcome or being renewed. The choice is before us every moment: what are we going to take in? What are we going to value? What are we going to nurture?

So tonight, as I’m totally exhausted and collapsed into my big paisley chair, I’m going to smile as I smash myself against the arm to make room for the cat sitting on the cushion beside me, Miranda curled up on the ottoman begging me to rub her back, and the dog trying to squish himself beside her. I’ll be lulled into sleepiness as the cacophony of sounds of Steven playing pinball in the next room competes with The Great British Baking Show on television. Then I’ll rally my energy to read Evelyn one more chapter of Harriet the Spy, and I’ll nag until someone reads a chapter from the Bible and eventually we’ll all say our prayers.

And my prayer is this: “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me,” Ps. 51:10-12.

7 thoughts on “What’s In A Name?

  1. I’m so glad you’re back at your blog Anne. It was a good, thought provoking one. I think that is the key that we constantly strive to do better . Thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule. I look forward to more. Love & best wishes for the New Year.

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  2. Anne,
    You have such a beautiful mind and soul. Thanks for writing these inspirational thoughts, and for being so vulnerable. We all need to know we’re not alone in our personal struggles, and we ALL struggle from time to time. Sometimes daily.
    Love you & thanks ♥️♥️♥️

    Like

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