Sunday, January 2, 2011

A timely story

Finished this book yesterday. A timely read  - for me  - considering that "time" has been on my mind. Been thinkin' about how there never seems to be enough time. How time is a non-renewable resource - & you never know how much time you have left. Been thinkin' too about how best to use my time & how VeRy much time is required to develop & grow relationships...the very things I believe we were designed & created for - tho' too often it's easier to just avoid them because in no time at all they can get so ... complicated.  

There is a time for everything,
   and a season for every activity under the heavens:

Ecclesiastes 3:1

True to tradition, my book group that began by reading the first book in this series, begins each new year by reading the next book in the series. The first book inspired the name of my blog. And I read the first part of this ongoing story for the first time soon after I'd endured the most incredibly difficult circumstances of my life & was inspired by something in the story to look up the meaning of my name.  My mom said she named me Joyce bc of the joy she felt when I was born but when I looked it up I was stunned then to learn that my name means "experienced in battle" and to learn it only once it fit like a glove.  I found some comfort in my name then too as I considered that the "battle" of my personal lifetime to that point ( & still to this day) - had served a purpose & "in the end" I was stronger, better & more of who God intended me to be from the start. 

God said to him, “Your name is Jacob, but you will no longer be called Jacob; your name will be Israel. ” So he named him Israel.

Fast Forward to now. The women in this story are characters(!) - who are more like good friends after all these years :) And the characters in this story are women (for the most part)...a diverse group of women who were randomly placed in the same prayer group at a Christian women's conference. Over time & thru' various circumstances, they set aside/overcome typically divisive differences (age, race, culture, marital & economic status, etc.) & become good friends who are intimately involved in each others lives & families.  This book/Book #5 reveals that the main character's (who could easily be me - tho' that's not necessarily always a good thing) middle name is Marie. Any idea what it means?  Rebellious. And would you believe that's my middle name too?! And this is the first I've heard of its meaning - tho' yet again, it fits! This time much better than I care to admit. Yet even as I was convicted about the negative effects  (& there are many) of rebelliousness (is that a word?!), I was encouraged too as I read this story & considered ways God might actually use my character flaw for good - as only He can do. Imagine that.  When I look at it that way it seems as if I'm one big rebellious bundle of potential! ;)

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

As I came to the end I wasn't ready for it to end. But patience walks hand in hand with time and the LORD knows I need more patience ... soooo - I'll wait - staying true to tradition until about this time a year from now to read more of the story. In the meantime, I think I'll set aside some differences I have with others because - well - because ... it's about time. And there never seems to be enough of it. And you never know how much you have left.  And .....  

The end of a matter is better than its beginning, 
and patience is better than pride.

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