Introductory Note:

This essay hits a tender spot in my heart. Melanie Gillgrist, who is Renovaré’s bookkeeper and a dear member of our staff, has a gift for noticing God’s movements and communicating spiritual truths with grace and beauty. She writes here about feeling a connection to the Israelite’s struggle with trust and contentment during the Exodus. Of course, Exodus was both a time of miraculous liberation and of facing internal battles that continue to bind us. Clinging to control, grasping for more... these are things that hold us back from free abandonment to God’s goodness. But God invites us into spaces and activities that help us loosen our grip. In the “spaciousness of summer,” Melanie was able to welcome God’s reign with fresh abandon, which became poignantly clear as the weather and rhythms of fall began.

Grace Pouch
Content Manager

The People of Israel went to work and started gathering, some more, some less, but when they measured out what they had gathered, those who gathered more had no extra and those who gathered less weren’t short — each person had gathered as much as was needed.”
Exodus 16:17 – 18

I didn’t write this summer. Scratch that. I wrote a ton. In my heart and in watching the clouds. In the sand and late mornings sleeping in. On meandering walks in our neighborhood. Sometimes on paper. But rarely typed words. 

The spaciousness of summer slowed me down. My son had completed his first year of being in school all day, so this summer was more defined, more anticipated. The rhythm of life felt glorious and carefree and new.

But it didn’t start that way. As June approached, clenched in my fists were plans and topics and posting timetables: my self-imposed writing schedule. But VBS came and one finger loosened its grip. A week at the shore and a few more uncurled. Visits from friends not seen in years, a whole hand released. And by mid-summer, the hands that had clutched what I thought should be were raised high in the air, surrendered to the maker of all.

The Israelites and I are companions. I rushed ahead trying to gather more. More than will truly nourish. More than I needed for the summer days. And it got wormy and smelly, and I became distracted and off-center. His manna is enough. He is enough.

We scooped the summer manna in our arms, enjoyed each day and gone. But the memories of God’s provision and grace stay. The stories of our summer, of our noticing God in big and small moments, of milestones and sameness…those stories linger on in this transitional season — my bridge from summer to fall. I look backward and forward and see the gift we were given.

Now routine and harvest call out to us. And I marvel at the okay-ness of this space that sat silent while we played. The okay-ness of seasons of life and callings and the gentle whispers that float in the summer breeze. The air that turns crisp and calls me back to structure.

The realization that I don’t have to do it all, all of the time. That not writing for a few months doesn’t mean not writing forever. I don’t need to rush and get all of life in right now. It will come to me in its time. And yet in that paradox, I experience more of the fullness of life in the current moment.

In the letting go, the unclenching of hands, there is freedom. I can breathe. And I have eyes to see that God has got it under control. He rains down nourishment we have never heard of. I say What is this?, but He knows it will be enough. For each day. For today.

He never grows weary. Oh… but I do. And I need nighttime and sabbath and summer. They are my teachers, revealing my limits. By design, they challenge my overblown sense of self-importance. I sleep and the world keeps spinning. I enter Sabbath rest and my family still functions. I take a longer than expected walk with our new puppy and we order take out. I spend a summer away and still know how to write. 

When I embrace my limits, his unlimited power and grace take center stage. And even more amazing than that, his invitation to rest is paradoxical. In the rest, He shares his strength and peace with me. Filled up, not alone, so that I can overflow again. His manna is enough for today. Again.

Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

Text First Published October 2022 · Last Featured on October 2022