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Sacred Indulgence…

This past week I went on a trip to visit my sister. Away from home. Away from all of the responsibilities of my daily life.

While on my little getaway, we snuck away for a few days to a spa on the bay.  On our way up we detoured and visited the tulip fields – a bucket list item for me. We took a sonic drive off the beaten path and the scenery was spectacular. Once to our destination the sun began to peak out. Our room was beautiful and the view spectacular. We ate out, walked along the water, shopped, and strolled around the little town.  We also just relaxed and did a little bit of nothing.

While this was amazing, I found myself thinking about all of the things I should have been attending to at home during spring break.

Many people I know take these little trips all the time. It’s their normal. Not mine. This isn’t even a once a year even for me. It was truly a treat!

My ability to let down and relax is difficult. After all, I should be home taking care of my responsibilities. Now was the time to test a new way of thinking and acting!

On our last evening, we scheduled massages at the spa. Wow! The experience from start to finish was wild.  Like nothing I’ve ever done. It was all about me the entire time. Life is rarely all about me. I’m all about everyone else from my job to my home. I spend most every day taking care of others.

I found parts of the spa experience easy to partake of, while others were difficult. The hardest part was not talking for an entire hour! And for that one hour I did absolutely nothing! I was completely still except for the actual massage happening. That doesn’t even happen when I sleep, as I toss and turn all night!

The massage was just part of a week of indulgences.  An indulgence is the attitude of allowing yourself or someone else to have something enjoyable. It was a wonderful time! I had to step out of myself and let people “indulge” me. I had to…no, I GOT to… receive rather than give. That is a tough one for me.  It is difficult for me to let others do for me. I am much more comfortable giving than receiving.

As I’ve contemplated the week, I’ve been drawn to think about my relationship with the Lord. I’m good at giving to Him. I give Him my “prayers” or lists of things I’d like Him to help me with.  I give Him time most days, but honestly I’m usually pretty busy during that time. The hard part for me is what I’m going to call a “sacred indulgence.” It’s that time where I get to let Jesus love on me and I do absolutely nothing but receive from him. It’s that time when I am being still and know that He is God… He is in control, not me. Quieting myself to receive all that He has for me. Indulging in His grace and love. It’s free and I don’t have to travel far from home. It costs nothing but my intentional, uninterrupted time and willingness to let go and let Him love on me…a sacred indulgence. 

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So Why the Yellow Towel?

I took it from the rag pile.  A small butter yellow bath hand towel.  Faded from years of use and occasional bleaching.  The edges were tattered.  It would be perfect to wipe down the newly cleaned bathroom fixtures.

I walked into the bathroom and laid the yellow towel on the counter.  Suddenly the memories came flooding back.  A strong wave of emotion came over me.  It was 1997 and I was in my house on Butterscotch Lane.

As clear as day, I remembered all of the towels we received as wedding gifts.  Our towel colors were dark blue, butter yellow, and white.  The yellow were my favorites.  I kept those out for my bathroom.

By this point I’m a puddle and can’t even think about cleaning.  I’m transported back in time.  I am newly married and setting up house.  Everything was new.  I am beginning my forever life with the man I married.  The man with whom I’d grow old.

It seems like just yesterday that I was a blushing bride walking down the path to say my vows at the beautiful Apple Farm.  At that moment in time, everything seemed perfect.  August 2, 1997.

I’m standing in the bathroom with this damn yellow towel and felt the urge to do the math.  I was married for the first time 16+ years ago.  Sixteen years?????  Where has time gone?  It was just yesterday.  I was 34 and had the rest of my life ahead of me.

Another story for another day, but by 2006 I was packing up those yellow towels and moving back home… without my husband.  He decided he’d rather do life alone.  So, off I go to begin again and start over.  In tow were a few things from that eight year journey.

Today I’m happily married to a man I fell in love with many, many years ago.  It’s been nine years since my divorce.  Plenty of time to get over it and leave it behind.  Slowly, the things that came north with me have gotten broken or given away.  The latest was the last of my crystal ice tea glasses.  While it was only a glass, there were memories behind it.  Needless to say, I had a small moment of emotion over that one.

So why the yellow towel?  What did it trigger that brought emotions up so fresh and raw?  How can a simple  towel take me back in time?  Then the questions start… Why?  What if?  Do I have regrets?  Will I ever truly be over him?  If a stupid towel takes me down, imagine if I were to see him in person?  Would I be strong enough?

Emotions are crazy.  Memories are powerful.  Feelings are deep.  Those three together can really reek some havoc. I guess today I needed to stop and process a bit more of something from my past.  While I don’t live in the past, it still creeps up.  So my little yellow towel, not only will wipe clean the bathroom, but will help me wipe clean a trail of emotions and memories that need to be sorted through, weeded out, and left behind… one more time.

yellow towel

towel and heart

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and now to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”       Jeremiah 29:11

God’s got my heart right where He wants it.  Currently, it’s nestled in the middle of an old yellow hand towel.  I have to be willing and open to let Him use simple things like a tattered old towel to grow and change and heal me. No one ever said it would be easy.