Every Woman a Theologian
—  Putting Out My Jars —
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Dear friend,
“Your servant has nothing there at all,” she said, “except a small jar of olive oil.”
Elisha said, “Go around and ask all your neighbors for empty jars. Don’t ask for just a few.  Then go inside and shut the door behind you and your sons. Pour oil into all the jars, and as each is filled, put it to one side.”
She left him and shut the door behind her and her sons. They brought the jars to her and she kept pouring. When all the jars were full, she said to her son, “Bring me another one.”
But he replied, “There is not a jar left.” Then the oil stopped flowing.
She went and told the man of God, and he said, “Go, sell the oil and pay your debts. You and your sons can live on what is left.” (2 Kings 4)
The story of the widow's oil has lingered in my mind this week. It first came up as I planned a session for a Sault St. Marie speaking engagement in April, but the story wouldn't leave. I haven't thought about it in years. When I think about it now, I conjure an image of the animated Bible story I watched as a child, with the friendly-looking widow filling jar after jar, amazed at God's abundance.
I do not struggle to believe God will provide for me financially. This is one area I have learned to stand with confidence. I have seen His faithfulness again and again: when we were down to the last five hundred dollars in our account during my pregnancy with Eva, when a mistake cost us our business savings, when we sold what we could and cancelled every subscription to make ends meet one summer… God always provided. A check in the mail, a friend's lending, an affordable car, a shop launch that went surprisingly well. God always provided.
I don't struggle with money. But I do struggle to believe God will provide another resource: time. 
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Time ticks by, consuming my minutes, eating up my opportunities. Time devours my children's childhoods like it did mine; wasn't I just eighteen? Now I'm almost thirty-four. I see them growing and want to slow them down. But I need that time to work, too. I need time to write things, to answer emails, to make people feel seen, to research what I say. I need time to go on a date with my husband, time to go out with a friend, time to go deeper with my church.
Never enough time.
So I hoard time. I get anxious about time. At bedtime, I get angry and worried, stay up too late to “get back” the time I didn't have; worry I don't have enough for the responsibilities; barter time with my husband; then waste the time I do get because I'm annoyed I have to use it for menial tasks.
The scarcity mindset some people bring to money, I bring to my hours. And it is just as destructive. Perhaps this is why the story if the widow's jars was impressed on my heart; the Holy Spirit always knows what we need. She, like me, was desperate to live. To really live. To see her children thrive. But she only had one small jar of oil; not enough to go around. Spread too thin. 
Elisha asked her to do something strange. Before the miracle – and perhaps before she knew a miracle would come at all – he sent her to get more jars. To do this, she had to ask her neighbors for a favor. This exposed her to some silliness, requiring vulnerability; they would certainly ask her what the jars were for. What was she to say? “For olive oil I don't have yet”? But she did it, and she had her sons do it too. She gathered jar after jar, as many as she could obtain. Then she laid them out and started pouring.
Every jar was filled.
What if she'd gathered only a faithless few? What if she gathered, but only poured oil into a couple? She never would have known the depths of God's abundance. The more empty jars she put out, the more God filled, right to the very end. God didn't want already-filled bottles. He wanted her emptiness, and lots of it. And in the emptiness, Jehovah Jireh proved Himself provider.
God deals in empty jars. Many days my jar feels half-empty, not enough time to do the tasks before me. The temptation to revert back to my Rudyard-Kipling lifestyle: Fill every unforgiving minute / with sixty seconds' worth of distance run – is always there. But God's minutes are not unforgiving. When you finish one, there are always more. And when I focus on doing what He has called me to do, I have the grace to do it.
There will always be things left undone, people left unserved, and – I am sure – I will at times be seen for the human I am, unable to bear the burdens of every friend and relative I possess. But I did what I could with the jars I had, and I'm still putting them out to be filled, trusting provision for my chronological lack.
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Pressed down and running over; this is
how He measures “enough.”
How small my canister,
how little, limiting, and how much more
He has in mind.
It takes risk to open one’s mouth in anticipation—
to know you will be filled and fed
before you’ve tasted and seen.
But isn’t that faith?
And isn’t this abundance?
And isn’t He Almighty?
And isn’t this the joy?

Five Faves

  • Lutheran Book of Prayer: I thrifted this little book recently and it's been such a sweet addition to my daily prayer time. I love the sections for church holidays and for days of the week, but it also has sections to pray over people in different parts of the government (election year!) and for people in your community.
  • Brown Sugar Shaken Espresso Knock Off: This awesome recipe from my friend Amy! I made it twice already.
  • Emotionally Healthy Leader Podcast: Over the last three months we've been carrying some heavy things and I've felt emotionally heavy, as well. This podcast is always insightful and convicting (the books are great too). Episode to start: Breaking Free from Self Promotion.
  • Easter Baskets: This weekend I bought all my supplies at Hobby Lobby/Dollar Tree/thrifts and put together the kids' Easter baskets, but I also filmed nine reels with ideas for toddler, elementary, preteen and teen baskets – so stay tuned on Instagram for those! I like to do a combo of devotional materials for bible study, good books, chocolate and unique gifts as my kids get older.
  • Sibling Relationship Cards: I AM SO EXCITED to launch these on Friday! I wrote these for my own kiddos, with examples and action steps for them to implement right away while also touching on the heart of healthy sibling bonds. Stay tuned for the launch!
What I'm Reading

I have some new books on my shelf right now! I am still slowly working my way through a few of these, but some new ones are rotating in as well:
  • Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
    • Still plugging away here … I've been watching the 1960s version of this as I read! I am about ¼ from the end and truly loving the story. I am amazed at Tolstoy's ability to keep the plot moving with so many characters, such beautiful writing, and such strong themes/comparisons. The development of Levin/Kitty as the antithesis of Vronsky/Anna is fascinating. I find myself thinking that Anna's affair would be celebrated as true love in our society due to its passion, but it was actually selfish and destructive, while Levin/Kitty's love would be seen as boring… but it is true.
  • Life in the Five Senses by Gretchen Rubin
    • This is a classic Gretchen book… both practical and interesting, educating me without my knowing it! I have so many more ideas for engaging the senses.
  • A Severe Mercy by Sheldon Vanauken
    • This has come highly recommended and I'm about ¼ through. To be honest, I'm struggling with the author and his wife, but I know the second half is where it “gets good” so I'm hanging in there (Sheldon's vibes: Man who spouts Latin phrases nobody knows. Wears loafers without socks. Probably plays polo.) 
  • At Home in Mitford by Jan Karon
    • This has been on my list forever and I am loving it. It has this slow pace that's what I need in this season.
  • Christian Theology by Adam Harwood
    • A new systematic I'm reading, slowly, and greatly enjoying! I am also listening to Millard Erickson's on Audible.
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At Home with Phylicia

As we plan for Easter, I love to think about holiday activities to make this amazing celebration even more rich! Here are a few resources for you or your family.
for the awakening,